The tragic homicide in Bethesda Row this week was not easy to anticipate. We often look back with what-if’s and different actions that might have resulted in a different outcome.
Electronic security systems can have a material impact on an outcome if used consistently. While security systems are only effective if procedures are followed they can also force procedure compliance if properly setup.
The outcome of attacks, like the one at Lululemon Athletica in Bethesda Row this week, may be impacted with these systems and/or actions:
These are only some of the strategies for mitigating risks and outcomes. And some do add to the installation or monitoring costs of security systems. Urban Alarm is available for educational sessions for your business or community group.
Exacq Technologies, the developer of IP Video Software that offers very high quality and relatively cost effective solutions, has released their iPhone and iPad application. It is an example of the attention to usability and quality development that is characteristic through out their solutions and the reason why we prefer them in many IP video security applications.
These days, many people have chosen to forego telephone land lines in their homes in favor of the simpler, cheaper cellular option. With this trend comes a shift in how we monitor security systems on those properties from the traditional land line to cell phones and radio networks. Although Urban Alarm can monitor your alarm system using cell phone technology, it often requires that you replace your alarm panel.
Another option unique to Urban Alarm is SNAP(TM) radio monitoring. Urban Alarm offers the only FCC licensed radio monitoring network covering the NW DC area that will work with your existing alarm system to provide you with even better security than telephone-monitored systems.
With telephone-monitored systems, it can often take 30-50 seconds to send an alarm signal, but with Urban Alarm's SNAP radio monitoring system the signal is sent instantaneously. Also, with traditional telephone-monitored systems, when your alarm goes off the alarm panel seizes the line, which can interrupt your ability to make an outgoing call (e.g., 911). With SNAP radio monitoring you have complete use of your phone line at all times.
So how does it work? You do not need to replace your existing alarm system to take advantage of Urban Alarm's SNAP technology. Our technicians will simply install a SNAP transmitter at your home or business and you will be instantly connected to our mesh radio network. With SNAP radio monitoring, your alarm system will always be 'online' and ready to send a signal to our Central Monitoring Station. Whereas phone lines can be cut, seized or interrupted, your SNAP transmitter sends a repeater signal through its mesh network so that each alarm signal takes multiple pathways to the Central Monitoring Station, ensuring that your signal is transmitted effectively and as quickly as possible.
Security video cameras in retail or commercial businesses can be a fundamental part of security. Sometimes making security cameras being visible to workers and guests is a desirable deterrent but other times it mares the aesthetics of a carefully designed space. On a number of projects we have color matched the cameras to be the same color as the wall. This has a nice effect of blending the security cameras into the space minimizing their aesthetic impact.
Security is often a balance of invasiveness and effectiveness. Physical barriers, fire detection, intrusion detection, and surveillance cameras are always going to walk this line. Color marched security cameras are just one cost effective way to get at this issue. Cameras may be matched to any color, pattern, or image.
The photos show an example of the security camera without color matching (left) and with matching (right).
Universal Gear was robbed on Thursday the 14th in the middle of the day. This was a brazen robbery by 9 people and was captured by security cameras (not Urban Alarm's). The video has been posted on YouTube with a award for information leading to the arrest and conviction.
Shoplifting is always a problem but this was an in-your-face robbery that takes it to a new level. It highlights the importance of staying aware of your environment at all times.
I was struck by recent surveillance video of a NW DC robbery showing shoppers browsing less then eight feet from an armed robbery in progress. The shoppers were unaware of anything out of the ordinary.
Staying aware of anything unusual or suspicious is always important to your safety. If you observe something suspicious leave the store immediately (if practical) and call 911.
If you are a shop owner or manager, you must make sure you have video and surveillance warning signs. Silent panic buttons should be located behind the counter, in the manager's office, and any other back of store area (e.g., stock room, walk-in cooler). Panic buttons can also be located close to the floor where accessible in the event you are forced to the floor. Wireless panic buttons should also be on the keychains of managers or other employees.
New IP cameras can show much greater detail then traditional analog cameras. Strategically locating cameras can provide the most clear pictures of burglars. We have started placing high resolution cameras above the doors showing a clear picture of people as they exit. This can be a better quality image then people coming into the store since exterior backlighting reduce the visibility of peoples faces.
At the end of the day, surveillance cameras serve as a deterrent. Ones that show greater detail of perpetrators' faces can lead to the arrest and conviction of thieves and give shoppers, storekeepers, and their neighborhoods greater peace of mind.