At the Frontline: Woodruff Arts Center Security Director Tim Giles

Giles discusses access control and security management measures for Atlanta's sprawling arts complex

Our parking garage is a good-sized garage, but it doesn’t handle anywhere near the amount of people that we have come for a symphony performance. So there’s another garage right across the street from us that gets used when that happens. Of course we have the Arts Center MARTA station right across the street from us in back, so we’ve focused a lot on perimeter lighting and perimeter camera systems, and when we have performances that are going to be late at night, where we know people are going to be going across the street to different garages, we work to make sure they’ve got security patrols in the garages at those times, and we frequently hire off-duty police to help out on the streets.

We don’t have the kind of crime rate here as in other parts of the city, but we still have some, and you can’t ignore that. But there’s a strong focus by the Midtown Blue group to keep down the low-level kinds of crime, the break-ins and things like that, and because of that it keeps the crime rate really in good shape. And of course, when we have lots of people here late at night we do extra patrols through the garage to try and help prevent car break-ins and those things.

You’re also the chairman of the ASIS Atlanta chapter, so you regularly meet you’re your peers in the area and hear about the security concerns they’re facing. How does this impact your own security decisions?

In the security business, if you keep your ears open, you learn something new every day. I frequently remind people that God gave you one mouth and two ears for a reason. It’s been very beneficial to me to be actively involved in ASIS. At every monthly meeting we have a different speaker that speaks from an educational viewpoint, so you’re always learning something from those, plus I always try to get to the meetings early and hang around late and meet with people and talk to them. I always learn things from people like that. If you don’t, you’re just not listening.

I got involved because I’ve been a member of ASIS for 20-some years, and I feel like I’ve benefited a lot from that, so I volunteered to do the board duties because I felt like I should give back to that. We have an extremely active ASIS chapter here in Atlanta.

Are you an art lover yourself?

I am, but probably not as educated in art as I should be. But I enjoy all kinds of music and theater as well as traditional kinds of art and sculpture. So it’s been great to be here and to be able to experience a lot of those things, and see more than I’d have time to if I worked someplace else. It’s been really wonderful.