Facility Security

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), commercial properties accounted for nearly one-third of the more than 2.1 million burglaries reported in 2009. Protecting your company’s assets from theft and workers from violent incidents requires assessing your physical security carefully and enforcing zero-tolerance policies that define expected behavior.

Businesses often represent attractive targets not only for outside thieves, but also for employees who may pilfer inventory or equipment.

Survey Your Property

A good risk management strategy against property crimes starts with a detailed survey of your facility’s exterior.

Outside lighting, for instance, is probably one of the most effective deterrents against burglary or assault attempts. Doors and windows, parking areas and loading docks are among the areas that should be lit brightly.

Pay careful attention to shrubbery or other plants that could provide a hiding place for someone trying to pry open an exterior door or window, or for a worker to stash stolen equipment for later retrieval.

Exterior cameras can also serve as a powerful deterrent against break-ins, and can also provide documentation of unauthorized entry attempts or vandalism.

Sounding the Alarm

Once you’ve taken care of your property’s exterior, an alarm system can provide another strong layer of defense. Alarms can notify property managers, security officers or law enforcement personnel about conditions that may indicate a break-in or other potentially hazardous situation.

Some of the most common alarm systems include:

  • Door and window sensors can indicate when a door or window is opened.
  • Motion detectors can indicate the presence of someone in a room.
  • Glass-break sensors listen for sound that may indicate an unauthorized entry attempt through a window.
  • Water sensors may indicate a broken pipe or other leak.
  • Temperature sensors can provide a warning about the potential for freezing pipes or for excessive heat near sensitive electronic equipment.

Controlling Access

A growing number of companies are using access control locks to help protect their facilities, or specific areas within a facility, against unauthorized entry. Access control devices commonly use either keypads or electronic access cards to authorize someone to enter a protected location.

Companies may choose to restrict the general public from traveling beyond the front lobby without an employee escort, or may want to prevent unauthorized employees from entering research labs, storage facilities or cash-counting rooms.

It’s important for companies to also keep track of their mechanical keys to reduce the potential for unauthorized duplication. Strict policies should require workers to sign out keys, and locks that protect sensitive areas or facilities should be rekeyed periodically to reduce the risk of uncontrolled keys being available for misuse.

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Next: Safes, Vaults & Alarms