In my early years in electronic security, as a technician and alarm company owner, I thought in terms of catching thieves rather than preventing crimes. My focus was clearly on technology for detection and not prevention, but over time I came to understand that I had it backwards. That lesson didn’t come soon enough though as I was in the business more than 16 years before I figured it out.
It was sometime in the early 1990s that this revelation took place, while I was an associate editor with Security Distributing & Marketing Magazine (SDM) in Chicago. I was doing research for a story on burglar alarm systems when I discovered that UL actually requires overt placement of security devices, such as bell boxes, the use of foil tape on windows, and more. The idea is simple. We want would-be criminals to see that there’s an alarm in place so they go elsewhere. Of course there are other things we need to do as well as additional items that the end user must have in place to assure prevention. Some of them I have covered in previous blog posts and articles throughout the years.
Yard Signs and Window Decals
Perhaps one of the most-simple actions that we take as alarm professionals is to install yard signs and decals on key windows outside the business or home. End users, if your installing alarm company fails to do this, you need to give them a call because chances are, the technicians who were there installing your system likely ran low on them or they forgot. In either case, you need to make the front office aware of the issue so they can send someone out to make it right. The fact is, yard signs and decals, although not the only solution to crime, do act to slow, minimize, even stop criminal action.
Keypad Visibility in Commercial
Having a keypad in the front foyer of a story may seem risky, given the fact that there are usually a host of buttons/keys on
Multiple Siren Speaker Boxes
First, it’s always wise to install trumpet speakers, especially in commercial applications. Second, it’s also wise to place them in a metal box when these speakers are placed outside the store or in visible locations within. Perhaps even more important is to include tamper switches inside these boxes such that if someone removes or pries them from the wall, or they open the cover, the alarm system sounds off, summoning the police in the process. The visibility of multiple speakers and speaker boxes inside and outside is usually enough to unnerve even the best and most experienced of burglars.
In conclusion, there are things that can be done to enhance and equip alarm systems to suppress crime in a natural manner so the crimes we normally detect won't happen in the first place. Although the few items mentioned above are important elements in the crime prevention equation, there are many others that can be used to further deterrence.
Be sure to check back for part 2, and if you have a question, feel free to use my Comments and Questions form in the left column.
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