High-Rise Security Risks Vary Building by Building

(Excerpt below.  See full article on FacilitiesNet.com, October, 2002)

Existing systems and policies get fine tuned; some buildings look to technology for answers

High-rise office buildings and office towers are more at constant risk of criminal activity, even terrorist attack than other types of office buildings. For prominent buildings, extensive security precautions are often justified and there a number of things that can be done to prevent or minimize threats or actual harm to people and property. At the top of the list is making sure the current security system is operating at its full potential. Most facility executives think security protection is something you design and implement and then you can forget about. Security systems are dynamic.

They have to be maintained and adjusted as conditions change. The most pervasive changes in the industry involve security procedures and access control. For instance, some owners now enforce a long-ignored requirement that visitors go to a central location or guard desk for passes or badges before entering.

Controlling Building Access

Not surprisingly, procedures and security camera systems for loading docks, mailrooms and alternative entranceways into high-rise buildings have become a major focus. For example, many experts say the trend is to limit or eliminate internal delivery of packages unless vendors are screened or internally cleared. Otherwise, uniformed personnel or tenants themselves deliver the packages. Owners and security professionals are also reporting greater use of card systems. Tenant interest in security led to the installation of an integrated card access system that controls entry into the building, elevators, package-control centers and anywhere else access is needed.

Video surveillance systems are another focus of attention. Measures range from inexpensive tweaks — making sure video surveillance cameras are provided with sufficient light or are properly positioned — to the installation of additional cameras in public areas, such as garden and reception spaces.

No Entry

Owners are beginning to see a preference for messenger drop-off centers monitored by surveillance cameras with entrances separate from the main entry lobby; there, internal personnel with security clearances can pick up the packages and deliver them. And, increasingly, food deliveries are received at the ground level only, and tenants are required to pick them up. Additionally, building owners are starting to look at integrating the landscape and site into the security design. Fountains and berms can keep cars and trucks away from the building.

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