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Welcome to fabulous ... is that a Pelco camera?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I've been shipping our August issue the past few days and have fallen behind on my blogging. Imagine my surprise when I checked out my news alerts today and saw that the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was vandalized. Who the heck would do that?

Well this article has informed me that the sign is back to being as good as new. I'm breathing a sigh of relief.

There's some talk about adding a camera to watch over the sign, but officials are afraid the aesthetics of the sign outweigh the need for security.

Because Young Electric Sign Company owns just the sign, it would have to either mount a camera to it, or get permission from the county to put surveillance cameras nearby — one option would be unattractive, Clark said, and the other expensive and unnecessary, given the sign’s otherwise unblemished history.
County public works spokesman Davis agrees: “So far, (the graffiti) doesn’t justify it — not for one instance.”

I think a trip to Vegas is needed to effectively assess the sign's security needs. I hereby volunteer.

Let's stereotype like its 1984

Friday, July 10, 2009

Got my July Security Management yesterday.


Same illustrator as this one?

Is it just me, or are these stereotypes so 1984?

I was only resting my eyes

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Did you see this?

Plainclothes investigators sent to test security at federal buildings in four U.S. cities were successful in smuggling bomb components through guard posts at all 10 of the sites they visited, according to a government report.

And this is the picture CNN ran with the story:

Here's more:

The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, conducted the tests to check on the effectiveness of the Federal Protective Service .The FPS protects federal buildings by having about 1,200 federal law enforcement officers oversee an army of 13,000 private security guards.

The GAO also released a photograph of a guard asleep at his post and detailed an instance in which a woman placed an infant in a carrier on an X-ray machine while retrieving identification. Because the guard was not paying attention and the machine's safety features had been disabled, the infant was sent through the X-ray machine, according to the report.

The FPS dismissed the guard, who, as a result, sued the agency for failing to provide X-ray training. FPS lost the suit because it could not prove that the guard had been trained, the report says.

All of the buildings involved in the test were "Level IV" buildings, meaning they housed more than 450 federal employees and have a high volume of public contact. The GAO has declined to identify the specific buildings "because of the sensitivity of some of the information in our report," the report says.

Is this a training problem, a job hazard or a contract guard issue? You can read the full article here. Would love to hear your thoughts. (Comment field is below. I know you want to click on it. Go ahead, it won't bite.)

I bet he wished he had taken some Vivarin or had about 10 cups of coffee.

Turn up the heat

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It only reached 60 degrees yesterday in Maine, the coldest high temperature ever recorded for that date, and while we could definitely use some heat around here, there's been some serious heat on security in the news as of late (wow, that was quite a stretch, even for me).

Anyway, an article in USA Today reports that the Government Accountability Office will testify to members of the Senate today that undercover agents were able to sneak bombs and detonators into federal buildings undetected. While the GAO did not disclose what federal buildings were breached, the article does say that those buildings were occupied by Homeland Security, Justice and State departments.

Investigators for Congress' Government Accountability Office said they succeeded on each of 10 attempts in April and May to enter federal office buildings with a hidden liquid explosive and detonator. Inside the buildings, investigators assembled the bombs, carried them in a briefcase and "walked freely around several floors," according to a statement the GAO will make at a Senate hearing Wednesday morning.

In a similar vein, the New York Police Department published a report advising managers and developers of high-profile buildings to take more steps to guard against attacks. The 130-page report provides security recommendations for owners, including guidelines on how to improve perimeter security and access control.

I had a very interesting conversation a few days ago with Amotz Brandes, managing partner with Chameleon Associates, an Israeli-based company that specializes in profiling tactics and training. Brandes said that while technology plays an important role in security, it will never be able to replace the human element of security, which is the ability to evaluate a situation. Profiling, generally, includes questioning and engaging individuals, recognizing suspicion and, once suspicion is aroused, attempting to refute it. While terrorists can be taught how to get around technology (like sneaking liquid explosives into federal buildings), it is very difficult to train someone not to look or act suspicious.

However, one good thing from the GAO's report is that security is finally being tested. Brandes said that when he worked for the Israeli security department they were 'red teamed' or tested constantly. Whereas, he said in the U.S., if a TSA officer comes across a security breach, it will likely be the first time he or she has ever encountered such a thing. Testing people, and holding them accountable for successes and failures, is critical to bringing more awareness into security.

The usual suspects

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Police in Washington have released surveillance footage from an attempted robbery at an Apple store. One employee was shot and wounded during the incident, which happened in a back room while shoppers and other employees were wandering through the store. Police are hoping releasing the video will lead to information on the suspect who is still at large.

Would you or have you publicly released surveillance video in the past? Has it helped gather information for an investigation?

MJM update

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

CNN is reporting no incidents at the Michael Jackson memorial today. The event just wrapped up. Initial estimates show that 50,000 people were gathered for the service.

Hats off to the local police and the Staples Center/L.A. Live security team.

UPDATE: CNN via is reporting that the number of police officers staffed around Staples Center is estimated at 3,200. The cost to the city of Los Angeles is estimated at $3.5 million.

Show some respect

Monday, July 6, 2009

Regardless of AEG and L.A.'s efforts to control tickets to Michael Jackson's memorial service tomorrow, some creepy people are trying to make a quick buck on eBay.

UPDATE: Craigslist seems to be on top of removing memorial ticket postings. I did just see an ad posted a few minutes ago that asked women 18 and over to submit a photo of themselves along with a description of what they would do to attend the memorial, and the seller will chose a winner at 5 p.m. today. Classy.

Come on in!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I am very excited to announce that we have opened the gate.

OK, I'll be more specific. Much of our online content was only accessible if you registered for access to the site. Now, that pesky registration page (I know many of you had trouble with it) is gone.

Starting today you can access all of our stellar content without having to figure out if you are a print or web-only subscriber. You can access the commercial/enterprise, retail/hospitality and public sector sections! You can look at back issues! Isn't this the most exciting thing to happen on a Monday in a long time?

I must admit that this is only temporary as we investigate what should be freely available and what should be locked in some dark quarters for special (possibly paid) viewings.

So enjoy the access, for now.

Celebrate safely

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Well, I'm gearing up to head home to Vermont for the holiday weekend, but before I go, here are some tips on how you too can enjoy a safe Fourth of July. Actually, I'll let my cousin Ed do the 'splainin, he's much more entertaining than I am. Enjoy!

Campus security caught cheating

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This isn't a campus safety story you read every day. Dominican College, in Orangeburg, N.Y., will have to pay the state $20,000 as well as reform its crime reporting policies as part of a settlement made with the state attorney general's office on June 12, according to this article. The college was being investigated for falsely reporting crime statistics on campus and the state revealed three consecutive school years where the crime statistics published in the student handbook did not match records filed with the Department of Education. Basically the school was lying to its student body (along with their parents) and underreporting crime stats to make it appear more safe. Grade: F-