Passive and Active Security — How Both Protect Your Parking Lot
How safe and secure is your business's parking lot? Failure to properly secure this potentially vulnerable part of your business can raise liability, put employees or customers at risk, and result in financial losses. And the best plan to secure a parking area is to integrate both passive and active security methods. Here's what you need to know about these two important pieces of the puzzle.
What Is Passive Parking Lot Security?
Passive security (known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) is, as its name suggests, a security feature that doesn't generally take action in response to activity. Some security measures are very passive, such as bollards that physically prevent cars from entering through unauthorized points in the lot. Other passive measures may record activity without necessarily responding to it at that point.
Passive security may not take action, but it remains an important part of a good security strategy. Why?
First, these measures are often easier and less expensive than active options. Landscape features like berms and boulders around the perimeter of your lot force cars to enter only where you want them to. These are relatively inexpensive to install and need little additional care. And unmonitored security cameras can run 24 hours a day without the added expense of a full-time person to watch.
Second, passive measures generally impact the activities of parking lot users less than active ones. Installation of good lighting improves safety but doesn't cause anyone extra trouble as they come and go, so users don't find it intrusive or inconvenient.
What Is Active Parking Lot Security?
In contrast to the above, active security methods take some type of action in response to stimuli. A security officer monitoring a camera not only records someone attempting to break into cars but also calls the police. Access control gates require employees to enter a code or put in a card before they raise the barrier or open a gate. And motion sensors on less-used lights are triggered when a person walks by.
Active security provides real-time security responses, but it costs more to keep up. You must pay more for these elements, including ongoing maintenance of electronic devices and regular upgrades as technology improves. And certainly, security officers, remote camera monitoring, and (foot and vehicle) patrols all require paying trained individuals to perform their duties. This is known as “Return on Investment” for having personnel watching and able to respond versus the ROI for camera’s that are simply recording.
In addition, active security is more recognizable and likely impacts people as they use your lot. Employees may need to show identification or use a key card. Customers must wait for gates to open. And security officers on patrol may interact with both groups of users as they go about their business.
How Can You Integrate Both?
Both passive and active security have their role to play. Blending them covers the weaknesses of each method with the strengths of others.
Consider how these might work together. An access control device on a gate can't prevent unauthorized entry if nothing prevents cars from entering at other points. Passive fences fill in this gap. And an unmonitored camera might record cars but it doesn't control real-time access. However, a car that tailgates through an open gate is caught on camera even if the gate doesn't recognize the breach.
You can also achieve better security for the same cost by using both less expensive passive measures and more expensive active ones. A company might focus their budget for live security patrols solely in the nighttime when risk is higher. During the daytime, cameras and access control gates watch the entry points instead.
Where Should You Start?
Integration of all various types of security makes your business safer while respecting budget limits. But to maximize its effects, your business should have an overall plan. Start crafting this plan by meeting with the security pros at Security Services Northwest, Inc. today. Together, we can boost safety and help all parking lot users have a better experience.