The First Purpose of Security is Effective Crime Prevention

By Al Colombo
ESC Media Director

Unbeknownst to most of us, the true and rightful purpose of all forms of electronic security, such as video surveillance and intrusion detection, is crime prevention. In fact, everything that Electronic Systems Consultants (ESC) does, whether it’s security or fire, translates to PREVENTION.

John Larkin, ESC Senior Partner (image)“Our techs strive to install cameras and security devices in such a manner that a criminal on the prowl can clearly see that your building is protected by a state-of-the-art system–whether it’s a burglar alarm or cameras,” says John Larkin, ESC Senior Partner.

In this short blog article, I’m going to tell you what we do and how we do it.

Camera: Overt or Covert

Many times a customer will ask about hidden cameras, which are commonly referred to as covert cameras. They can take the form of a desk clock, a radio, a picture frame, or any number of other common objects found in an office setting. Hidden cameras, however, may not be as effective in the long run as you might think for two basic reasons.

Two examples of covert cameras (image)
Two examples of covert cameras.

First, although covert cameras will enable you to know who did what and when they did it, the demoralizing effect on your workforce may be counterproductive from a production standpoint. Once the cat’s out of the bag and everyone knows they’re there, that’s when resentment and a general desire for reprisals could surface among your employees.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll lose the crime prevention effect that visible, overt cameras foster. Let’s put it this way, seeing a camera staring at you on the opposite wall is often enough to stop a crook in his tracks.

Overt domed camera (image)
Overt domed camera.
In fact, Underwriters Laboratories includes the use of overt security devices in their UL Burglary Standards as a requirement. They know the value of visibility from a crime prevention standpoint. This not only pertains to cameras, but also security devices.

Type and Placement of Intrusion Devices

People detection in an intrusion system is based on a layering of electronic devices, such as door switches, window sensors of various types, motion detectors, and others. The United States Government, for example, is notorious for installing motion detection everywhere in a building, often omitting the door switches when they do. For commercial applications, however, we recommend a combination of perimeter (doors) and interior space protection (motion detectors).

Corner motion detector (image)
Corner motion detector.
Door switches should be hidden if possible simply because a criminal cannot circumvent what he cannot see, whereas motion sensors should be visible and well placed so people cross in front of them, as opposed to walking toward or away from them. The difference relates to the technology and how they work.

In commercial work, it’s not uncommon to find environments where condensation can occur. Weatherized versions are recommended in this type of application, as in an unheated warehouse. Regular motion detectors, for example, are effective where humidity levels are 0 to 95%, non-condensing; or 0 to 85%, non-condensing for UL Listed installations.

Outdoor Sirens With Monitoring

Domed camera along with siren speakers (image)
Domed camera along with siren speakers.
An electronic siren(s) should be mounted inside a protective enclosure that has tamper switches to protect both the metal door from being opened and the box itself from being pried off the wall. In the case of a one-piece siren, like the one shown here, a rear tamper switch assures that no one removes it from the outside wall without everyone knowing about it.

The siren boxes should be out in front of the business in plain view, which helps to deter would-be burglars and other criminals. Central Station Monitoring is an absolute must, preferably Internet with Cellular as a backup communication channel, just in case someone finds a way to render it inoperative.

If you have questions, or if you’re looking to install or replace an existing Intrusion or Video Surveillance system, give ESC a call. We’ll help you solve your security problems. Remember, ESC has your back!

Call 614-754-1393, email ESC@tpromo.com, or use the convenient contact form below.

Allan Colombo, ESC Media Director
Allan Colombo, ESC Media Director
Email: ESC@Tpromo.Com