Early Detection and Deterrence

Threats of theft, vandalism, and terrorism are a continual concern for those responsible for the security of high-risk facilities. Perimeter security is vital to maintaining safety, safeguarding assets and ensuring continuity of business at these sites.

In regulated industries, perimeter security is even critical to meeting strategic and compliance objectives. For example, guidelines for utilities from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Critical Infrastructure Protection plan (NERC-CIP) state that site owners and operators must be able to detect, assess and respond to objects approaching a perimeter, with the aim to safeguard the facility.

Early Detection is Critical
Staff responsible for site security need to know as soon as possible if there is a risk to the area or assets, so they can respond faster. Video security cameras with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) or video analytics understand what they are seeing to interpret scenes, monitor risks against a threshold, and alert people the moment a threat happens.

Cameras with on-board video analytics keep watch over perimeters and alert to intruder approach, line crossing, loitering, fence jump, and more. An alarm will trigger if the camera detects a person or vehicle crossing an invisible line in the scene or a person or vehicle entering an area without leaving after a specified time. With recent advancements, analytics can even detect intruders who roll, crawl or hide in tall grass to breach fencing.

Cameras with this robust level of video analytics can alert to these conditions while limiting false triggers from wildlife or environmental conditions. Accurate alerts are important for efficiency when considering the time and expense of security operators investigating alarms across multiple locations, including remote, unstaffed sites. AI-based classification aids in filtering out nuisance alarms while providing alerts to actual threats.

Detecting Gunshots
While detecting people or vehicles is important, there are other ways perimeter breaches can happen at high security sites. In remote areas, such as at electrical utility substations, attackers seeking to disable critical assets may be able to do so from outside the perimeter with long-range, large-caliber firearms. By integrating gunshot detection technology with an automated video security system, the gunshot detection system can use geospatial-based commands to slew to cue a PTZ camera to verify events.

When a gunshot is detected, a nearby moving camera will pan, tilt and zoom to the precise location in less than one second to help security staff view the source of the gunfire and capture video evidence of the shooter. The camera can also automatically classify and track the shooter, helping security staff to respond quickly and appropriately. <>Drone Detection
Drones also pose a danger for high security sites with their ability to fly over fencing to breach physical barriers. Operators need a visual perspective to assess these threats and determine whether a drone may be carrying cameras or even explosives.

By integrating radar technology with the video system, radar detection of the drone can trigger the closest ground mounted PTZ security camera to the location and begin tracking the drone to help security staff react accurately.

Deterrence Reduces Risk
Once an impending or in-progress perimeter breach is detected, automated responses can deter intruders from inflicting damage or stealing valuable assets.

As gunshot detection and radar technology can trigger tracking by a moving camera, video analytics can also trigger a camera to track an object. The latest deep learning AI technology enables cameras with on-board analytics to track an object even if it stops moving temporarily to hide from the view of the camera.

If the PTZ camera features an integrated white light illuminator, the detection can also turn on the illuminator to cast a bright white light on the intruder. This spotlight follows the intruder as the camera tracks the person’s or a vehicle’s movement throughout its field of view.

Simultaneous to turning on white light illumination, video analytics can also trigger audio responses if communications capabilities are integrated with the system. Audio messages can play automatically or initiated remotely when an intruder is detected. Broadcast through a loudspeaker, the message warns the intruder they are under surveillance and that local authorities have been contacted.

Together, these powerful deterrents may cause the intruder to leave the area before causing damage.

Beyond Detection and Deterrence
Guidelines for high-security sites may require more than solutions to detect and deter threats. For example, NERC-CIP guidelines look for measures to enable the organization to also delay, assess, communicate, and respond to physical threats.

As key components in solutions to help fulfill NERC-CIP standards, video cameras acting as sensors integrate with security platforms to help staff monitor events, manage security policies and run investigations when perimeter breaches occur.

There are a broad range of technologies for perimeter security solutions to match the equally wide range of requirements from various sites. Intelligence is one key element that provides early warnings and automated triggers for secondary actions. It is central to advanced detection and deterrence in perimeter security solutions.

This article originally appeared in the March / April 2024 issue of Security Today.

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