The Security Week That Was: A Recap - March 12-18, 2005

SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives his weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession


In our Tuesday newsletters, we published a story about how Baltimore County, Md., is proposing that CCTV be required in shopping centers. While those of you who are selling and manufacturing security equipment might think of this as a major windfall for your business, it's not such a popular idea to the owners and operators of shopping centers.

At Tuesday's county council meeting, lawyers and owners representing the shopping centers proposed that, before implementing the law, a study should be conducted to study security at the county's shopping centers. Amendments were also introduced to change the law to apply to shopping centers with 15 or more stores rather than the current four, to require owners record only 75 percent of their shopping center lots rather than the proposed 100 percent, and to allow owners to apply for grants and loans from the county to help pay for the technology's cost.

CCTV continued to be the big news in Baltimore as the city approved surveillance of crime-prone areas. Nashville, Tenn., did the same, announcing that it would start small with CCTV on the streets. This follows the announcement from Philadelphia last week. What we're seeing is that America's cities will soon be more like England's, where you can assume you're being recorded any time you're in a public space.

But having CCTV in place isn't the end-all answer to problems of crime. Just ask anyone in Atlanta, where last Friday's courthouse triple murder occurred. Cameras recorded the initial attack on the deputy but the cameras weren't being monitored. It's a further reminder that no matter how many lines of resolution you have, if you don't have a plan for someone to immediately respond to the incidents these cameras see, the CCTV system won't help stop any crimes.

Aviation security got an egg on its face last week when the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association announced that it had given some failing grades to our nation's airport and airplane security operations. We weren't feeling much better when, on Wednesday, a government report said the aviation system is vulnerable. Changing security takes time, but what alarmed us the most was that the pilots group marked cargo security as one of our aviation systems' weaknesses.

Our top stories from the past week included news of a casino heist in Vegas, and a couple excellent columns from SIW contributors on disaster exercises and security of chemical plants. Check them out now:

We often close this weekly recap with a big success in the world of security. We were happy to see news out of Edina, Minn., where police were able to move in on a major shoplifting ring and arrest suspects and recover almost $17,000 worth of goods. The thieves were using foil-lined bags to sneak goods past the AES systems.