You invest in perimeter security solutions to protect your valuable assets, but it can be overwhelming to decipher which products are best for you: Security cameras? Motion detectors? Security personnel? Lighting? All of the above? Some of the above? What is the right combination of equipment to buy without breaking the bank?
To help make this easier, we broke down each option, piece by piece, identifying the pros and the cons. And since lighting is our expertise, before we get started, please keep in mind that a top-notch lighting system added to your solution can be your #1 security-related asset.
Security cameras. Security cameras are an important part of your security system. Here are some things to think about when deciding whether or not to include them in your overall security system.
- Pros: Security camera costs are less expensive than in years past, so more people are installing them. The cameras can be seen by potential intruders, so they know they’re under surveillance, which is sometimes enough to make them pass by your property and move on to another location. But if they still choose to try and breach your property, the cameras provide real-time footage— making it easier to see intruders AND enabling authorities to identify intruders and bring them to justice. Cameras can also record sound and/or motion and can initiate additional security lighting (like our FlashGlare lighting technology) and/or trigger an alarm system. Many cameras can even send alerts to your smartphone when an intruder is detected, allowing you to contact authorities and save the expense of on-site security personnel.
- Cons: Cameras, alone, will not keep your property secure. And even the best, state-of-the art camera systems are subject to internet issues, hacking, power outages, and darkness, rendering them pretty much useless when any of these occur. And without the proper perimeter lighting system (we’ll talk about lighting below), your cameras won’t be able to “see” what’s going on within your perimeter when the sun goes down. Even with the new and expensive low light cameras, they can tell you something is out there, but when you go out to investigate you can’t see.
Motion Detectors. Motion detectors can also be an integral part of your perimeter security system since they’re triggered when they detect movement on your property. Here are some pros and cons to think about when deciding if they’re the right fit for your needs.
- Pros: Since motion detectors do exactly what their name implies—detect motion, if an intruder can’t be seen, their presence on your property can be detected by a motion detector system. They are relatively easy to install and can be placed where intruders can’t see them, and they can work with your security camera system, trigger additional security lighting, and set off alarms. They can also work well in both daylight and at night. And again, many can work with your smartphone also.
- Cons: Just like with security cameras, motion detectors can fall victim to internet issues, hacking, and power outages. Their capabilities are often restricted to smaller areas, requiring more units, and they can also produce “false” alarms since they can’t distinguish between human invaders and other invaders (animals, for example). And as with security cameras, without a companion lighting system, motion detectors will only detect motion, not allow intruders to be seen at night.
- The biggest issue: They—and the other solutions—tell you someone is out there, but that is it! From that point on, it is your responsibility to do something or take action: Call the cops, hire a security guard (for 80k a year), or grab a flashlight and investigate yourself. You still haven’t solved the problem, which is to chase them away.
Security Personnel. While cameras, lighting, and motion detectors can be valuable pieces of your overall security plan, actual “boots on the ground”—security personnel—can also be something to consider.
- Pros: Since security guards often wear uniforms, they can be mistaken for police officers (from a distance), adding an additional layer of deterrence. They can alter their routes and routines throughout their shifts, making it more difficult for stalker-type intruders to know when and where to enter your perimeter. They can also be proactive at recognizing potential hazards and risks, which is a benefit non-human security elements can’t offer, and they can help ensure other parts of your security system are working correctly and alert you of any issues. Plus, they can work effectively both day and night. And let’s be honest: You really can’t beat the value of having a human on site who can make snap decisions to keep your property and assets safe.
- Cons: The biggest obstacle for employing on-site security personnel is the expense, which is about $80,000 per guard per year, followed by making sure any security personnel you hire are properly trained and qualified. Also, unless you hire multiple guards, the security guard can’t be everywhere at one time. And as with security cameras and motion detectors, without an optimal perimeter lighting system, your security personnel won’t be able to see what’s happening on your property during nighttime hours.
Perimeter Lighting System. Adding a low cost perimeter lighting system will accomplish two tasks: 1) the saying “If it’s not lit, its not secure” is true because criminals don’t like to be seen, and 2) make it so your security system (cameras, motion detectors, security personnel) can see. It really is as simple as that, and that’s why it’s crucial that your perimeter security plan has “lighting” as the glue to pull the whole security solution together.
If you can control a criminal’s eyes, you can control their actions. Criminals rely on their vision. If they can see, then they can rob you, which can be very expensive in many ways. So, to thwart would-be intruders successfully, your security system HAS to attack their ability to see. Here’s where the CAST Lighting FlashGlare Technology comes into play because it can naturally and chemically temporarily disable would-be intruders’ eyes while not blinding your security system. Here’s how it works: As intruders approach your property, the lights are off, and the cameras or other perimeter detection solutions identify their approach and signal the lights to go into the FlashGlare mode, which involves turning the lights on and off on a 10 second cycle. This causes intruders to initially see stars and splotches on the 1st ten second cycle, and by the 4th-5th cycles (if they are crazy enough to stick around), the chemicals in the back of their eyes will be so confused they can’t see for 5-8 minutes, and they won’t regain their “normal” vision for 10-15 minutes. “No harm, no foul, no liability...just get off my property” is the goal. This is the only combined solution that can both tell you someone is coming and also chase them away without human intervention. If you would like recommendations on our approved partners, give us a call.
Aspects of your lighting plan to consider are pole mounted vs. fence mounted lights, FlashGlare technology, LED vs. Halogen, light placement (not too close, not too far apart), and the correct brightness of your lights so those who need to see can and those who are trying to breach your property won’t be able to see.
Ready to design and implement your perimeter lighting system? Fill out our Contact Form, and we’ll work together to make sure all your security systems are protecting your assets and your property.