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In recent years, there has been a general trend to increase building security. Many sectors have adopted higher standards because of the perceived increase in the vulnerability to crime of both building inhabitants and contents. Healthcare and education premises are particularly sensitive in this respect, while higher value residential property is considered to be at greater risk, particularly in urban areas.

 

The healthcare sector faces a difficult challenge. It must allow visitors and employees a large degree of freedom of access, while at the same time protecting sensitive areas from unauthorised entry. Located in the heart of communities, the buildings can become the subject of unwanted attention when unattended. Given the potential for opportunist crime throughout what are often large sites and buildings, even areas of low sensitivity may require a high standard of protection, particularly as security staffing levels are often low.

The very nature of a community building, be it a sports facility, a children's centre, a pavilion or a town hall, means that it is used by the general public on a regular basis. The design of the building is therefore important, that it creates a welcoming and open atmosphere to the property and space around it. With such buildings a security breach, whether opportunistic anti-social behaviour or a planned burglary, has an increased emotional affect resulting in loss of trust in the organisation, in turn leading to a loss of revenue. Typically such buildings carry contents of high value and are situated in areas where tall perimeter fences would be inappropriate due to the public facing nature of the building.

Commercial buildings have a high value of contents, from the cash till of a high street shop to the company data stored in an office block. This value extends beyond the nett value of the loss to consequential loss of stolen data and potential customers turned away. Commercial buildings are typically unoccupied during the night and therefore are a prime target for a sustained attack to the building. It is important that physical security systems capable of withstanding a planned and co-ordinated attack are specified. Insurance companies will also look for physical security measures on a commercial property and the presence of certified insurance products will keep insurance premiums to a minimum.

Security is a prime concern to education authorities, given the duty of care to pupils and the potential for class disruption in the event of burglary or theft. Equipment and documents may not be immediately replaceable, and the need to do so will inevitably place pressure on budgets. Ultimately, this may also have an adverse effect on the level of confidence in and education provided by a school. Vandalism and unauthorised entry remain a major problem. Unprotected doors, windows and rooflights are prime potential entry points, and even unsuccessful attempts to break in invariably necessitate remedial work. Malicious damage, attempted arson and theft of electrical equipment provide strong motivation for opportunist crime.

Figures taken from the Domestic Burglary Crime Statistics, show that burglary accounts for 7% (733,000 offences) of all British Crime Survey (BCS) crime, and 12 per cent of total police recorded crime. Regardless of whether entry is successful or not, this does not take account of damage and psychological impact on victims. High specification housing represents a significant target for would-be intruders and as statistics show, the households most at risk, regardless of location and demographic, are those with no home security measures.

 

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