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General description

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About perimeter security systems in general

We all have different ideas about perimeter security: some associate the notion with fences or barbed wire, while others think of armed security guards or visualise electronic security systems – which is not accidental. Equipment and solutions used in perimeter security are diverse and can be applied effectively only if multiple solutions are concurrently applied, taking in consideration the special features of the location and environment to be secured.

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From what/whom and what/who shall be protected?

These are the first and most essential questions before we engage in working on any system or security concept. Of course, there are several methods which apply to many cases however, each location and each security system is different. We have to be aware why a system is installed and what consequences are intended to be avoided. Without aiming to give an exhaustive list, these might be the followings: taking human life; escaping; losing an object or equipment; release of dangerous substances posing environmental catastrophe; industrial espionage; cessation or impediment of operation; economic damage.

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We have to consider what motivation may be behind the expected intrusion. Some of these are the followings: motivation based on ideological concepts (terrorism, personal motive, extremist groups); economic motivation (theft, blackmailing, industrial espionage). When installing a proper security protection system, it is inevitable to know and map the object to be secured and also its surroundings. We have to know about the operation of the existing security system, the daily routine of employees on site and also their working schedule. Without a prior comprehensive field survey, it is impossible to install a well operating system.

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#1 Basic rules

Whatever the reason for the installation of the protection system is, it can be effective only one way: the applied equipment and persons involved operate in proper integrity on the basis of a procedure regulated in advance. In general, perimeter security systems are used due to two reasons: either to protect the area WITHIN the system, including any persons, objects, intellectual properties, or the system has to prevent those within the inner circle from getting out. Several examples will be given to the former case, while regarding the latter one – which is typically a penitentiary institution –, a separate article will summarize escaping attempts experienced at several locations in the world and efficient protection concepts against these attempts. In either of the above cases four basic rules have to be followed, which are essential for the installation of an effective perimeter security system: deter, detect, delay and defend.

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#2 Deter

It might sound weird and in certain cases it does not seem to make any sense to highlight this factor among the many existing technical solutions, yet: deterrence greatly contributes to the efficient protection of an object. Certainly, the word can be interpreted in many different ways. It shall be clear for the enemy (and it is intentional that not the word “intruder” was used) that the energy necessary for passing and intruding, along with the needed equipment plus the high risk involving with these acts are not worth it and is not proportional to the intended result.

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#3 Detect

A professional (perimeter) security system consists of more circles or “layers”. The first circle is located on the brim or the border of the area to be secured; this is the first sector where crossing shall be detected. There are such areas where it is indispensable that the detecting system operates beyond its borders as well. In such cases approaching the area shall be detected, thus the security system consisting of the applied equipment (radars, thermal imaging cameras) forms the first circle. The more layers or circles are formed – in general –, the safer the system will be. It is not worth building security upon one layer or security circle – hoping that it would provide proper security. In such a case the construction of that single layer would require such perfection, that – most probably
– is impossible to create.

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#4 Delay

Delay after detecting extremely enhances the efficiency of a well operating perimeter security system. Basically, delay is feasible in two different ways. Either by increasing distance between layers, which requires greatly increased area, thus escalating the costs of the property investment, or by creating barriers for the intruder that renders free movement between layers more difficult. Compared to the previous option, this solution requires considerably less area and is more cost efficient, however, it can obstruct or restrict movements of the intruder. A wide range of mechanical protective equipment and obstacles are available on the market, the procurement of which is quite
easy.

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#5 Defend

Defend – or in this case it may also be named response – commences upon detection while delay is in progress. Duration of delay shall be equal to or longer than the time necessary for response.