Nobody enjoys thinking about the possibilities. Security professionals must learn from these events. Unfortunately, this incident is just one of many security professionals are required to address and mitigate. In the last year, we’ve seen looting, civil disturbances and attacks on government building. These events cause property damage, sometimes even injuries or death.
So what can you do to avoid or mitigate these events?
It begins with a risk assessment, asking questions such:
- What are the outside influences that could pose a threat to your facility?
- What are the most likely and possible types of attacks?
- What are the effects and what can we do to reduce them?
- Security measures for government, iconic buildings, and retail or office building will be different. What is your risk?
Many security mitigation strategies can also be found in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Principles (CPTED). Jane Jacobs’ book Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) was the inspiration for CPTED. It was created in the 1960s. The Death and Life in Great American CitiesThe idea was more of a concept than a term, according to a person who spoke for the group. This concept is about using the physical environment to reduce crime, decrease fear of crime and improve quality of life for people who use a space.
The 1970s saw the development of the term CPTED. Professor C. Ray Jeffery published his book. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. This was further elaborated in Oscar Newman’s book, Architect. Defensible Space. These writings outlined how physical space could limit and maximize criminal activity, create psychological motivations for crime, and conceptualize the risk that a potential criminal takes.
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Key Principles of CPTED
Understanding CPTED rests on three principles: Natural Access Control and Territorial Reinforcement. The concept can also include maintenance and activity support as supporting principles.
Natural Access ControlThis is the ability to control access to a place and delineate it as private or public. It also examines movement and placement of people within the space. This can be accomplished by using doors, landscaping lighting, fencing, fencing, and gate entry.
Natural SurveillanceIt is important to maximize visibility in a space and identify normal users from abnormal users. This is typically achieved by the use of windows, planned landscaping, and strategized light to create an open environment.
Territorial ReinforcementA space or environment is influenced by normal users. This creates a sense ownership for them, and further deters and defends them against any potential criminals.
To properly apply these key principles to a space/physical environment, a survey must be completed to understand the space’s use, design, and how it is currently designed.
[Related:Building Safer Schools That Dont Look Like Prisons]
Assessing Risk and Implementing Proven Security measures
Security measures can be classified into one of three types: Operational, Technological, or Architectural. CPTED measures are one or more of these categories. This discussion will focus on architectural security measures.
Ask a security professional to design your new building. They will likely give you a monolithic concrete structure with no windows and only one door, surrounded by a moat. This is why no security professional or designer has ever designed any building for a client. Security designers know that building designs must balance security features with other architectural features.
If your risk assessment suggests that your building may be the target for a vehicle-borne explosion attack, distance and hardening measures should also be used. These include all three concepts (Natural Access Control and Territorial Reinforcement).
Distance reduces the explosive’s impact. The impact of an explosive is reduced the further you are from the building. This distance is often called a “standoff distance”. The Department of Defense in its Unified Facilities CriteriaFor building construction, standoff distance refers to the distance maintained between a building (or portion thereof) and the potential location of an explosive detonation.
If your building could be used as a target by well-financed terrorists, the explosive might be bigger and the distance should be greater. 50 pounds of explosive can be carried in a backpack or suitcase. A truck can hold up to 40,000 lbs. Based on the expected risk, there are guidelines that determine the distances that should be covered.
These distances can be achieved by natural barriers, trees, landscape, or installing bollards that can stop the vehicle from reaching them. To prevent the building’s progressive collapse, if you are unable to reach the desired distances, the building must be strengthened. As a guideline, the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC), UFC 4-010-01 DoD Minimum Antiterrorism Standard for Building is recommended.
You should consider incorporating riot-proofing and delay measures if your building is at high risk of civil unrest. Consider installing pull-down metal shutters to protect your doors and glazing. Although this is not an attractive option, it is very effective. There are security glazing products on the market that apply security film to existing windows. This is the most affordable option.
This area is rapidly evolving in technology. Many reports indicate that some materials have resisted multiple attacks by criminals using bricks or bats. However, riot protection glass is not always effective against ballistic attacks. Refer to UL752 Protection for Bullet Resistant Glass Products to learn more about how to protect against handguns, AK-47-type weapons, and other types of weapons.
Security and safety measures must be properly planned and assessed, as there are more incidents than ever before. Security professionals should conduct frequent assessments as the environment changes frequently. It’s a new world out there and security should be considered when designing facilities. Your trusted security advisor can help you.
About the Author
Telgian Engineering & Consulting, LLC(TEC) Senior Project Manager Lauris Frieddenfelds has over 40 years of security industry experience. He is well-versed in technology, operational security, and emergency management. He is a former director for security and emergency preparedness at a major metropolitan health system. He has direct experience in emergency management and operations in a healthcare environment. His expertise includes both planning and organizing as well as directing security activities and programs.
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