“Security Done Quickly is Ugly”

In Business in Vancouver a few weeks ago, I was quoted in an article about security concerns for Olympic sponsors… in light of recent vandalism to a few RBC branches.

Here is an excerpt from the BIV column…

Olympic anarchy

Safety and security ought to be top-of-mind for the Royal Bank of
Canada after vandals destroyed windows at two branches and bragged on
blogs. All because of RBC’s $110 million cash and services sponsorship
of VANOC. Anonymous anarchists struck at Hastings and Nanaimo on
September 29 and Commercial and First on December 8. It’s perhaps the
most public evidence of anti-2010 sentiment since March’s Olympic flag
theft from city hall.

“From the beginning there has always been more opposition to the
Games than before, and I take that as a measure of the politics of
B.C.,” said Kevin Wamsley of the University of Western Ontario’s
International Centre for Olympic Studies.

RBC confirmed the incidents, but wouldn’t discuss safety and security measures.

Provident Security’s Michael Jagger said businesses can battle
vandals with shatter-resistant safety film, laminated glass and motion
sensitive surveillance cameras. Video systems can be programmed to
detect unusual behaviour, such as loitering. That would trigger an
alarm for a security staffer to investigate.

Companies needn’t wave the white flag and opt for unsightly bars or
garage door-style shutters. “Security done quickly is ugly,” Jagger

While it is unfortunate that these types of incidents happen at all, I think that the response to them is often worse. Although there are some creative examples of security bars installed at some retail stores, the overwhelming majority of security efforts such as bars, roll shutters and bollards are really ugly.

Unfortunately, security is typically an afterthought… it is rarely built into the design of most people’s homes or businesses while the designs are still on paper. Most often, increased security, whether it is an alarm or any physical security device, is implemented in a mad panic immediately after a burglary or incident. As a result, security done quickly is often incredibly ugly.

The reality is that while architects, designers and builders often spend hours on almost every other physical design aspect of a project, security is very often left until after the last minute… often resulting in unnecessary ugliness.

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