As tall buildings, including high-rises, become more common, their security and the safety of their occupants merit attention. According to a new Connecting Research in Security to Practice (CRISP) Report, tall buildings are exposed to all the normal security risks—crime, disorder and emergencies—that threaten any street-level or campus-style building. However, the physical nature of tall buildings (also known as “tower blocks” in Britain and some European countries) calls for different security emphases.
The latest CRISP Report, “From the Ground Up:
Security for Tall Buildings” by Dennis Challinger, was commissioned by the ASIS Foundation
The report focuses on commercial and residential buildings, and states that tall buildings often house many people and much property in an environment where movement is restricted by elevators and stairways.
These areas, along with lobbies and corridors, constitute considerable sections of the building where ownership is at best ambiguous. Moreover, the anonymous masses of people that move through these common areas allow offenders a fertile setting in which to operate.
Current security approaches include access control, physical security (locks, alarms, perimeter fences), CCTV, lighting, security officers, emergency plans, documented procedures and security-awareness efforts. Still, the author states, the research suggests that crime, disorder and emergencies are continuing issues for security providers in tall buildings.
Challinger discusses how research points to specific responses that may be most useful in developing security plans for tall buildings. These include situational security approaches, both physical and procedural; promotion of a sense of community within the building; and ensuring that the building is well maintained.
About the Author Dennis Challinger’s background is in criminology, and for the past 18 years he has worked as a security practitioner, holding executive positions in several organizations in Australia. In each of those positions, his work was directed toward the practical reduction of losses to his employees from crime and deviance—the commercial version of crime prevention.