Community Security Advancements
What do you think of when you hear “community security?” Some common answers include video cameras, a fence around the neighborhood pool, or a gate at the main entrance. There are countless other answers that cover the basics, and they are a great place to start. Start – that is the key word. You have to start somewhere, as they say, but for efficient security in and around a community, you should not stop with the basics.
Technology is evolving around us every day, and whether we like that or not, it will continue to do so. When it comes to security, some find technology intimidating or intrusive. However, many associations that choose to embrace this are likely finding vast improvements in their systems, how they function, and the overall protection of the community assets.
For instance, video surveillance, one of the most prevalent systems, is constantly changing. We have gone from digital video recorders to network video recorders, allowing communities to connect more cameras to one head-end (a.k.a the “brains” of the system) and save quite a bit of money. Another notable change for communities in the past few years is the move away infrared motion detection toward video analytics. Video analytics are programmed into high-resolution, digital cameras and can be set to monitor a specific area during certain times. This type of system is sometimes referred to as Active Video Surveillance.
Often times, these systems record an amenity area 24/7, but they become “active” when the set area is supposed to be closed. If a trespasser enters an area that is monitored, the video analytics are able to determine that it is a real person and alert the system provider. With voice-down components, a guard can have the ability to speak with the trespasser and demand that he/she leave. This technology has taken a standard video surveillance system, and turned it into a preventative and proactive measure. As you read this, active video surveillance systems are improving even more as technological advancements continue.
Another community area seeing improvements with technology is the entrance. Telephone entry systems are now considered especially antiquated as associations turn to security guards and virtual guarding for better verification of guests at a gate. When combining onsite or virtual guards with technology, communities are able to expedite entry in a secure format for guests.
One of the quickest methods for entry today is through license plate recognition. Specialized cameras are able to capture each vehicle’s tag and compare it to a community database using optical character recognition (OCR). When a tag is registered as a permitted guest for that specific community, the gate automatically opens. If a license plate is not registered, the guest is able to speak to an onsite or virtual guard for manual verification. Not only do communities then have record of all vehicles entering the community, but the process is easier for residents and their regular visitors.
A similar method, and one of the most secure, is through driver’s license recognition. When used properly, an image of a guest’s driver’s license is captured (not swiped). The name of the driver is then compared to the community’s database using OCR. When a name is recognized as permitted, the gate can automatically open. When a guest is not registered in the database, he/she is able to speak with an onsite or virtual guard for verification. Again, this eases the process for residents and their guests while keeping record of each driver entering the community for the association.
We could continue to dive into the details of each system and how they continue to improve. Instead, it is important to take away that with so many advancements comes various options. Each community is different in design, in needs, and in budget. There is not a single, generic solution that will work for everyone. Communities have the ability to work with providers now and explore an overall, customized system.
Ignoring an outdated system or trying to replace it with the same equipment will not help a community’s safety. The security providers that stay up-to-date with technology recognize that there can be a learning curve, and they are ready to help to make sure that any provided system(s) function as intended.
If you have security questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read the complete issue and original article here: CAI Community Voice – CAI South Gulf Coast First Quarter 2019