Capital Ideas Blog


Dan Aloe - Friday, July 28, 2017

As automation becomes more advanced, less expensive, and easier to obtain, more and more duties will be given to machines that were once the job of live humans. There are indeed many benefits to taking people out of harm’s way or off of menial tasks, and it is a process unlikely to slow down.

Though a robotic security officer may be able to patrol and report some types of incidents completely autonomously, that is only effective if it doesn’t decide to drive itself into a pool of water as the model in Washington DC recently did. Whether that should prove to be the baptism at the birth of AI security, or proof that robots can never fully replace humans, it shows that there is still a long way to go before the constructive reasoning and decision making of the human brain can be removed from the equation.

Full reliance on machines can become an issue with systems much less complicated than synthetic patrol officers, which has also been highlighted in recent events, including the Australian traffic camera system that was infected with a virus, and sent out thousands of false tickets automatically. Even with no Internet connection, a maintenance mistake is believed to have affected hundreds of cameras. These are but two of many examples to illustrate that while technology is improving, it cannot be relied on without human oversight as a failsafe, and that if an incident or intrusion does occur, there is no substitute for having a trained responder on site at the property.



Dan Aloe - Monday, July 24, 2017

In regards to the perception of security in active operation, the most common image that comes to mind for most people is possibly a security officer monitoring a CCTV camera feed. While the use of cameras by patrol watchmen is not as ubiquitous as the popular image implies, it is still a highly cost effective form of detection that is a part of many physical protection plans and enhances the effective range of a security officer.

One of the most important factors in its success is the location the camera is placed at. A camera needs to be pointed at an occurrence of interest, whatever that may be, in order to be of use beyond deterrence. One way to cover the most activity is to monitor entry points as part of an access control program. Covering main entrances or stairwells can ensure all persons who enter a property will pass under a camera at some point. Automatic entry systems can be monitored to ensure no unauthorized entries are made, including at vehicle gates.

The deterrence value of a camera system should also not be forgotten. Having a visible camera can stop many acts of crime, theft, or vandalism that may have proceeded if the potential criminal did not believe they were being actively watched or recorded. When coupled with good lighting and environment design, cameras can be one of the most effective important tools in a protection plan.



Dan Aloe - Monday, July 10, 2017

Clear communication is always a necessary element for a protection plan to operate properly.  When creating an operational plan for a special event or irregular gathering, especially when dealing with large crowds, special considerations must be made in regards to the security personnel’s contact procedures and equipment.

For large events, local management, organization, or tenants will often have their own line of communication already set up. The security team must understand the existing network’s function on its own and adjust the function in a security context accordingly. It is vital for the security officers to have access to that channel in the event of an emergency, however it may or may not be best to allow all security to operate on their own dedicated channel depending on the congestion levels of the radio channels. Security can also liaise with the operators of scoreboards and PA systems to coordinate a protocol for warning messages.

There are many other ideas to consider when coordinating an event, such as radio frequencies, the need for headsets or earpieces, and press policies. With a higher amount of operational variables that officers may need to confront, event security requires a higher level of communication understanding and procedure.



Dan Aloe - Saturday, July 01, 2017

The performance quality of both audio and video recording and playback has seen enormous improvement over the last few decades. Video improvements are easily noticeable and commonly incorporated through all levels. Most prominently in security with HD CCTV systems, with digital storage and playback being much more user friendly than analogue tape systems. While audio technology has gone through similar improvements, they are frequently overlooked and sometimes not applied.

Whether in an emergency or routine communication, unheard and misunderstood commands can have severe consequences and at best interfere with the efficiency of the security operation. While two-way radios are still the most common means for security officers to communicate with each other, even the most basic modern models have vastly improved transmission and speaker quality compared to what was recently the industry standard. And as with all aspects of modern communication, cell phones have completely changed the process of contacting guards or supervision and informing them of changes such as updates to post orders.



Dan Aloe - Thursday, June 22, 2017

While many of the duties in security are well known, it is less commonly realized that when an incident does occur, the involvement of the officer present may not end as the shift does and they will need to make a testimony as a witness in court. Though likely few need to be reminded of the procedures of a courtroom, some of the preparations necessary for an officer to make before their appearance are worth reviewing.

Preparing for the testimony does not begin the day of the trial, or even at the beginning of the incident; in fact the officer must start each shift with the possibility that his actions may be reviewed in mind. Reports made as part of a daily job routine are not considered hearsay and are admissible as evidence. Keeping the record straight from the time of the incident will prevent false memories or outside influences from poisoning the testimony with inconsistencies, which would remove the ability to ascertain the truth and doom the trial to failure.

While opinions on appropriate dress vary by company, our guards do not show up to court in their security uniforms, but instead take a professional civilian look. On the witness stand officers should always react neutrally, only giving facts and not opinions. As with all testifiers in court, security officers should know as much as they can about the opposition’s intentions, and make sure their own notes and talking points follow normal legal guidelines.



Dan Aloe - Monday, June 19, 2017

One aspect of a security plan that may not be apparent upon first glance is the defensive applications in the usage of lighting. Obviously a dark and unlit property is a more attractive target for intrusion, but how lights are applied has a significant effect on the operation and effectiveness of the physical protection plan.

There are many considerations that need to be made when choosing the type of lights and their location. While it may seem that more lighting is always better, too much in the wrong place can create glare or high contrast shadows that decrease visibility. Some color temperatures are effective at illuminating without reducing dark area visibility, but are not appropriate in all environments.

Special consideration needs to be taken in regards to the display limitations of any camera systems, and to make sure that lights are angled in a way that faces are identifiable. LED technology has fallen in price sufficiently to be today largely preferred over all other types of bulbs due to it’s higher brightness and lower energy consumption, and along with solar charging panels can reduce operating costs to negligible levels. While devices such as motion detectors and IR sensors can help detection in low light levels, it is essential for an area to be properly lit in order to remain secure.



Dan Aloe - Thursday, June 08, 2017

In our recent editorials we have largely discussed concepts behind threat detection, whether from individuals or items they may possess, and in addition much has been said about the importance of deterrence. Today I would like to touch upon the art of creating an environment that can delay or stop an intruder when all other aspects of a protection system have failed.

Many barriers are present on secured properties. Some are obvious in both their existence and purpose, such as fences or locks. However many passive barriers are incorporated into the environment in a way that does not make their purpose clear, such as hedges that block sightlines or walkways that subliminally funnel pedestrians to certain areas. When a higher level of threat dispersion is needed, there are many forms of dispensable barriers that can be activated upon a breach. These can include smoke dispensers, vehicle arrestors, and many more.

The most versatile form of delay barrier is in fact the security officer, who can provide coverage at any point on a property as the situation dictates. A well balanced protection system will include any combination of the three forms of delay barriers, with well thought out placement and application based on the terrain as well as what the objective of a would-be intruder is likely to be. 

For more insight into CAP’s doctrine on environmental security, please see our articles on Defense In Depth and Perimeter Security.



Dan Aloe - Friday, June 02, 2017

The goal of access control for your business or property is to only allow entry by people who have been identified and authorized. In a low occupancy property, this is typically done by a security officer who checks a photo ID against an authorization list. When the location is one that receives frequent traffic, the process is more complicated.

A uniformed employee would need only a minimum of verification to ensure they are who they claim to be. For residents, hotel guests, shoppers, and other unpredictable visitors, the officer will need to use some combination of protocol, sound security reasoning, and common sense to ascertain the legitimacy of their presence. In order to ensure normal occupants are comfortable in knowing that the visitor is supposed to be there, name tags or passes can be issued.

The concepts of access control are not limited to the physical realm, though often the same basic principles apply.  As electronic and digital devices are becoming more integrated into the workspace every day, it is more increasingly important for security officers and their vendors to understand the uses and vulnerabilities of these systems.


Dan Aloe - Monday, May 29, 2017

For most of us, the most trying part of our day is the traffic on our daily commute, or normal workday stress. Short of a freak accident, we will soon be in our homes with our families, to live our lives as we please. However, one out of every fifty members of the United States Armed Forces who served during a war gave up their lives, usually far away from home, so that we can have the opportunities here that aren’t available anywhere else in the world. The security that they gave and continue to give us requires sacrifices and hardships that we can barely comprehend, and they should be remembered not just today, but every day that we exercise the freedoms we have as American citizens.


Dan Aloe - Saturday, May 27, 2017

A change in property ownership creates an uncertain period in the lifetime of a property. Many details and tasks from the routine to those that are difficult in the best of times can or do get lost in the multitude of responsibilities that are now or will be handled by new people. In this environment a property can be at its most vulnerable.

Every building has some value, even a demolished pile of rubble contains materials formerly part of infrastructure that can be valuable as scrap. Few targets can entice potential criminals or vandals like an unsecured building, with uncertain ownership making reprisal seem unlikely.

Ideally all procedures and precautions will be set in place before any transaction takes place. However when this isn’t possible and when the access to a property isn’t at least monitored a criminal activity or liability event can occur.