Greetings, my name is Al Colombo. Most of you know me by way of my “Fire Side Chat” column in SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION (SSI) magazine, which I’ve had the pleasure of writing over the past nine years. I have also contributed many other articles to SSI and for a couple of years served as the publication’s Senior Editor. Before SSI, I spent 11 years as an Associate Editor with Security Distributing & Marketing (SDM) magazine. With 37 years total in this industry, I may have something of importance to impart from time to time that you may want to use in the course of your own career.
I was delighted when Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine asked me to participate in SSI‘s new and improved Web site by authoring the “Security Sense” blog. My mission here is to provide comments and advice on an assortment of issues pertaining to security and life safety. In this blog I plan to discuss the various aspects related to good security and quality life safety.
First, please allow me to provide you with my personal view of what good security entails.
Effective security involves a layered process where a number of disciplines are utilized in order to introduce a series of hurdles between the criminal and his objective. The idea here is to discourage him from committing the crime in the first place.
The following constitutes individual rings of protection that knowledgeable criminals would rather avoid:
- The daily application of “Crime Prevention”
- Neighborhood communication
- Outdoor visual accessibility
- Quality perimeter barriers
- Effective electronic protection
As a security practitioner, it’s your job to advise your client in all aspects of security. You can turn this additional responsibility into dollars by partnering with a variety of trades in order to offer the home or business owner a comprehensive, integrated package that seeks to protect him/her at every level. For example, knowing basic crime prevention enables you to provide your clients with information and advice that they can use on a daily basis.
Of course, good security must begin with a basic knowledge of crime prevention, which centers on awareness. Security professionals should advise their clients in how to ward off criminals before they strike. Home and business owners should look around as they come and go. For example, they should take a different route to and from home, making it more difficult for criminals to establish a daily routine. When a criminal is uncertain as to when you’ll be home, they are more likely not to try it.
It’s also important that you aid in creating more neighborhood communication. One way to do that is to encourage a homeowner to invite several neighbors to attend a meeting at which time you will provide basic information on how they can better protect their home and family. You could even assist them in putting a neighborhood crime watch group together with the help of local law enforcement or the local prosecutor’s office. Having contacts at this level enables you to provide additional value that clients are unlikely to forget. It’s important that neighbors communicate so when a criminal pulls up in a moving van, someone will call local law enforcement. All of this will naturally create additional sales opportunities while establishing you and your alarm company as a go-to source of security.
Visual accessibility is the practice of managed care with regards to visibility outside the structure. Keeping lawns clear of large shrubs and trees with limbs that hang to the ground decreases the likelihood that a criminal will choose a particular home or business to victimize. Good outdoor lighting also improves visibility making it more difficult for crooks to hide in the dark as they work to enter a built environment.
An electrical contractor (EC) can assist you in creating a better-lit external environments where it’s easier for neighbors or a passersby to spot a criminal in the act of a breaking an entering. It’s also possible to cash in on this by creating a relationship with a local EC. In fact, you might consider selling outdoor lighting as part of a comprehensive security package.
Providing quality perimeter barriers is also important. This includes assisting the client in the selection and installation of quality doors, locks, and windows. Forging a relationship with a local carpenter or general contractor is one way that you can add to your financial bottom line. Many times you can ask them for a finders fee, thus adding to the profitability of each job you do.
And then there’s the matter of electronic protection, which is something that you should know a lot about already. Just like the big picture I’ve just painted, alarm systems are layered, starting with outdoor detection, such as seismic sensors in kill zones between fences, or outdoor cameras equipped with motion detection that can warn on-site security guards of a possible intruder.
Perimeter sensors also provide warning when someone enters the built environment itself. This includes door and window switches and vibration detection on walls and window frames. Interior motion sensors also are important as we seek to increase the number of opportunities whereby criminals can be detected. Of course our electronic security system also should be equipped with 24/7 central station monitoring, thus assuring that someone is on the way when an alarm occurs. This also limits loss because criminals know they only have so much time to do their dirty business before the police or a special runner arrives on the scene.