Prevention of illegal entry into buildings by professional criminals determined to break in is not practical. Hence, the prime objective of security measures is to make illegal entry difficult. If this is done, it will take an intruder longer to gain entry or will compel the intruder to make noise, thus increasing the chances of detection and apprehension. Other objectives of security measures are detection of break-in attempts and intruders, alarming intruders so that they leave the premises before they cause a loss or injury, and alerting building occupants and the police of the break-in attempt. Also, an objective is to safeguard valuable assets by placing them in a guarded, locked, secure enclosure with access limited only to approved personnel.
Some communities have established ordinances setting minimum requirements for security and incorporated them in the building code. (Communities that have done this include Los Angeles, Oakland, and Concord in California; Indianapolis, Ind.; Trenton, N.J.; Arlington Heights, Ill.; Arlington County, Va.; and Prince George’s County, Md.) Provisions of these codes cover security measures for doors and windows and associated hardware, accessible transoms, roof openings, safes, lighting of parking lots, and intrusion-detection devices. For buildings requiring unusual security measures, owners and designers should obtain the advice of a security expert.
Basic security for a building is provided by commonly used walls and roofs with openings protected by doors with key-operated locks or windows with latches. The degree of protection required for a building and its occupants beyond basic security and privacy needs depends on the costs of insurance and security measures relative to potential losses from burglary and vandalism.
For a small building not housing small items of great value (these can be placed in a safety deposit box in a bank), devices for detecting break-in attempts are generally the most practical means for augmenting basic security. Bells, buzzers, or sirens should be installed to sound an alarm and automatic telephone or wireless dialer should be used to alert a monitoring service to notify the police when an intruder tries to enter the locked building or a security area.
For a large building or a building requiring tight security, defense should be provided in depth. Depending on the value of assets to be protected, protection should start at the boundary of the property, with fences, gates, controlled access, guard patrols, exterior illumination, alarms, or remote surveillance by closed-circuit television. This defense should be backed up by similar measures at the perimeter of the building and by security locks and latches on doors and windows. Openings other than doorways or windows should be barred or made too small for human entry and screened. Within the building, valuables should be housed in locked rooms or a thick, steel safe, with controlled access to those areas.
For most types of occupancy, control at the entrance often may be provided by a receptionist who records names of visitors and persons visited, notifies the latter and can advise the police of disturbances. When necessary, the receptionist can be augmented by a guard at the control point or in a security center and, in very large or high-rise buildings, by a roving guard available for emergencies. If a large security force is needed, facilities should be provided in the building for an office for the security administrator and staff, photographic identification, and squad room and lockers—all in or adjoining a security center.
The security center may be equipped with or connected to electronic devices that do the following:
1. Detect a break-in attempt and sound an alarm.
2. Identify the point of intrusion.
3. Turn on lights.
4. Display the intruder on closed-circuit television and record observations on videotape.
5. Notify the police.
6. Limit entry to specific spaces only to approved personnel and only at permitted times.
7. Change locks automatically.
In addition, the center may be provided with emergency reporting systems, security guard tour reporting systems, fire detection and protection systems, including supervision of automatic fire sprinklers, HVAC controls, and supervision of other life safety measures. See also Art. 3.5.12.