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Physical Security Technology Selection


Physical security is a necessity for any business that does not wish to bear the adverse effects of crime or sudden misfortunes like fires. In this paper, basic elements of physical security will be discussed in the context of a firm that reviews requests for citizenship in the United States. Such a firm would obviously have a deep concern for data protection. Moreover, it could easily become the target of many criminal activities, hence a true need for security against such affronts.

This paper will suggest the security options that this firm should use. The points of discussion will include the design of the facility’s environment, the surveillance options, signaling options, locks, barriers, lighting, and control of entry. The paper will touch on the options, suggesting what the owner should consider including in his plan.

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Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a concept used to limit crime by making a place unfavorable for performing crimes. The strategic location of the place, the aesthetic qualities of the place, the stratification of the place into zones of privacy, and the application of surveillance options are some of the components that are considered in CPTED.

For a place that requires special physical security arrangements, there are standard CPTED principles that need to be applied. The principles are Natural Access Control, Natural Surveillance, Territorial Reinforcement, and Target Hardening (FEMA, 2012).

Natural Access Control is a CPTED option that needs to be used for any facility that wishes to have an advanced security detail. It entails structuring the environment in such a way that access to places of special interest is limited increasingly. The facility would be divided into zones of different levels of privacy. There should be public zones, semi-private zones, and private zones. Access to these different zones should have different requirements for entry (Gardner, 1995).

Natural Surveillance ensures that the physical structuring of a place incorporates features that enhance the easy vision of all areas of access into the facility. The option of natural surveillance ensures that there is little wastage of resources on details, while enhancing the visibility of key areas in the facility. This could prove an effective deterrent to crime and intrusion.

Territorial reinforcement involves enhancing a sense of ownership and territoriality in the facility. This is aimed at reinforcing the aggression with which the facility is guarded. A number of methods can be employed to affect Territorial Reinforcement in a facility. The aesthetic value of the place could be enhanced. The workers in the facility could have a distinct feature, like a uniform, that distinguishes them from outsiders.

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Surveillance Options

Surveillance is absolutely necessary, not only to deter crime but also to establish who the intruder is in case of any breakage. Surveillance is important for preempting crimes. In the absence of it, the firm is likely to get caught pants down, in the event of which dealing with the crime becomes a daunting task. A firm with security as precedence is obliged to put in place proper surveillance measures.

A firm would explore many options as far as surveillance is concerned. First and foremost, security personnel could patrol the area. Next, video cameras could be set at strategic positions in the compound of the firm, and this would enable the security personnel to track movements in and out of the firm.

Moreover, there are many types of security cameras and other equipment used in surveillance; however, the choice of surveillance technology would be dependent on various factors. It is obvious that a company must consider how much money it is able and willing to spend in the procurement of surveillance equipment. The firm would do best to choose a set of surveillance equipment that strikes a balance between effectiveness and minimum costs.

Security cameras, which are the most widely used form of surveillance equipment, must also be able to provide clear pictures and sound even in the absence of proper lighting. Moreover, they must be able to be disguised; if they are too obvious, they do not serve their purpose effectively. A criminal or intruder would easily find his or her way around the surveillance equipment if they appear too obvious. Finally, the surveillance cameras need to be durable, since a breakdown would mean an undesirable loss of crucial evidence.

Outdoor Barriers

Outdoor barriers are points where access is checked and restricted. They are usually placed some distance away from the premises themselves, and, as their name describes, they are out in the open. They include perimeter walls and vehicle checkpoints. Outdoor barriers are important where security is a concern.

Outdoor barriers are important in preempting crimes that would be damaging to the building, or to crimes that would be hard to deal with within the premises. For example, an outdoor barrier would be instrumental in preventing vehicular bombing. This is easily demonstrable in places, which do not have outdoor barriers. Vehicles can easily get into the basement of a building with bombs planted in their boots. In the absence of an outdoor barrier, it would be incredibly easy to bomb the premises. However, checkpoints would prevent such mishaps from taking place, and in the event that a vehicle forcefully gets past a checkpoint, authorities can be alerted in sufficient time.

Moreover, outdoor barriers would be helpful in preventing an offender from escaping the premises before being apprehended. If a criminal finds his or her way into the premises and accomplishes his task, then he would have to pass through the outdoor barrier even after beating all other checkpoints. Outdoor barriers, therefore, provide an additional opportunity to apprehend a criminal who may have got through all other checkpoints on their way out of the premises.

Additionally, outdoor barriers are an excellent method of crowd control. From my point of view, for a firm dealing with the affairs of the public, crowd control is a priority. Outdoor barriers have, over time, proved among the most effective methods of preventing crowds from causing unwarranted mayhem in business premises and even public offices.


Locks are the most effective way of restricting access to a whole facility, and even to places within the premises. There are different types of locks, and the choice of which locks to install in the facility should be based on the desired level of access by different parties in the premises.

Rim and mortise locks would be appropriate for glass office doors, where casual entry is allowed. The advantage they have is that they are easily rekeyable (Types of locks, 2012). Moreover, they are strong and easy to operate, especially for employees who may be in a hurry. Wall-mounted locks would be appropriate for areas that contain materials of moderate importance, or small amounts of money that may require speedy access.

For private areas where access should be highly restricted, the facility would consider installing electronic locks. Depending on how many employees are expected to gain access to such areas, the method of entry may be an electronic card or a dial pad. The electronic card is recommended for access to places where a considerable number of people are supposed to gain access. For places that are out of bounds for everyone except one or two individuals, the best method of access would be a dial pad.


Lighting considerations for various locations in the facility would be determined by various factors. However, from a security standpoint, visibility is the most important consideration.

If the parking lot is out in the open, the lighting around it is often inadequate. For the best lighting, the parking lot would require floodlights. Floodlights are sharp lights. They would, therefore, cast sharp shadows. Shadows usually give criminals away, and this would make floodlights the appropriate lighting for the parking slot. The advantage of floodlights is that only a few of them would be needed to sufficiently illuminate the whole parking lot. The entry point would require softer lights, and neon lights would do the trick. For the office space, diffuse bright light would be desirable. This would strike an agreeable balance between visibility and pleasantness of the light.

Alarm Options

In case the facility is broken into, there is a need for a system that would notify the authorities promptly. That is the reason why alarms are crucial to the security of the facility. Alarms would also come in handy in case of fires and medical emergencies.

Central station signaling would be beneficial to the facility when there is an emergency because such systems connect the facility to the authorities through a direct line. Hence, information on the burglary, fire, or other emergencies reaches the authorities as soon as they happen, and this is needful for the timely response. Moreover, central station signaling ensures that the information is not distorted between the facility and the authorities. The signals are relayed to the authorities promptly, and the intruder cannot stop the signals from reaching the authorities.

Alarm systems available to the firm are the wired and the wireless systems. They both transmit signals to the central controller. The wired system is a bit expensive and harder to install, but it is more reliable than the wireless system.

Entry Control

Restriction of entry to various places in the facility is essential for ensuring the protection of vital information. Entry should be restricted at different levels, and permission to enter a section of the facility should be granted only when an employee has official identification. Employees of the lowest cadre, who maintain casual operations, do not need to have complicated badges. A simple card with the picture, name, and identification number of the employee would work. However, for employees who must access restricted areas, it is necessary to put in place electronic locks and such employees should have the requisite electronic badges that bear their necessary details.

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To sum up, the facility to be constructed would require putting in place appropriate security measures for the protection of vital information and for the prevention of crime within the premises. Therefore, the owner would consider designing the site with appropriate CPTED, outdoor barriers, surveillance equipment, locks, lighting, and alarm systems. Next, the owner should also structure the premises so that entry into various sections is limited to a desirable degree.

Physical security is necessary for any organization that handles much money or vital information. It would help protect the premises against theft, terror, and other forms of crime, fires, and other forms of disaster. In the event that these mishaps do happen, then measures put in place as per physical security guidelines would help to limit the damage they would cause. Thus, it is needful to incorporate measures for physical security in any construction plan.

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