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Terrorism Surveillance: Keep Your Eyes Open

Monday, May 31st, 2010
Report suspicious activity

Report suspicious activity

Part 2 in a Series

A recent report by the Department of Homeland Security stated that attempted attacks on U.S. soil are at an all-time high. As a result, participation of private industry in surveillance has never been more important. The Obama Administration recently released its latest national security doctrine, which emphasizes the need for monitoring potential threats to United States-based targets.

The installation of CCTV Security Systems is becoming more widespread throughout urban and suburban areas, creating a “net” of coverage to aid in both terrorism prevention and speedy apprehension of suspects. As a property owner, you might consider installing a security system and establishing relationships with neighboring property managers as well as law enforcement.

Our post today explores best practices for terrorism surveillance, including how to scan for and identify suspicious activity and what to do with the information you gather.

Security System Installation

  • Select a professional CCTV installation company, which can advise you on the number and location of security cameras.
  • New camera systems offer DVR, which affords clients improved image storage and faster law enforcement review.

But the best camera system in the world is useless unless someone “knows what to look for.” Once your surveillance systems are in place, it’s important to educate your staff about how to identify potential threats.

Suspicious Activity could constitute “casing” of the building. Look for:

  • Individuals walking by the building repeatedly with no apparent purpose
  • Vehicles parked in unauthorized areas including loading zones or garage entrances
  • People trying to access restricted areas of the building

IT and information-related issues can be signs that your building is being targeted:

  • Terrorists who are scouting your location may do research. Be wary of:
    • Phone calls to your building asking for detailed tenant information or maps of the property
    • Website visitors from foreign internet connections repeatedly viewing your building’s website

Activities that could indicate an attack is imminent. Watch for:

  • Vehicles that come very close to the building past security barriers and then quickly depart
  • Individuals checking watches/cell phones frequently, and maintaining contact with other people who are located in various areas of the property

Cooperation with law enforcement and neighboring businesses:

  • Once security systems are in place, contact your local FBI office and police department to inform them of the system coverage and your willingness to help identify potential threats by reporting suspicious activity and sharing your surveillance footage.
  • Work with other business owners to discuss their surveillance tactics and share information about individuals or vehicles that have been behaving suspiciously.

With any complex problem designed to identify and prevent terrorism, cooperation is key. In the Times Square attempted bombing, a major lead about the bomber’s identity was obtained not from Times Square cameras but from shopping mall surveillance video that showed someone test-driving a suspicious vehicle. With a surveillance system in place, you can help foil terrorist attempts and play an important role in maintaining safety in your community.

Visit us next week for another post in our series about terrorism surveillance. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. Allied Universal, Inc. is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Preventing Terrorist Attacks

Monday, May 24th, 2010
Are you prepared for the threat of terrorism?

Are you prepared for the threat of terrorism

With the recent attempted bombing in Times Square, terrorism prevention and surveillance of threats are, once again, front page news. This is the first post in a series about terrorism-related issues, which we will explore to help property owners and managers recognize and mitigate terrorist threats.

Thanks to the efforts of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, several terrorist plots that focused on commercial buildings have been thwarted over the past several years. As seen in the recent New York City attempt, the actions of diligent civilians can also prevent catastrophe. Also, common sense and surveillance procedures increase awareness about things that “just don’t look right.”

Our first post in this series is an introduction to terrorist groups and explanation of their probable motives for planning an attack. Knowing this basic information can help provide context as to the types of targets and methods that some groups will likely use to cause damage.

Terrorist Threats

  • Domestic Groups:
    • Before the 9/11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing was the largest modern terrorist attack in the United States.
    • Domestic groups have anti-government agendas that can be based on perceived racial or socioeconomic issues.
  • International Groups:
    • Al-Qaeda is arguably the most well known terrorist group in the world. The group seeks to broadcast its views by destroying well-known targets in headline-producing fashion.
    • Other lesser known internationally-based groups, such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, also have aspirations to attack U.S. interests.

Remember that surveillance methods should not be relegated to racial profiling or stereotyping. Instead of identifying race during surveillance, look for suspicious behavior patterns. Future blog posts will explain specifics.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies:

  • Establish relationships with law enforcement for your building, including the FBI. This is a key step in preventing terrorist attacks.
  • Provide law enforcement direct access to your property so they can quickly and effectively respond to incidents and advise you about where to place surveillance equipment.

Complete emergency and disaster training should cover acts of nature as well as man-made disasters, including terrorism. While not all attacks can be predicted or prevented, property owners can take steps to identify and prevent attacks. The next blog in our series will explore how terrorist groups typically choose targets and how you can use surveillance and physical modifications to detect and deter potential threats.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. Allied Universal, Inc. is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

The Power of Knowing Where to Go

Monday, May 17th, 2010

As the leader in emergency management training solutions, Allied Universal, Inc. is continually improving our award-winning products. We have just introduced a new feature to our comprehensive program that assists emergency responders and improves tenant safety.

Our integrated training system offers a dynamic home page for every commercial property owner who uses our product. The home page details important information for each property including:

  1. Required online courses to be completed
  2. Floor Warden reports
  3. Additional safety contact information

The latest feature featured on the building home page is our “View Map” link, which provides emergency responders with multiple views of individual properties and the surrounding areas. The maps not only provide driving directions to the building. But, more importantly, they provide access to Google Earth 3-D views of the surrounding area. Such detail prevents emergency responders from “flying blind” in an emergency. While en route, they will be able to assess the building’s best access points, so they won’t lose valuable time once they arrive. Access to real-time map information can also aid in running emergency drills.

“View Map” Feature Available for Every Building

3-D View helps responders determine ideal tactics for dealing with emergencies and gives a sense of scale for the building and any surrounding structures.

This new map feature is a perfect complement to other fire department integration features of Version 2.0 in our comprehensive safety training program

  • Fire Departments have access to the Allied Universal System clients’ properties, in their particular cities, viewable through the easy-to-navigate home page.
  • Department managers can monitor individual building testing and training of Floor Wardens and Fire Safety Directors.

Additional Newer Features of our Version 2.0

Real-time reporting with just one click:

  • Identify tenants that need special assistance in emergencies

Automated Features:

  • The system automatically creates and sends certificates to each user
  • Annual reminders are sent to each user to ensure ongoing training compliance and optimal tenant safety

Improved Confidentiality and System Control:

  • Controlled information distribution, with multiple tiers of system access

Our integrated map feature is the latest example of how our training system was built with dynamic flexibility. Online and integrated tools that bring together fire departments, facility management, and other entities, allow us to continually improve our system to meet tenants’ needs.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. Allied Universal, Inc. is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.