Using Guard Houses to Bolster Workplace Security

With global and public eye concentrating on violent attacks both domestic and abroad, many companies and corporations have looked for a better way to provide protection for their employees and their business as a whole. Certain organizations immediately raise their red flag when security risks arise: airports, government buildings, schools, and hospitals. And their reactions seem very fair and honest. After all, these places typically have a lot of public traffic, high profile people or house sensitive information. However, other industries, for whatever reason, do not seem to quite follow suit… The National Criminal Justice Reference Service shows the average number of employees per security officer for a number of different industries. Industries with a lot of public foot traffic (arenas, entertainment, and casinos) “beef up” their security with 1 security officer for every 38 employees. But the companies in the Transportation, Logistics, Warehousing, & Supply Chain sector have 1 security officer for every 417 employees, showing by far the greatest disparity of any industry surveyed. Not only does this leave a minimal amount of security for employees, but also, leaves little protection for all of the valuable inventory and equipment these facilities hold. So, what kind of benefits would these companies see from increasing their facilities’ security? What kind of security systems would they put into place, and how could they do it? These are all questions that we will focus on and discover an answer for in this post! So let’s get to it!

Access Control

In the realm of protection for businesses and corporations, one of the most prominent and probably the most obvious form of security is physical security. Physical security, as you might have guessed, will typically be anything that protects your facility’s people, property, programs, or data which includes vandalism, theft, and even acts of terrorism. Of these “physical security” measures, one of the most prominent is what is known as “access control.” This practice allows for a facility to control who goes in and goes out of the property. In fact, for school systems, access control is the number one most commonly practiced form of physical security (Source: National Center for Education Statistics).

The main reason access control is such a popular and effective method of physical security is that it allows you to properly log all facility traffic, almost like an accounting department. Every entry into your facility must first be approved then will require a corresponding exit, like credits and debits in an accounting book. As long as your book is balanced at the end of the day, everything is perfect, but if there is an imbalance you will be able to spot it and correct it quickly, thanks to using access control. However, the most important part of access control is being able to actively deny someone access. Facilities that only have a main gate do not necessarily have this ability due to “piggybacking” which occurs when another person slips in while a security gate is open for an authorized person. So what is the best method of controlled access to ensure no one can slip through the cracks?

To ensure that your organization can prevent “piggybacking” into your facility, further steps must be taken in the form of at least one security officer and a guard house to be used as the main security checkpoint in you access control system. In most cases, having active security personnel at your main gate will be enough to dissuade potential intruders as a form of a psychological barrier to entrance. In the case of someone does still attempt to gain access to your facility, your security officer will be in perfect position to safely stop the individual. If security is unable to stop the intruder, they will still be able to alert the facility and the authorities, so the facility can be put on lockdown and help would arrive shortly (assuming your guards are unarmed). Perhaps the greatest benefit to having a guard house and security officer is the psychological impact. We mentioned earlier that just the presence of a guard house can potentially stop an intruder before they even decide to gain access to your facility. But more importantly, these features offer peace of mind to all of the members of your facility, which can be invaluable to your company’s environment and wellbeing. But, as we all know, there are other ways for a person to gain access to your facility besides the main entrance, and there will sometimes be undesirable ongoings in your facility that your security officer will not be able to see.

Using Your Guard Booth as Video Surveillance Center

In order to keep the rest of your facility in check, installing a video surveillance system inside your guard house will provide you with a constant assessment of the entire property, as extensively as you want. When most criminals are looking to stealthily gain access to a facility, they look for those areas with the least amount of light and the least amount of foot traffic (obviously steering clear from the guard house). This way, the intruder will have the greatest chance of getting into and out of your facility without even being noticed. But, with a surveillance system, you can strategically place cameras in these low visibility areas and turn your weaknesses into strengths. Some facilities opt to have guard patrol the grounds of the property on foot, however, these guards can only be at one place at a time. Therefore, if you want to have a full view of the entire facility, you are going to need a lot more officers. Conversely, with a surveillance system, you will be able to have an officer or two watches over the entire facility from the comfort and safety of their guard booth.

Similar to the psychological impact that a guard house has on employees and potential criminals, having a surveillance system inside your guard house provides the same type of influence. Especially with the use of signs stating “this area is being video recorded,” video systems have proven to be an efficient way to not only catch criminals but to deter them from committing any crime in the first place.

The article “Measuring the Effects of Video Surveillance on Crime in Los Angeles” by USC’s School of Policy, Planning, and Development, shows crime statistics on Hollywood Boulevard before and after the implementation of a CCTV system. A number of property crimes committed decreased 17.8% after the video surveillance system was put into place. Also, the total amount of crime in the area decreased by 10.3% in that time. However, also stated in the study,

Surveillance may prove useful for targeting certain types of crimes in certain areas as a tool to aid law enforcement, but it may be less effective in deterring or reducing other types of crimes in other areas. For instance, crimes of passion, or crimes in which an individual may be inebriated or unaware of the cameras’ existence, may not be deterred by video surveillance.

Two takeaways from this snippet: One, video surveillance will obviously not deter all types of crime and all types of criminals. Some criminals will not care if the system is there or not and will continue on with their crime regardless. Others might not notice the system at all, but with the system in place, both types of criminals will have a much higher chance of being caught. This point leads us to two; video surveillance should be mostly seen “as a tool to aid law enforcement.” Generally, these systems will function best when seen as a tool to assist the police and your security officers with their duties. Overall, we can see the benefits of access control and video surveillance to your facility, but how can guard houses be used to amplify the effects of these systems?

Your Security and Safety Hub

As we have mentioned earlier, your guard house will be your first point of contact with anyone coming in and out of your facility. But it should also be seen as a major security hub of your facility a place that will handle any and all of your security needs. Especially with the addition of a video surveillance system, your guard house will become the eyes and ears of your facility. Not to mention, your security guards should be trained to foresee any potential threats to your business. And if any employees notice a threat to the facility, the guard house will be the perfect place for them to call and get immediate assistance or help. Because, in order to have the best security system possible for your company, it takes more than just the nuts and bolts of a gate and some guards. The guard house provides them with an area to study the dynamics of the facility, feel out any potential problems between or among employees, and learn any possible risk factors associated with the industry. Ultimately, your guard house will also act as your company’s own war room. The guards will have a place to create their own security “game-plan” if you will, and if you take advantage of some of the security tips mentioned earlier, your guard house will provide your facility with a solid combination of physical, digital, and psychological security processes to give your facility as much protection as possible.

What Do You Need Out of Your Guard House?

Obviously, every industry comes with different potential threats, and every business in each industry has unique obstacles to overcome due to a number of different factors like location or size of your facility. So it can oftentimes be tough to determine what type of guard house will fit your facility the best. Will you just need to act as a checkpoint in and out of your property? Will it need to house a surveillance system and/or a bathroom for your guards? What are the specific threats that your guard(s) and the facility will face? Each of these questions is very important to the size and structure of your guard booth, and we will go over each one to ensure the perfect match.

Will your guard booth just be acting as a checkpoint to your facility?

In certain cases, the security threat to a company or business is relatively low and the owner may just want to provide a guard booth at the front of the entrance to either provide a little extra security or to ensure the peace of mind of his or her employees. Both of these are perfectly good reasons to add a guard booth to your facility, and more than likely, you will not need anything too major. For this type of situation, a “quick ship” guard booth is perfect for greeting and checking the credentials of people coming through the access point. These booths come in sizes of 4′ x 4′ x 8′, 4′ x 6′ x 8′, 4′ x 8’3 x 8′, 6′ x 6′ x 8′, and 6′ x 8’3 x 8′. These booths provide enough work space for one security officer, but they will have more than enough room to work comfortably, especially with an HVAC option included.

Will your guard house need to fit multiple guards or a surveillance system?

In order for your guard house to act as the ultimate “security hub,” you will need to provide a little extra room to set up your video surveillance system and for your guards to work. These buildings can provide your company with access control of your business, they can house any type of video surveillance system, and can be engineered to hold any additional safety features, as you see fit. The guard house can act as a central position for monitoring all actions within the property.

What are the specific threats that your guard(s) and the facility will face?

Certain industries are predisposed to a higher threat level than others. Businesses like casinos, sports arenas, banks, ports, and travel terminals spend a much higher amount of security because they have a much higher threat of terrorist attack, theft of goods or robbery. In these cases, with your security officers being your first line of defense in case of a major threat, your guard house will need to be able to withstand a large amount of force. For such these cases, ballistic rated guard booths can be built to the highest level of NIJ ballistic rated protection. If your guard house needs to be bullet proof or blast proof, ballistic rated options will do the job for you. These are the strongest, most heavy duty options for guard houses, and they will provide your security officers with the maximum amount of safety.

Overall, the security of your facility plays a big role in the mindset of employees and their overall safety and well-being. For your business to provide the most effective security system possible, your company will need to take advantage of a number of different security techniques to provide your property with the most effect security system possible. These guard houses will provide you with access control to your facility, a central point to monitor the entire property, and a place for your guards to organize and develop a security plan for your business.