Deadly Response - Early detection and remote response might have de-escalated police incident at Texas car dealership

Deadly Response

Early detection and remote response might have de-escalated police incident at Texas car dealership

Recently, a police officer shot and killed a man who smashed his car into the Classic Buick GMC auto dealership in Arlington, Texas.

Car dealerships present a complex security challenge because they stock high-end models for the public to see, placing high-value assets out in the open where theft and damage can occur. For security professionals, one thing is clear from this tragedy— security cameras and monitoring might detect, but can’t prevent a crime from taking place.

Auto dealership owners must strike the right balance between serving customers and operational costs associated with protecting their assets, property and business. On-site security guards may seem like an effective option, but the added costs of paying salaries, benefits and providing the necessary equipment to effectively respond can add up quickly. Furthermore, human error, constant monitoring and personnel risk add to the cost of this approach.

In the case of the Arlington dealership, they relied on surveillance cameras monitored remotely by a security company. It appears the trigger for the security monitoring was not at the perimeter, so when the suspect drove his car through the showroom glass window, no doubt setting off motion detectors, it was too late. Significant damage and a crime had already occurred—with a tragic outcome.

Car dealerships need a solution for perimeter protection to provide early and reliable detection at the edge of a property with innovative intrusion detection technology. Using few security cameras and advanced video content analytics (VCA) running on a Remotely Managed Multi-service Gateway (RMG) will accurately detect and alarm for perimeter intrusion threats with great reliability to allow for preventative action. This type of detection solution is a true electronic first responder; with audio talk-down from a remote location many threats can be eliminated before they escalate. In extreme circumstances, like that at the car dealership, these solutions can also assist police and first responders with real-time visual situational intelligence.

Protecting car dealerships is complex as the system has to be immune to false alarms associated with swaying vegetation, flags, clouds, animals, insects and more. Car dealerships should look for intrusion solutions that deliver the highest rate of detection combined with the lowest rate of false alarms.

In addition to a perimeter protection, car dealerships should consider video analytics to detect unauthorized loitering in a protected zone. In the case of Arlington, prior to the intrusion alarm, the security monitoring company could have received a loitering alarm as the suspect approached or entered certain areas of the car lot and building.

Early detection isn’t enough. Once the intruder has been detected by intrusion detection technology, reliable transmission of the alarm and visual verification is imperative to establish the threat, evaluate the situation and deliver the appropriate response.

The first responders in this incident were dispatched to a developing situation where they relied on the information verbally given to them by the security company. They didn’t know if the suspect was armed or had accomplices, and did not have any remote visual verification capability that could assist with an effective response. A tragic loss of life was the result.

A leading security company and central monitoring station that protects many car dealerships throughout the United States uses a system that provides early detection, visual verification and remote response. This type of system enables operators to act as soon as a potential threat is detected. Each operator can support multiple dealerships, because they don’t need to constantly view surveillance cameras waiting for a threat event to occur.

They use alarms that direct them to the appropriate site and camera viewing the scene. The operators can visually verify the threat and remotely warn off the intruder with audio talk-back. Potential intruders can be notified in real- time that they are being watched and that the police have been informed and are en route. In the majority of cases, the intruders leave the premises upon hearing the audio warning—preventing the crime from ever taking place. In the case of the car dealership tragedy, the security company could have de-escalated the threat and avoided the altercation between the suspect and police.

Another aspect to consider is the benefit of remote monitoring and situational awareness. Car dealerships should look for providers that have applications for smartphones and tablets to monitor and manage a site from anywhere in the world. These tools could have been additional “eyes” into the situation developing at the car dealership, providing first responders better situational awareness prior to taking action.

A perimeter protection prevention solution, with loitering detection and smartphone applications, has proven to be more effective than standard CCTV system, even with on-site security guards. It is an innovative, reliable and cost-effective solution for protecting car dealerships and preventing theft and vandalism. This prevention solution delivers the highest detection capabilities with the lowest false alarm rate while offering the lowest cost per monitored channel, and 24/7 reliable remote monitoring.

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Security Today.

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