The Security Week That Was: A Recap - June 17-23, 2006

June 23, 2006
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Security, more often than not, is set up to protect against external threats. Hence the motion detectors, window sensors, the fences, the EAS systems and the LP/shoplifting guards. It's why we have access control readers on the outsides of doors, not the inside.

But is that changing? It certainly has in many businesses where employee theft and internal loss issues are looked upon as seriously as external threats. And to move this thought to a different plane, it's happening on a national level.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales noted this changing threat in terms of homeland security when discussing how arrests in Miami broke what he termed a "homegrown terrorist" cell which had aspired to destroy the Sears Tower. The group of suspects was reported to be comprised of U.S. citizens and some immigrants -- and not immigrants who had come here to attack the country, but people who had decided that the U.S. was the enemy after they had already been on our soil.

Certainly this change of recruitment and change of attack coming from Al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups means new difficulties in national security (it certainly could give more reason for domestic surveillance, but that's a path which we can't yet map). What does a change from external threats to internal threats mean for your business? Are you too heavily focused on protecting external threats while the internal threats go undetected? National news always has an implication for your own operations.

Make It Real...or No Response
Madison, Wisc., turns to verified response

Madison, Wisc., became the newest town to turn to a verified response policy, a.k.a. a "non-response" policy. I suppose it's a "win some, lose some" scenario. Last week, as discussed in this column, we reported how SIAC had managed to work with the State of Florida and how Governor Jeb Bush had signed into law an enhanced call verification bill. Those of us here at are big fans of the way SIAC has been pursuing its efforts. Overall, that group presents itself as collaborative rather than confrontational, and has made in-roads with police groups. The key to avoiding the kinds of policies like Madison has implemented has been to develop those relationships. While you're on the web, here's a link to SIAC; check out what this organization is doing to help those of you selling and monitoring alarm systems.

Not Guards' Eyes, but Cameras' Eyes
Houston transit budgets $20M for cameras, improvements

Vendors hawking surveillance cameras have been saying for years how cameras could reduce how many guards you used. And maybe that wasn't quite accurate, since the typical delivery really only meant that you could get more efficiency out of guards, but that you still had to have one guard watching the video cameras and another available to respond to a possible incident (unless you were willing to abandon that communications center/checkpoint during a potential threat). Now, so many years later, that promise of guard services reductions may actually be coming to fruition. The Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority has been given $20 million in a budget that will be used partly for a high-end camera system to protect the park-and-ride lots. The system promises to reduce guards by having the video for all 25 lots redirected to one officer at the traffic monitoring facility.

New Podcast from SIW Radio!

SIW Radio's third episode went live this morning on our podcasts page, Scott McDonald, CEO of Monument Security, discusses how he gained operational efficiencies out of his patrol and uniformed guards, as well as his plainclothes LP officers by using GPS-enabled phones. You can download the podcast files to listen on your MP3 player or you can stream the show and listen directly from the page.

And more news from the week:

HSPD-12 continues to be the buzz, and to tap that market, Fargo Electronics opened a new D.C.-area office. ... We mentioned Madison's non-response policy, but Larimer County, Colo. (home to Fort Collins) has come out with a policy that makes more sense -- the habitual offenders can be put on the non-response list. ... Henry Bros. Electronics subsidiary Securus landed an enterprise access control project at dozens of buildings and facilities owned by Ball Corporation.

Finally, a look at our most popular stories of the week:

  • Survey: HSPD-12 Compliance Not Looking Good
  • The Shoe Finally Drops? Cisco Unveils a PTZ Camera
  • The Layered Look: The Latest Trend in ID Card Security
  • Fooled by a Fake ID at DHS Headquarters
  • The Cost of Cancellations for Alarm Dealers