The security week that was: 11/06/09

Reactive security

Homeowners are more likely to buy an alarm system and a monitoring contract after their home is burglarized. And school districts like to buy security lighting and surveillance cameras after an incident occurs. Case in point, on Oct. 24, 2009, a young woman was raped repeatedly on the grounds of Richmond High School in Richmond, Calif. Now, about two weeks later, the school has invested in security lighting for the area of the campus where the rape occurred, and there is talk about adding high definition surveillance cameras around the campus.

That's reactive security at its best, and yes, it's easy to fault the school, and before you think we're picking on Richmond High, let me give you a quote from a recent San Francisco Chronicle article about the RHS campus:

"The courtyard where the attack erupted was the most infamous spot on campus, an out-of-the-way, poorly lit venue for gang initiations and dopers lighting up joints."

This doesn't sound like a surprising incident; the school apparently has gang signs painted near entrances, and the city, according that same San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article, had been rated as "the ninth-most-dangerous city in America, based on crimes including homicide and rape.” I suppose that is enough to say about reactive security, and I think it goes without saying that reactive security is when security is at its worst, but with limited budgets, that is where schools often find themselves.

On the proactive side, so that other schools might prevent this kind of event from occurring in the future, I asked former Washington, D.C. schools security director Pat Fiel to write up some tips on our PublicSafetyWatch blog, which he graciously provided us. They're all here on the blog, and I think the key is that he is advising regular patrols and campus systems and access designs that make security easier to manage. No, security isn't free and it isn't cheap, but what is the real cost to the psychological health of students when something like this gang rape occurs?

Thoughts for shootings victims
13 dead, 30 wounded at Fort Hood; at least six injurted at Florida office building shooting

It's too early to comment extensively on yesterday's shootings at Fort Hood, but the family of staff here at extends our compassion to the families and friends of the 13 persons killed and the 30 injured during a rampage by a U.S. Army psychiatrist. Little is known of the motivation behind the shootings, beyond the fact that the Army psychiatrist was about to be deployed and had been vocal in his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We've also learned of a mass shooting at a Florida office building today, which has been allegedly initiated by a former employee. Details are emerging, but at least six persons have been reported as being injured in this incident.

In other news
Security licensing in Canada, NSCA partners with PSA, more

In the business of security this week, we learned that Nova Scotia is considering not only regulating and licensing bodyguards and bouncers, but the province is also considering mandatory training requirements for this category of security workers, who had been exempt from previous legislation. ... The National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) and the PSA Security Network are partnering for their events in 2010, and for an insurance program available to members. ... Panasonic is moving to purchase shares of Sanyo in an acquisitive move that would make Sanyo a subsidiary. The key motivation behind the deal is said to be next generation battery technology, but it's clear that the move could have a potential impact on all operations of the companies, though it's total speculation at this point what this might mean for each company's security technology unit. ... Despite a recession, the business of home security still seems to be a decent area of operations, especially when you consider that Brink's/Broadview Security managed to achieve a 9 percent RMR growth in the last quarter according to financial results released today. ... An unnamed Asian subway system has purchased over 1,000 channels of video analytics from AgentVi.