Profile of 700-account Gulfstream Security Systems, a private security company in Moscow, reveals he
Since the fall of communism in 1991, a lot has changed in Russia.
One significant change has been an epidemic of crime. For example, in the city of Moscow, 10 million Muscovites brave contract killings of businesspeople on the streets by gangs and the Russian Mafia. According to a report by CNN, killers can be hired for as little as $5,000.
Spawned from the these turbulent times, Gulfstream Security Systems was incorporated in Moscow in 1991. Just as economic upheaval and political unrest have continued in Russia, Gulfstream Security has embraced the latest tech-nology from prominent U.S. security manufacturers to create one of the first known privately operated central stations in Russia.
Gulfstream’s diversity would make many U.S. dealers envious. The company has firmly established itself as a monitoring facility and an installer of integrated security, CCTV, burglar alarms, fire, access control and public ad-dress systems. Long-range radio signaling plays a key role at Gulfstream, which as grown to more than 700 clients. The company growth has not been easy; unique partnerships and permission had to be developed with the Moscow police and former KGB in order to construct a private central station in 1994. Gulfstream’s management team had to use a type of ingenuity that would be foreign to North American alarm companies.
Partners with ‘Okhrana’ to Provide Security
After first going into business as an installer of security systems in 1991, Gulfstream President Veniamin Pisman and Vice President Serguei Panfilov decided to construct a private central station operation in 1994. Up until that point, the Moscow police, or “Okhrana,” monitored all alarm signals in Moscow. In 1996, the Moscow police oper-ated 2,700 central stations, protecting 687,000 residences and 307,000 commercial establishments, according to Char-lie Darsch of Sentrol. Darsch assisted Gulfstream in establishing the central station back in 1994.
“You can understand that the police weren’t pleased with potential competition from a private monitoring facility,” he says. “In order to get proper response to alarm signals, Ven Pisman finally had to partner with Okhrana, selling them 50 percent of the company.” Darsch says Okhrana’s revenues in 1997 from Gulfstream were more than $1 mil-lion.
According to Darsch, police power in Moscow is extreme. “I was in Moscow the day Okhrana walked into the company, confiscated the receiver and told them were not licensed to receive alarm signals and would be prosecuted if they attempted to reopen.”
For security purposes, the Gulfstream central station itself is located atop one of Moscow’s 32 police stations. This safe location, along with the equipment, gives the central the same secure characteristics as some UL-Listed central stations in the United States, claims Darsch.
Because of the suspect nature of the Moscow phone system, Gulfstream was issued several frequencies in the 470MHz/474MHz range. To get adequate signal strength, five repeaters are placed on strategic buildings in greater Moscow, covering approximately 1,000 square kilometers, or about 400 square miles. The facility uses Safecom long-range radio and Sentrol security and fire equipment.
During the construction, according to Darsch, the former KGB, now known as the Federal Security Police, “hassled, followed and delayed” the system developers.
Clientele, Pricing Similar to U.S. Market
Today, Gulfstream has 100 employees working 24 hours in two to three shifts. About 35 employees constitute the company’s sales and systems design group. Gulfstream has more than 700 of those are long-range radio customers, mostly high-end commercial accounts such as banks, office buildings and jewelry stores.
Like in the United States, false alarms are a problem. Gulfstream charges the equivalent of $20 for each user-caused alarm. There is no alarm verification by the central station; police are dispatched on every signal. The average re-sponse time is only five minutes.
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