Using Technology in Crime Prevention and Loss Control

Advances in technology for preventing crime, including acts of violence related to terrorism or of the kind often inflicted in workplaces and public schools, has enabled security to gain better control over access to secure locations, weapons identification, loss prevention and the interdicting of security threats before property is destroyed or people are hurt. At the same time, advances in technology are so rapid that heavy investment in security technology can leave an organization with outdated or obsolescent systems before the systems are even paid for. Sometimes, an entire restructuring of the security program to accommodate a new technology must be quickly restructured again when the new security technology no longer meets security needs and new systems need to be accommodated. To avoid using limited security resources on technology that doesn’t meet all of an organization’s needs or meets more needs than are likely to exist, a careful risk analysis including a cost benefit analysis needs to be conducted.

It is also important to understand that when too much information is provided, additional liabilities may be created especially when there are inadequate resources to respond to the risks that are being identified. In some settings, banks of closed circuit television monitors show events taking place at multiple locations simultaneously but few if any security personnel are available to monitor or respond to conditions which need follow-up. In such settings, much is being promised by the security program but little is being delivered and as a result alternative security protocols that might bring real dividends are forsaken in favor of virtual security that has a hit and miss affect at best. Decisions regarding the use of technology in security need to be taken with a complete understanding of overall costs, the expected security returns and the possible legal liabilities for the system failures.

To buy, lease or rent security technology to search for explosives or weapons can be costly but worthwhile when the technology performs as advertised and the personnel handling it are experienced, trained and prepared to use the equipment to its optimum. When the system experiences frequent maintenance demands; its performance shows frequent false positives; or its software relies on questionable parameters for identifying explosives for example based on characteristics shared by harmless substances, then more direct methods for searching may ultimately be less expensive and more productive.

FRAC can help an organization make decisions about the use of technology in its security program. When choosing technologies, it is important to understand the limitations inherent in its design for accomplishing the tasks which need to be accomplished. FRAC can help in wading through the many problems of adequately training personnel; developing protocols for responding rapidly and effectively to the technology’s warnings; and for providing back-up systems for when the inevitable breakdowns and maintenance requirements take the system off line.