In January 2018, the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio and the City’s Security Infrastructure Working Group announced plans to bring permanent perimeter barriers, or bollards, to high-profile sites and to create a process to streamline their design and construction. With funds exceeding $14 million for permanent bollards in Times Square and more than $50 million to commence the broader rollout of new protective measures in phases.

Mayor de Blasio said, “In 2017, New Yorkers witnessed the horrible capacity of people willing to do us harm, whether it was in our subways, on our bike paths or in Times Square. But we will not be cowed and our expanded investment today in barriers and bollards in our public spaces underscores our resolve in keeping New York City safe from future attacks. In this new year, we can and will protect our iconic public spaces while New Yorkers go on living our lives, including by hosting a record number of tourists.

These additional safety bollards will allow New Yorkers and visitors to be more secure at landmark locations and other sites throughout our City,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.With vehicles becoming a weapon for terrorists, the need to protect citizens has dawned on most large cities

Ensuring public security

And with vehicles seemingly becoming the weapon of choice for terrorists, the need to protect citizens from 'people willing to do harm' has dawned on most large cities, leaving many still trying to find the best way to protect their citizens.

Admittedly in many cases, it seems to be ‘after the horse has bolted’ so to speak. In 2016, a lorry was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 87 people and injuring 458. This was an awful, cowardly and devastating attack that had a huge impact on so many lives.

The stark reality is however, after two previous vehicle attacks in France, if there had had been tougher security measures in place, rather than an increased police presence, and a plastic temporary barrier, then many of those citizens would still be alive today.

MacSafe for vehicle incursion prevention

Reacting to these devastating events, Metropolis Nice C.te d’Azur decided to install a safety barrier along the Promenade des Anglais. The new barrier, or vehicle incursion prevention system, MacSafe, was tailormade for the Promenade des Anglais by Maccaferri and J&S Franklin.

It was inaugurated in July 2017. It is crash test rated to stop a 19-tonne truck travelling at 50km/h and impacting at 20°, equivalent to the vehicle used by the terrorist in Nice in 2016 and can withstand two successive impacts. The system is also accredited by the UIAU (University of Venice).

The MacSafe system consists of two high tensile steel cables supported on tubular steel posts and anchored at each end with our patented energy dissipation system. The posts are secured to ground foundations and all external fixings are designed to prevent them being easily removed.

The force of the vehicle impact is distributed through the cables and posts and absorbed within the patented energy dissipaters. The energy is absorbed through compressive deformation and not by friction. This ensures better and more reliable performance throughout the long-life of the barrier.Las Vegas plan to have their existing 800 bollards updated to some 7,000 by the end of 2018

Balancing security and aesthetics

On the 19th December 2016, a truck was deliberately driven into the Christmas market next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 56 others. One year on, and the Christmas Market in Berlin is protected by large concrete barriers, armed police patrols and stop and search checks.

In January 2017 in Melbourne, 6 people were killed and 37 injured when a car sped down a footpath crashing into pedestrians, by June 2017 $10 million had been allocated, and temporary concrete barricades and bollards had been installed around the City of Sydney.

In January 2018, the City of Gold Coast began installing heavy duty retractable bollards capable of repelling the force of a large heavy goods vehicle. They had previously resolved to spend $515,000 on bollards which met the Australian standard, but on the advice of the QPS Commonwealth Games security adviser, it was recommended that the bollards comply with a European standard bringing the cost of the project to $1.095 million.

Las Vegas plan to have their existing 800 bollards updated to some 7,000 by the end of 2018, to increase the safety of those walking The Strip in Sin City. However, some cities are still concerned about the aesthetics of concrete bollards on their historic cities, a case of balancing security over protecting tourism.

Physical barriers for pedestrian security

Take for instance, Barcelona in Spain. On the 17th August 2017, a van was driven into pedestrians strolling along Las Ramblas, in Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring at least another 130. Advice was given that bollards were needed, warnings of impeding threats were given, and yet, the action taken was to increase policing levels on the streets.

Now, thankfully, there are a few bollards and increased police presence on the streets, and going forward they are “studying the possibility of installing physical barriers to prevent further attacks with vehicles.Although guard rails would not have stopped either of the London attacks, they can limit the damage

In London on 22nd March 2017, a car was driven into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing 5 people and injuring 49 others. The driver also stabbed a policeman to death.

Built-in counter terrorism design

Again, in London, on 3rd June 2017, a van was driven at pedestrians in the London Bridge Area. Three attackers began stabbing people, before being shot by police. 8 people died. 48 were injured, 21 critically. Controversially previously installed 'Guard Rails' had been removed from London’s streets to protect cyclists and make the Capital more ‘attractive’.

Although guard rails would not have stopped either of the London attacks, they could have limited the damage. However, today, protective barriers are erected on Thames bridges and from London’s experience of previous terrorist activities (IRA) there are very few buildings or indeed public spaces that don’t have ‘counter-terrorism’ design inbuilt.

Government-initiated guidance

The UK Government has produced a 174-page guide, Crowded Places Guidance, that highlights the threat as a vehicle being used as a weapon, but also highlights that these threats can be “mitigated by installing physical measures (including blending into the landscape or streetscape) which may be passive (static) or active (security controlled). These measures can be installed either on a permanent or temporary basis. All such measures should meet appropriate standards in terms of their vehicle impact performance, design and installation.

Vehicle security barriers, need not be ugly concrete monstrosities. Nor do they need to be concrete lumps that need huge lifting gear to place them. They can be totally inconspicuous, letting everyday life continue and forgetting they are there, or full on ‘in your face’ shouting a warning to would be terrorists that this area is safe.Planters can be installed quickly and are sited to allow pedestrians to pass through while vehicles can’t

PAS68 Street Planters

They come in many guises, from retractable bollards and passive static bollards to street furniture. Even cleverly disguised PAS68 Street Planters from Securiscape, which have an attractive floral display whilst cleverly acting as a security barrier.

These planters can be installed quickly and are sited to allow pedestrians to pass through while vehicles can’t, but due to intelligent design, incorporating a surface mounted, reinforced structure which can stop a vehicle if it is used as a battering ram. But if none of that appeals, then there are many landscaping options, including, ditches, bunds and berms.

DefenCell mesh gabion

DefenCell by J&S Franklin, is a lightweight geotextile welded mesh gabion that once filled with locally available materials, can be incorporated into security measures for public places and protection. Filled and stacked, these gabions can be covered and planted, maintaining the aesthetic and environmental considerations of high profile or sensitive locations.

Sadly, people with ‘evil intent’ are a fact of life. Which makes vehicle security barriers a permanent part of our city landscapes. So, whether hidden or in plain sight they will be there be to Protect and Protect again.

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8 tips for visiting a large security trade show
8 tips for visiting a large security trade show

Security trade fairs can be daunting for attendees. At big shows like IFSEC International and Security Essen, there can be hundreds of physical security manufacturers and dealers vying for your attention. Stands are sometimes spread out across multiple halls, often accompanied by a baffling floor plan. As the scope of physical security expands from video surveillance and access control to include smart building integrations, cyber security and the Internet of Things (IoT), there is an increasing amount of information to take in from education sessions and panels. Here, SourceSecurity.com presents eight hints and tips for visitors to make the most out of trade shows: 1. Outline your objectives. As the famous saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail!” Before you plan anything else, ensure you know what you need to achieve at the show. By clearly noting your objectives, you will be able to divide your time at the show appropriately, and carefully choose who you speak to. If there is a particular project your organisation is working on, search out the products and solutions that address your security challenges. If you are a security professional aiming to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, then networking sessions and seminars may be more appropriate. 2. Bring a standard list of questions Prepare a list of specific questions that will tell you if a product, solution or potential partner will help you meet your objectives. By asking the same questions to each exhibitor you speak to, you will be able to take notes and compare their offerings side by side at the end of the day. This also means you won’t get bogged down in details that are irrelevant to your goals. Most trade fair websites provide the option to filter exhibitors by their product category  3. Do your homework Once you know your objectives, you can start to research who is exhibiting and decide who you want to talk to. Lists of exhibitors can be daunting, and don’t always show you which manufacturers meet your needs. Luckily, most trade fair websites provide the option to filter exhibitors by their product category. Many exhibitions also offer a downloadable floor plan, grouping exhibitors by product category or by relevant vertical market.  It may be easier to download the floor plan to your phone/tablet or even print it out, if you don’t want to carry around a weighty map or show-guide. 4. Make a schedule Once you have shortlisted the companies you need to see, you can make a schedule that reflects your priorities. Even if you are not booking fixed meetings, a schedule will allow you to effectively manage your time, ensuring you make time for the exhibitors you can’t afford to miss. If the trade show spans several days, aim to have your most important conversations early on day one. By the time the last afternoon of the show comes around, many companies are already packing up their stand and preparing to head home. When scheduling fixed meetings, keep the floor plan at hand to avoid booking consecutive meetings at opposite ends of the venue. This will ensure you can walk calmly between stands and don’t arrive at an important meeting feeling flustered! Look for panels and seminars which address the specific needs of your project, or which will contribute to your professional growth 5. Make time for learning If you’re on a mission to expand your knowledge in a given area, check the event guide beforehand to note any education sessions you may want to attend. Look for panels and seminars which address the specific needs of your project, or which will contribute to your professional growth. This is one of the best opportunities you will have to learn from industry leaders in the field. Be sure to plan your attendance in advance so you can schedule the rest of your day accordingly. 6. Keep a record Armed with your objectives and list of questions, you will want to make a note of exhibitors’ responses to help you come to an informed decision. If you’re relying on an electronic device such as a smartphone or tablet to take notes, you may like to consider bringing a back-up notepad and pen, so you can continue to take notes if your battery fails. Your record does not have to be confined to written bullet points. Photos and videos are great tools remind you what you saw at the show, and they may pick up details that you weren’t able to describe in your notes. Most mobile devices can take photos – and images don’t need to be high quality if they’re just to refresh your memory. 7. Network – but don’t let small talk rule the day It may be tempting to take advantage of this time away from the office to talk about anything but business! While small talk can be helpful for building strong professional relationships, remember to keep your list of questions at hand so you can always bring conversations back to your key objectives. Keeping these goals in mind will also help you avoid being swayed by any unhelpful marketing-speak. It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to exchange business cards with everyone you speak to, or even take the opportunity to connect via LinkedIn. Even if something doesn’t seem relevant now, these contacts may be useful in future. Have a dedicated section in your bag or briefcase for business cards to avoid rummaging around. With your most important conversations planned carefully, there should be time left to explore the show more freely 8. Schedule time for wandering With your most important conversations planned carefully, there should be time left to explore the show more freely. Allowing dedicated time to wander will give you a welcome break from more pressing conversations, and may throw up a welcome surprise in the form of a smaller company or new technology you weren’t aware of.  Security trade fair checklist: Photo identification: As well as your event pass, some events require photo identification for entry. Notebook and pen: By writing as you go, you will be able to compare notes at the end of the day. Mobile device: Photos and videos are great tools to remind you what you saw at the show, and may pick up details you missed in your notes. Paper schedule & floor plan: In case batteries or network service fail. Business cards: Have a dedicated pouch or pocket for these to avoid rummaging at the bottom of a bag. Comfortable shoes: If you’re spending a whole day at an event, and plan on visiting multiple booths, comfortable shoes are a must!

How artificial intelligence (AI) is changing video surveillance today
How artificial intelligence (AI) is changing video surveillance today

There’s a lot of excitement around artificial intelligence (AI) today – and rightly so. AI is shifting the modern landscape of security and surveillance and dramatically changing the way users interact with their security systems. But with all the talk of AI’s potential, you might be wondering: what problems does AI help solve today? The need for AI The fact is, today there are too many cameras and too much recorded video for security operators to keep pace with. On top of that, people have short attention spans. AI is a technology that doesn’t get bored and can analyse more video data than humans ever possibly could.AI is a technology that doesn’t get bored and can analyse more video data than humans ever possibly could It is designed to bring the most important events and insight to users’ attention, freeing them to do what they do best: make critical decisions. There are two areas where AI can have a significant impact on video surveillance today: search and focus of attention. Faster search Imagine using the internet today without a search engine. You would have to search through one webpage at a time, combing through all its contents, line-by-line, to hopefully find what you’re looking for. That is what most video surveillance search is like today: security operators scan hours of video from one camera at a time in the hope that they’ll find the critical event they need to investigate further. That’s where artificial intelligence comes in. The ability of AI to reduce hours of work to mere minutes is especially significant when we think about the gradual decline in human attention spans With AI, companies such as Avigilon are developing technologies that are designed to make video search as easy as searching the internet. Tools like Avigilon Appearance Search™ technology – a sophisticated deep learning AI video search engine – help operators quickly locate a specific person or vehicle of interest across all cameras within a site. When a security operator is provided with physical descriptions of a person involved in an event, this technology allows them to initiate a search by simply selecting certain descriptors, such as gender or clothing colour. During critical investigations, such as in the case of a missing or suspicious person, this technology is particularly helpful as it can use those descriptions to search for a person and, within seconds, find them across an entire site. Focused attention           The ability of AI to reduce hours of work to mere minutes is especially significant when we think about the gradual decline in human attention spans. Consider all the information a person is presented with on a given day. They don’t necessarily pay attention to everything because most of that information is irrelevant. Instead, they prioritise what is and is not important, often focusing only on information or events that are surprising or unusual. Security operators scan hours of video from one camera at a time in the hope that they’ll find the critical event they need to investigate further Now, consider how much information a security operator who watches tens, if not hundreds or thousands of surveillance cameras, is presented with daily. After just twenty minutes, their attention span significantly decreases, meaning most of that video is never watched and critical information may go undetected. By taking over the task of "watching" security video, AI technology can help focus operators’ attention on events that may need further investigation. As AI technology evolves, the rich metadata captured in surveillance video will add even more relevance to what operators are seeing For instance, technology like Avigilon™ Unusual Motion (UMD) uses AI to continuously learn what typical activity in a scene looks like and then detect and flag unusual events, adding a new level of automation to surveillance. This helps save time during an investigation by allowing operators to quickly search through large amounts of recorded video faster, automatically focusing their attention on the atypical events that may need further investigation, enabling them to more effectively answer the critical questions of who, what, where and when. As AI technology evolves, the rich metadata captured in surveillance video – like clothing colour, age or gender – will add even more relevance to what operators are seeing. This means that in addition to detecting unusual activities based on motion, this technology has the potential to guide operators’ attention to other “unusual” data that will help them more accurately verify and respond to a security event. The key to advanced security When integrated throughout a security system, AI technology has the potential to dramatically change security operations There’s no denying it, the role of AI in security today is transformative. AI-powered video management software is helping to reduce the amount of time spent on surveillance, making security operators more efficient and effective at their jobs. By removing the need to constantly watch video screens and automating the “detection” function of surveillance, AI technology allows operators to focus on what they do best: verifying and acting on critical events. This not only expedites forensic investigations but enables real-time event response, as well. When integrated throughout a security system, AI technology has the potential to dramatically change security operations. Just as high-definition imaging has become a quintessential feature of today’s surveillance cameras, the tremendous value of AI technology has positioned it as a core component of security systems today, and in the future.

How to move from crisis response to crisis management
How to move from crisis response to crisis management

Governments and corporations face crisis events every day. An active shooter terrorises a campus. A cyber extortionist holds a city for ransom. A hurricane washes away a key manufacturing facility. Not all critical events rise to the level of these catastrophic emergencies, but a late or inadequate response to even a minor incident can put people, operations and reputations at risk. Effective response plan In 2015, for example, the City of Boston experienced several record-breaking snowstorms that forced the city to close the subway system for three days. The extreme decision cost the state $265 million per day and was largely attributed to a lack of preparation and an inadequate response plan by the transportation department. The reputation of the head of the transportation department was so damaged by the decision she was forced to resign. Being able to better predict how the storms would impact the subway system’s aging infrastructure – and having a more effective response plan in place – could have saved the state hundreds of millions of dollars (not to mention the transit chief’s job). A comprehensive critical event management strategy begins before the impact of an event is felt and continues after the immediate crisis has ended. This full lifecycle strategy can be broken into four distinct phases – Assess, Locate, Act and Analyse. Assessing threats for prevention Security teams might have complained about not having enough intelligence data to make accurate predictionsIdentifying a threat before it reaches critical mass and understanding how it might impact vital assets is the most difficult challenge facing security professionals. In the past, security teams might have complained about not having enough intelligence data to make accurate predictions. Today, the exact opposite might be true – there is too much data! With crime and incident data coming from law enforcement agencies, photos and videos coming from people on the front line, topics trending on social media and logistical information originating from internal systems it can be almost impossible to locate a real signal among all the noise and chatter. Being able to easily visualise all this intelligence data within the context of an organisation’s assets is vital to understand the relationship between threat data and the individuals or facilities in harm’s way. Social media monitoring Free tools like Google Maps or satellite imagery from organisations like AccuWeather, for example, can help understand how fast a storm is closing in on a manufacturing facility, or how close an active shooter is to a school. Their usefulness, however, is limited to a few event types and they provide only a very macro view of the crisis.Data from building access systems, wifi hotspots, corporate travel systems, among others, can be used to create a profile Critical event management (CEM) platforms, however, are designed specifically to manage critical events of all types and provide much greater visibility. Internal and external data sources (weather, local and national emergency management, social media monitoring software, security cameras, etc.) are integrated into these platforms and their data is visualised on a threat map. Security teams can quickly see if there are actual threats to the organisations or communities they are protecting and don’t lose time trying to make sense of intelligence reports. The more they can see on a ‘single pane of glass,’ the faster they can initiate the appropriate response. Locating a threat Once a threat has been deemed a critical event, the next step is to find the people who might be impacted – employees/residents in danger, first responders and key stakeholders (e.g., senior executives or elected officials who need status updates). Often, this requires someone on the security team to access an HR contact database and initiate a call tree to contact each person individually, in a specific hierarchical order. This can be a time-consuming and opaque process. There is no information on the proximity of that person to the critical event, or if a person has skills such as CPR that could aid in the response. Ensuring ahead of time that certifications, skill sets, or on-call availability is included with contact information can save valuable time in the middle of a crisis response. Going even further, data from building access systems, wifi hotspots, corporate travel systems, among others, can be used to create a profile of where a person just was and where he or she might be going in a CEM platform. This information can be visualised on the threat map and help determine who is actually in danger and who can respond the fastest. The emergency response then becomes targeted and more effective. Security teams can quickly see if there are actual threats to the organisations or communities they are protecting Acting and automating The third step is to act and automate processes. If there is a tornado closing in on a town, for example, residents should not have to wait for manual intervention before a siren is activated or a message sent out. Organisations can build and execute their standing operating procedures (SOPs) fully within a CEM platform. Sirens, alarms, digital signs and messages can all be automatically activated based on event type, severity and location. Using the tornado example, an integration with a weather forecasting service could trigger the command to issue a tornado warning for a specific community if it is in the path of the storm. Summon security guards Warning messages can be prepared in advance based on event type so there is no chance of issuing a misleading or unclear alert Warning messages can be prepared in advance based on event type so there is no chance of issuing a misleading or unclear alert. All communications with impacted individuals can be centralised within the platform and automated based on SOP protocols. This also includes inbound communications from first responders and impacted individuals. An employee confronted by an assailant in a parking garage could initiate an SOS alert from his or her mobile phone that would automatically summon security guards to the scene. Conference lines can also be instantly created to enable collaboration and speed response time. Additionally, escalation policies are automatically engaged if a protocol is broken. For example, during an IT outage, if the primary network engineer does not respond in two minutes, a designated backup is automatically summoned. Eliminating manual steps from SOPs reduces the chance for human error and increases the speed and effectiveness of critical event responses. Analysis of a threat Looking for ways to better prepare and respond to critical events will not only improve performance when similar events occur again It’s not uncommon for security and response teams to think that a critical event is over once the immediate crisis has ended. After all, they are often the ones pushing themselves to exhaustion and sometimes risking life and limb to protect their neighbours, colleagues, community reputations and company brands. They need and deserve a rest. In the aftermath of a critical event, however, it’s important to review the effectiveness of the response and look for ways to drive improvements. Which tasks took too long? What resources were missing? How many times did people respond quickly? With a CEM platform, team performance, operational response, benchmarking data and notification analysis are all captured within the system and are available in a configurable dashboard or in after-action reports for analysis. Continuously looking for ways to better prepare and respond to critical events will not only improve performance when similar events occur again, but it will also improve response effectiveness when unforeseen events strike. Coordinate emergency response Virtually every organisation has some form of response plan to triage a critical event and restore community order or business operations. While many of these plans are highly effective in providing a structure to command and coordinate emergency response, they are reactive in nature and don’t account for the full lifecycle of a critical event – Assess, Locate, Act and Analyse. Whether it’s a large-scale regional emergency or a daily operational issue such as an IT outage, a comprehensive critical event management strategy will minimise the impact by improving visibility, collaboration and response.