Security products have been used for crime prevention purposes for decades. The use of security products is not just limited to trained personnel – many businesses and individuals are taking advantage of the wide array of consumer security products available at the moment.
As shops, gyms, hairdressers, restaurants and bars start to open up as the lockdown eases, activity in public spaces and high streets will get busier and criminals are certainly going to take advantage of that.
If you’re a security professional or a business owner, you’ll need to be alert and vigilant as the lockdown restrictions are eased. Technology, security products and staff training can help you stay secure when you focus on growing your business and serving customers.
Here’s an overview of the main security products used in crime prevention by businesses, individuals, Local Authorities and law enforcement agencies.
CCTV is an extremely effective tool when it comes to crime prevention. Modern cameras can record footage in High Definition (not like those old blurry/grainy CCTV images you’d see on the news in the 1990s) and they can even record audio too.
Businesses can utilise CCTV cameras by strategically covering key areas of the premises, including the entrance/exit, cash desk, management office and any areas where valuables are displayed or stored.
Access Control Systems
Buildings and systems are most secure when companies follow the ‘principle of least privilege’ (PoLP). That means that each individual staff member or team has the minimal level of access required to perform their roles, and nothing more.
In a physical sense, doors can be locked by access codes, physical keys and passes, allowing certain staff access to additional restricted areas. For example, a cash office where only managers or supervisors are allowed, and even then, their access in and out is always logged.
For digital access, this would mean restricting certain parts of a database or file system to certain staff – if everyone was a ‘system administrator’ there would be chaos!
A basic example is where the Finance Department can access the accounting software, but other departments cannot. Or only management have the necessary permissions required to ‘delete’ files and other users much ‘request authorisation’ before deleting files.
All access control systems, whether physical or digital, are commonly used security products with the aim of preventing crime by restricting access.
While PoLP is cybersecurity or information management terminology – the same principle can be applied throughout your business (there’s a reason why the receptionist always keeps the tea and biscuit storage cupboard under lock and key…)
Counterfeit Money Detection
Shops, bars, restaurants, or just about anywhere that takes cash will use some form of counterfeit money detection.
Formerly, this was done with a detector pen but since the UK now uses Polymer notes instead of paper ones, detector pens are no longer reliable for this purpose. However, they are still widely used in other countries, such as the USA, where paper bank notes are used.
In the UK and Europe, small UV machines are used by checkout staff to verify bank notes at the point of sale. Coins are rarely tested, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t counterfeit coins floating around! The ‘old’ style of £1 was extremely vulnerable to counterfeit production but more modern designs makes it much harder.
It goes without saying that if a business unknowingly accepts counterfeit money, they will not be able to deposit it in the bank! So investing in a small counterfeit money detection device could save a lot of unnecessary hassle!
Related article: Retail Loss Prevention Strategies
Panic Buttons for Staff Safety
Many lone workers may feel more vulnerable than those working in teams. Lone workers may be in situations where there is no immediate support available, so personal panic alarms can be used by staff who find themselves in a threatening situation.
Panic buttons are not just reserved for lone workers, most Post Officers, Banks and high street shops will have panic buttons fitted beneath the counter that will sound an alarm and/or alert the police when pressed.
Real-time, live and instant communication is essential for effective crime prevention and security. Fortunately, a multitude of different technology exists for this purpose – we do live in the communication age after all.
From computers to mobile phones, text messages, emails and even radio (walkie talkies) are all used for real-time communication of threats and other relevant security information.
Security personnel and law enforcement agencies all rely on instant communication. Effective training can help ensure that you’re able to communicate and interpret information with accuracy and clarity – it’s extremely easy to misinterpret information that’s coming in quickly.
Facial Recognition Technology
Facial recognition technology is also used in community crime prevention by Local Authorities and law enforcement agencies in city centres, sporting events, protests or other large gatherings of people in public spaces.
Local Authorities can monitor this technology in real-time to alert law enforcement or security personnel of any individuals with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders or other recent criminal convictions.
This information can be communicated to discreet security officers or police within the crowd which helps keep the public safe from harm.
Artificial Intelligence may be in its infancy, but it has certainly come a long way in the last few years. It may not be a reliable method of preventing crime right at this moment, but with continued research and development, we will soon see crime prevention algorithms used by agencies.
Predictive policing uses machine learning to predict when and where crimes are likely to take place based on thousands of different factors and datasets.
This technology is still being tested and improved.
Related article: Behaviour Detection in Crowds
Personal Security Products
Security products are not just reserved for businesses. Individuals and homeowners also use security products to improve their personal safety. Although, security products designed for use in the home and enterprise-level security systems are not created equally, and consumer-grade products will do the job for most homes, they won’t all meet the required ISO standards for use in a corporate environment.
These security products can be used by either businesses or individuals for crime prevention and personal safety.
Property Marking Pens
It may seem old-fashioned, but the police are still recommending use of a property marking pen to mark your valuables such as bicycles, mobile phones, e-readers, car keys and handbags.
This invisible ink is visible under Ultra Violet light and is used to identify the owner in cases of theft.
If you become a victim of theft and your property is later recovered by police, there’s a higher chance of you getting it back if you can identify yourself as the owner.
Police also recommend that you register ownership of valuable items on a database such as Immobilise or Bike Register, as well as taking photographs and keeping receipts. This will maximise your chances of recovering your item if it does get stolen.
Personal Attack Alarms
Personal attack alarms are small devices that you can carry in your pocket or attach to your keys. The alarm should be used to deter an attacker and attract attention if you’re in danger.
If you live in a high crime area, you frequently walk alone or you just feel generally unsafe, carrying a personal attack alarm can give you extra peace of mind.
Related article: Keeping staff safe in the modern world (What employers need to know)
Home Security Systems
Home security systems (aka ‘burglar alarms’) consist of audible sirens, motion sensors, door contact sensors and sometimes remote monitoring.
These systems have, of course, now gone digital and wireless. Many home security systems even have apps for homeowners to remotely monitor their homes from anywhere!
Smart Security Systems are becoming more popular as more manufacturers jump into the Internet of Things. Technology includes remote controlled cameras that can be viewed via a phone app, intelligent alarm systems and security lighting.
It’s somewhat novel for a homeowner being able to view their living room when they’re out shopping, but it does give extra peace of mind, especially if you have pets in the house.
Many homeowners will also choose to install a security camera on their driveway, garden or even on their front door so they can see exactly who has been on their property at any time.
Motion Activated Lighting
Motion activated lighting near all the entry points of your home, used in combination with security cameras is an excellent deterrent that can prevent break-ins or damage to your property.
If a criminal approaches a property, only to be startled by a bright light and a camera pointing at their face, they’re likely to make a quick exit. The idea is to make it as difficult and as inconvenient as possible for an intruder to break in to your property, and the last thing a burglar wants is a bright light shining on them!
Want to learn more about Security Products and Crime Prevention?
The Level 3 Award in Introduction to Crime Prevention is aimed at security professionals looking to broaden their skills and knowledge in crime prevention and how to conduct professional grade security surveys. It is also designed for crime reduction/community safety practitioners, or equivalent.
If you are a security professional looking to increase your portfolio of qualifications and already have a recognised security management qualification, then this is an ideal course. Understanding crime prevention can greatly enhance your services to corporate, retail and private clients.
Find out more: Introduction to Crime Prevention Training