Branch Security: Identify Your ‘Hot Points’

Diebold report outlines how to make eight key security areas less vulnerable to criminals.

July 26, 2012
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Every credit union facility has its own unique set of security threats. Even so, a number of “hot points” are consistent from institution to institution, market to market, location to location, according to “Maintaining a Focus on Facility Security in the Age of the Electronic Channel,” a white paper from Diebold.

While a credit union’s individual needs may affect how it secures these hot points, some best practices can help guide the development of a security strategy. From outside at the perimeter to a variety of internal areas, people, and devices that require protection, effective facility security is all about safeguarding the hot points from the outside in.

“Maintaining a Focus on Facility Security” cites eight common hot points and how to make them less vulnerable to criminals.

1. The perimeter

Because there’s less control of the environment surrounding a facility, the perimeter is often more vulnerable to criminal activity than other building zones. Even so, when it comes to protecting the perimeter, it’s all about the basics.

Appropriate lighting can deter criminal activity—by up to 20%, according to some estimates—and improve members’ perception of security around the perimeter. Exterior lighting should meet or exceed lighting specifications, which are governed by regulation in most states.

The configuration of the perimeter, as well as the placement of equipment, can also affect security. Physical obstructions around a facility’s perimeter can help harbor those with malicious intent. Points of entry and exit, as well as the areas surrounding ATMs and night depositories, should be free of such obstructions.

Strategically placed cameras around the facility’s perimeter not only enable monitoring services and the capture of video that may be critical for the prosecution of criminals, they also help thwart criminal activity.

Prime locations for exterior cameras include the main entrance, parking area near the main entrance, ATM locations, after-hour depositories, drive-up lanes, remote staff entry/exit points, and employee parking areas.

2. The drive-up

Today’s drive-up remains a primary form of convenience for both consumer and business banking. And it continues to be a hotbed for would-be criminals who aren’t brazen enough to take their activities into the branch.

Tools such as bullet-resistive (BR) products and two-way video can enhance security in the drive-up.

BR windows are designed to protect tellers who are in members’ line of sight. And when used in conjunction with BR windows, BR drawers and pass-through trays can further enhance the security of the drive-up environment for both consumers and personnel.

Financial institutions can further mitigate risk to drive-up tellers by relocating them from the drive-up window to more secure locations within the branch. Two-way video can enhance security for tellers without sacrificing their level of consumer service.

3. Night depository

The night depository continues to be a vital component of business banking. Unfortunately, it also remains a prime target for robberies and other malicious activities.

The use of cameras in conjunction with after-hour depositories can help discourage criminal activity and capture critical video in the event of a security breach. Dual cameras can offer views of both the depository chest and the surrounding exterior scene.

Surveillance can record images from the front of the depository and from within the unit as envelopes or bags fall into the chest, creating permanent, visual transaction records. Connection to the facility’s video monitoring capabilities can enable around-the-clock evaluation of activity at the depository.

After-hour depository alarms can be integrated into a financial institution’s existing alarm system. Alarm options include door contact alarms, heat thermo alarms, and seismic detectors.

These devices can detect a wide variety of attacks, such as external prying, torching, hammer attacks, and jamming of the drum assembly.

4. Employee entrances and parking areas

Safety is a critical employee concern that has immeasurable impact on recruitment and retention for financial institutions. Adequate lighting and video analytics in key employee areas can help ensure optimal security.

Employee entrances/exits and parking areas can be primary targets for potential robberies, internal theft, and other crimes. Similar to exterior consumer entrances and self-service areas, adequate lighting in key employee areas will not only deter potential criminal activity, but also foster a perception of security among the employee population.

One technology that’s emerging for security applications, video analytics, can be applied to help detect suspicious activity in employee areas. Using parameters the credit union identifies, the technology uses sophisticated software to analyze live or recorded surveillance video.

Analysis detects differences between actual activity and activity that’s identified as normal. It can then alert the financial institution to events of interest through actions such as triggering an alarm, alerting personnel via pre-defined protocols, or gathering data for later review.

NEXT: Securing the lobby, teller area, vault, and ATMs

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