For property owners everywhere, security is a major concern. Today, we’re going to break down the pros and cons of the most common and effective security solutions to help you get an idea of which solutions work best.
For this guide, we’re going to stick to the major security solutions that you’ll find on most construction sites, in apartment complexes, and other major areas.
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Now, as security experts, we want to point out that security solutions work best in tandem. While certain options, like live video monitoring, provide massive coverage and benefits, it never hurts to add in additional layers of security.
Whether you’re trying to safeguard your homeowner’s community against crime, or keep your workers and worksite safe with around the clock security for construction, it’s important to understand how each security solution functions, where it excels, and where it lags behind.
Why Do You Need Security in the First Place?
Before we get too deep into the specifics for each security solution, we want to reiterate why you’d want security in the first place. Between criminal activity and potential risks associated with having a lot of valuable property concentrated in a single location, the price of negligence can stack up quickly.
Using construction sites as an example, the National Equipment Register notes that construction jobsite theft costs the industry up to $1 billion each year, and criminal activity resulting from unauthorized entry to construction sites presents several threats:
- To operations – Ongoing works and schedules can be disrupted.
- To property – Assets such as equipment, materials, and tools can be taken, delaying projects and costing thousands of dollars to replace.
- To life – The worst-case scenario is that trespassers cause damage that can injure, maim, or kill, while deliberate actions such as arson can endanger the lives of those on the site.
- To peace of mind – Contractors can lose confidence in the security of their site.
And that’s just construction sites. Extend the potential damages and loss to apartment complexes, neighborhood communities, and industrial settings, and it’s easy to see why security is such a valuable investment.
What are your security options?
Now that you’re fully invested in the benefits of security, you need to figure out which methods you want to employ.
As we’ve mentioned, a mixture of different solutions will always be more effective, but whether you’re on a strict budget or just trying to expand your current security setup, it’s a good idea to know what options you have.
1. Live Video Monitoring
Live video monitoring surveillance systems blend technology and human insight to mitigate risk and secure your properties. Compared to any other single security solution, live video monitoring provides a clear solution for a variety of issues.
It goes beyond simply deterring actions or recording the evidence, because a live person is constantly monitoring and able to react immediately to prevent damage before it happens or gets worse. If a threat is detected, the always-on cameras will catch and record criminal activity while the surveillance team intervenes by contacting authorities and activating remote sirens and alert systems.
Additionally, from a financial perspective live video monitoring reduces the burden on property owners by centralizing security services and features in a single company. Recorded evidence, contacting authorities, funding the surveillance equipment, and actually spending the money and man hours to perform the surveillance is all wrapped into a single service.
- Cost-effective compared to other security solutions
Centralizing technology, surveillance methods, and trained personnel under a single contracting company model significantly reduces the cost of surveillance and security for property owners.
- Access to a video investigation team
Live video monitoring gives property owners access to a team of forensic video investigators trained to review and identify suspicious activity for evidence collection in the event of a security breach or safety concern.
- Professional monitoring and security setup agents
As a dedicated security and surveillance team, live video monitoring agents can help set up security systems in the most logical and effective way to provide maximum security coverage. Additionally, trained surveillance personnel have necessary training and experience when it comes to spotting and rapidly reporting activity while providing accurate reports and evidence.
Further benefits include:
- Proactive identification of intruders, including full property views or isolated, high value areas
- Improved detection in low-light or inclement weather conditions with thermal imaging tech
- Video analytics for assessing both security and safety compliance
- Around the clock live surveillance
- Flexible application with solar tech that allows for scalable security installations in all environments
- Provides a level of security that may not be required by all sites
Live video monitoring is a comprehensive surveillance and security package that might seem like overkill in some instances. While it is a flexible cost that can be scaled and adapted to individual needs, some extremely basic security options may be slightly cheaper.
- Susceptible to false alarms in certain circumstances
If live video monitoring isn’t laid out or managed carefully, there’s some risk that you’ll run into false alarms. Between motion detection and personnel monitoring multiple feeds, it’s possible to register animals or workers moving through regular areas. While this isn’t super common, and it’s an easy mistake to correct, it does happen from time to time.
- Many people don’t know managed video surveillance is an option
Lots of people don’t even know that live video surveillance is an option. Most people assume that CCTV and traditional forms of on-premises surveillance are the only option, or that remote surveillance and security is some kind of high tech, government only situation.
But that’s simply not true. Live video surveillance is an incredibly easy to access security solution, and with ever-increasing technological advances, it’s always evolving to cover more security and safety concerns.
2. Physical Barriers
Physical security deterrents, like gates and fences, have certain limitations, but they’re still a common solution for a wide range of applications. Secure fencing, blockades, and other barriers should be suited to the particular area you want to protect.
For example, perimeter fencing is good for small areas with minimal property. Think small construction sites without a lot of equipment left overnight. On the other hand, iron gates or bigger concrete barriers may be better suited to large open areas with multiple access points.
If you do choose this type of physical security measure, it should be checked regularly to make sure it has not been damaged or tampered with. As an example, it can be easy to remove sections of temporary fencing to allow loading or unloading, only to forget to close them properly, leaving the site exposed.
- An important first line of defense
Barriers are a solid option for security, both physically and psychologically. Physically, their function is obvious: to keep people out. Psychologically, it identifies the acceptable security boundaries of any given place, making it easier to see when people have crossed into off-limits territory.
- Can be enough to deter opportunistic criminals
- Prevents trespassing
- Easy to install and manage
- Can be bypassed by committed thieves
Unfortunately, a fence isn’t enough to stop a determined thief. If someone is committed to stealing or some other crime, it’s not hard to climb a fence.
- Must be inspected regularly
Chain-link fences, concrete blocks, and other barriers can be tampered with. It’s important to regularly check your barriers for signs of damage or attempted trespassing, which can be time consuming.
- Does not protect against criminal acts committed by those who already have access to the site
In the event a criminal already has access to the site, a physical barrier is essentially useless. If they stole a key, worked for the site itself, or found an opportunistic entry point, there’s not much a fence will do to prevent theft.
- Does not aid in the detection or apprehension of criminals
- Must be combined with other security solutions to provide a good level of protection
3. Security Guards
Human security guards provide a physical presence on your site and that can be a very effective visual deterrent for opportunistic thieves and vandals looking for an easy target.
Security guards may patrol a site around the clock in shifts, providing authorized access for deliveries and visitors when required. If a crime does take place, security guards may be able to handle the situation directly or at least provide a direct account of details to authorities.
While this offers some property managers a sense of security, security guards also present potential risks and liability or additional costs for employment.
- Can serve as visual deterrent
Having security staff on the premises can act as a visual deterrent, at least for areas where the security guards are directly present and visible. It’s good for high visibility areas, but obviously guards can’t be everywhere all at once.
- 24/7 security solution
Guards can work in shifts to provide around the clock security for a variety of different property types. There’s also some flexibility in terms of patrols or static guard stations.
- Quick on-site intervention if a threat is detected
On-site security can respond to threats and intervene if needed. Depending on the security level and environment, it could be as simple as having a first hand, on-the-scene witness of events.
- Can only monitor one area at a time
Security guards can only effectively watch their immediate surroundings, which means they either have to patrol or keep an eye on specific areas of your property. This limits whole site security a bit, which is why security guards work best in tandem with other security solutions.
- Very expensive
Whether security is an inhouse employee, or a contractor, they’re an expensive security solution. You could be essentially subsidizing full salaries, benefits, and other expenses related to maintaining a quality in-person security force.
- Does not provide evidence of criminality to identify and apprehend criminals
While security guards can identify and intervene during criminal activity, they simultaneously prevent risk to both themselves and potential evidence. People are unreliable, and in a security situation, the high stress environment could make testimony or activity less reliable than a remote option.
- Prone to human error
- Exposes employers to greater liability and insurance costs
4. CCTV Cameras
CCTV cameras are a solid option in some capacity, but without personnel to monitor the video feeds, they’re basically just cameras recording events. While that’s useful, it falls short of providing the comprehensive coverage that live video monitoring offers, in spite of the fact that they’re based around the same technology.
In many cases, CCTV is an in-house cost, so you may have more control over the locations and application of the cameras. But that also means that you’re responsible for personally monitoring, maintaining, and keeping track of the various CCTV equipment.
- Monitor every part of your property without having to be physically present
Similar to live video monitoring, you can set up CCTV cameras to cover major areas of interest on your property. This can help you potentially see and prevent criminal activity.
- 24/7 monitoring
Some CCTV setups offer a 24/7 surveillance capability, provided you have access to the necessary energy resources, someone to manage the monitoring, and a solid setup for recording material.
- Record and store footage for evidential and insurance purposes
CCTV’s main appeal is the ability to record and store footage that could provide vital evidence after some kind of criminal activity.
- There can be blind spots in certain areas of the site
Without a tactical application, CCTV can essentially focus on pointless areas. You have to really know where cameras should survey before installing them, as moving them can be expensive and time consuming, and watching low traffic areas may provide very little security.
- Monitoring cameras is very time consuming
If you’re using your own CCTV system, you’ll need your own monitoring team as well. Watching monitors is time consuming, so you can’t necessarily pull team members to handle it, and hiring a whole inhouse team means adding all of those employment costs just to watch cameras.
- Power outages could mean a loss of surveillance
Power outages, tampering, and unexpected technical malfunctions are all a risk to CCTV cameras. You could have surveillance downtime, and dedicated criminals can easily mess with inexpensive camera gear. Typically, only top of the line CCTV systems have options to avoid power issues.
- You can just outsource this for way less money
CCTV is basically a less involved version of live video monitoring, but it costs way more and you have to manage the entire system yourself or hire people to do it in house. Using a contractor or a service like ours does the same thing as CCTV, only with more benefits, less headaches, and a smaller cost compared to buying and staffing a whole new security system.
5. Alarm Systems
Alarms are a mixed bag when it comes to security. They’re certainly loud and act as a good deterrent and alert system, but in most cases alarms are only triggered after something happens to your property.
If someone is trespassing, committing theft, or breaking and entering, an alarm may deter them, but it won’t undo or prevent whatever damage they’ve already done. Motion sensors can set off alarms, silent alarms, or strobes to help scare people off, so you’ve got flexible options, but it’s still limited in terms of effective security and preventative measures.
- One of the most basic security solutions
Unlike CCTV or other solutions, alarms kind of just work. You install the alarm, and whenever the alarm is triggered, it does what it’s supposed to do. You don’t need team monitoring or much complicated maintenance to benefit from alarms.
- Warn of fire and smoke as well as physical intrusion
Alarm systems can function as both a security measure and as hazard reactive measures. Many alarm systems are designed to account for a number of potential threats, including physical intrusion and fire.
- Easy to install and can be integrated with other security systems
Arguably the most important aspect of alarms is their capacity for connectivity. They’re easy to install in most cases, and you can set alarms to trigger additional security measures if the alarm is tripped. Alarm systems may send a signal to the authorities, activate localized lighting, or activate other interconnected systems.
- Can be expensive when compared with other security solutions
More advanced and integrated alarm systems are expensive, and many come with some level of security package provided by the manufacturer or installation company. In terms of cost, they can stack up quickly for a moderately effective security solution.
- Does not provide evidence of criminality for the identification and arrest of intruders
Most alarm systems are simply that, an alarm. They won’t actually help identify potential intruders, and they offer very little in the way of evidence and active security. They may prevent a certain level of damage, but they’re not a multi-faceted response.
- Not a great standalone security option
Finally, alarms work best together with other security solutions. Ideally, you would want automated camera systems tied to the alarm trigger area, and potentially on-prem security personnel that can respond to any alarms once they’re going off. Otherwise, it’s just loud noise until someone gets there to address the incident.
Take Advantage of Multilayered Security
Security solutions work best in layers. By applying several varied layers of security, you can significantly reduce the risk to your property while safeguarding against potential threats, damages, or accidental loss.
In most cases, you’ll benefit most from a combination of surveillance and one or two additional security solutions. And we’re not just saying this because we specialize in surveillance, we believe that the combination of physical, on-premises security in some form and surveillance is the closest you can get to completely secure.
If you absolutely must choose just one security solution, we do think live video monitoring is the most bang for your buck. It brings together the human capacity for judgement calls and attention to detail, and the major benefits of technology in the form of advanced camera and imaging tech, as well as recorded video for evidence collection and review.
Safeguard your construction site with SentriForce
At SentriForce, we design and install intelligent, scalable, and effective security solutions for construction sites. Our managed surveillance systems actively deter and intervene when a threat is identified and live video monitoring ensures police are dispatched upon detection of criminal activity.