Preventative Measures Using Laser Scan Sensors

Security Systems That Guard Against Intruders Entering From the Roof

Thieves can get into a building through a variety of entrances. It’s easy to imagine entry through a large window or doorway, but what about ... the roof? Intruders can enter through skylights, of course, but the real pros can also bore holes in the roof and get in that way. What can we do to stop such master criminals? When it comes to entry by way of the roof, it would be preferable to take preventative measures to keep damage to a minimum before the incident occurs, rather than using after-the-fact notification. Security systems that use laser scan sensors can really help in cutting down the risk.

Careless Prevention Measures and the Professional Criminals Who Target Them

Generally speaking, building administrators have a low awareness of crime prevention with regard to the buildings’ rooftops, and this becomes more apparent the taller the building is. For this reason, many buildings just have an open-shut sensor on the door from the roof, or don’t even have the roof covered in their security plans. Braving the risk of falling, they scale the outside of the building, and enter in from the outside—it may be difficult to believe, but such daredevil thieves really exist. And these people are pros: they know that no one expects them, and that’s exactly what they prey upon. Facilities that handle data with a high level of security, such as offices and data centers, as well as warehouses and factories where valuable goods are stored, are likely to be targeted from above.

From “Point” Security to “Surface” Security

At a certain major consumer financial chain in the United States, one of their branches was broken into through a hole that the looter created in the roof, and assets were made off with. The thief was able to get in from the roof without opening or closing the door. Even installing a sensor on the door as a preventative measure in this case would have been meaningless, since the sensor would only be activated when the door is opened, and boring a hole allows the criminal to bypass that entirely.

When it comes to security systems on the roofs of buildings, what is really needed is not monitoring on “points” such as the door, but on the entire “surface” of the roof itself. Laser scan sensors that can form a detection area in the shape of a circular sector are the most effective way of achieving this. After the aforementioned incident, Optex was able to provide 150 locations of that banking franchise with laser scan sensors, modifying the security system to be “surface” monitoring.

High-Density Scanning Technology Using Lasers to Achieve Surface Monitoring of a Circular Sector

  • A single sensor can form an infrared laser detection area in the shape of a 190-degree circular sector with a radius of 30 meters
  • Because monitoring is of the surface of the whole roof, the moment an intruder touches off they are immediately detected
  • The shape of the detection area can be freely adjusted with a PC and the specialized software

In cases of an intruder boring a hole through the roof, most of the time the human sensor installed inside the building will be the first to detect the intruder. But the damage to the building has already been done, and by the time the police and/or security guards arrive on the scene the criminal could well have already finished what they came for and made off into the night. In the US, in about 22% of household burglary cases the police will arrive on the scene in 5–10 minutes, while 65% take longer than that.

Moreover, in traditional security systems, the alarm signal from the human sensor in the room generated in such a case may be regarded as a false alarm (in which a person, a thing, an animal, etc. other than a thief is erroneously detected). The reason for this is that the normal flow of an intruder would be to be noticed by the outdoor sensors first and then by the internal sensors after entering the building. It is not natural for the indoor sensors to suddenly detect an intruder who was not noticed coming in, and so in the process of dispatching security guards or notifying the police, such cases will be treated as a lower priority.

A security system with highly reliable sensors, monitoring the whole surface of the rooftop, is an advance prevention system that will minimize damage by detecting burglars who have infiltrated the roof area and preventing them from getting any further.

Linking Up With Surveillance Cameras to Allow Visual Confirmation of the Status at the Site

A growing number of systems are being linked to surveillance cameras that can use images from intruder detection signals produced by sensors, to detect the presence of a thief from remote surveillance centers. Whether the cause of the detection signal is really a thief or an employee on the roof can be confirmed in the image. This is very important information for the surveillance center to determine whether to notify the police or not. Laser scan sensors are also optimized for integration with surveillance cameras that increase the reliability of security systems.

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