The CBC ran a story today titled ‘Vancouver Police seek easier access to condos‘ about a new Vancouver Police initiative called Project Access. The project is aimed at addressing the increasingly large problem of the Police being unable to access secured condos and apartment buildings.
The VPD suggestion calls for construction companies and strata councils to install a lockbox, which would be accessible by the VPD Sergeant on duty. Inside the tube would be a full access key fob or card.
The fact that the Police cannot quickly access a building in an emergency is clearly a huge problem… and is only going to get worse. However, I would strongly recommend AGAINST any building using any type of lockbox. The Fire Department has used lockboxes for years, and theft from these boxes has always been a major concern. Irrespective of construction, and even if the box itself is monitored as a part of the alarm system, an external lockbox presents an unnecessary risk to condo owners.
If the lockbox gets broken into, a thief can gain full access to the building.
As I pointed out in a post a while back called The Police can’t help if they can’t get in, as well as featured in a recent Vancouver Sun article, we provide a service that effectively solves this problem without creating any unnecessary security risks (such as those created by using a lockbox).
For buildings throughout Vancouver as well as in Seattle, Calgary, Toronto and many other cities in between, we provide remote access control system management. Essentially, the way this service works is that rather than an access control system’s database being held on a PC located at the client site (which in itself is a huge security risk) we move the database onto a secured server located in our 24/7 Operations Centre here in Kerrisdale.
Using either dial-up or broadband connections, we remotely manage the database, including adding, modifying or deleting users as well as make regular back-ups. In the event that the Police or any other emergency service provider might need access to a building that we manage, our number is on every door as well as accessible by pressing the ‘security’ button on the intercom. In a matter of seconds, we can talk to the Police on site, verify their identity, view them live on camera as well as remotely unlock the front door and control the elevator for them.
The fewer key fobs/cards in circulation, the better. Even more important, each and every keyfob must be assigned to a single person to maximize accountability. Remote access control system management maximizes the effectiveness of any building’s system and ensures that the fewest possible ‘holes’ in security exist.