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Electronic Security Systems, 2d ed.

Electronic Security Systems, Second Edition

Author: Philip Walker Publisher: Butterworths, Stoneham, MA, 1988; 287 pages, hardback: $29.95 Reviewer: Charli Feld, National Account Manager, Arrowhead Technologies, Medway, MA; Member of the ASIS Standing Committee on Physical Security I have just completed Electronic Security Systems by Philip Walker. The subtitle to the book is "Better Ways to Crime Prevention"--the prime objective of the book. Walker has given the security industry a book that offers a broad overview of available security systems and identifies the positive and negative aspects of these systems. The most important feature of this book, however, is the challenge posed to the reader to think about what he or she is trying to accomplish as a security professional.

The book emphasizes the importance of establishing a working relationship between the security installation company and the subscriber. It serves no purpose to design a security system that does not fit the daily operations of the subscriber. The company must understand what the subscriber is trying to accomplish with the proposed security system.

The following are a few of the many questions that need to be addressed to design a functional security system:

* Is there a second shift?

* Are there restricted areas?

* When do maintenance personnel enter the premises?

* Does maintenance have access to all or specific areas?

A recurring theme throughout the book is the dual question concept: Does it work, and can it be made not to work? This concept becomes vital for the security system designer in determining if the system accomplishes its objective.

The security problem can only be identified through a thorough risk and threat assessment of the premises. In the past, intrusion was more likely to occur after business hours. Today, daytime attacks are increasing and therefore present new problems that need to be addressed. More emphasis needs to be placed on prevention and deterrence since a daytime attack endangers lives.

Walker is an extremely knowledgeable person. He uses excellent analogies in explaining the operation of various electronic security equipment in a layperson's terms.

Although it refers to some American manufacturers and practices, the book is heavily geared toward the European market. Unfortunately, some readers may be confused with some of the terminology used if they are unfamiliar with European terms.

Although there is a section dedicated to the transmission of alarm signals, it does not offer information on US technology. Automatic telephone dialing systems are systems of the past; however, the use of digital dialers has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, the book contains no information on how they function, what the cost factors are, or what the level of security is. Nor is there coverage on derived channel or the use of radio frequency as a means of transmission. Due to the wide use of these methods of transmission, they certainly should have been covered.

In the section on control panels, I found no mention of downloading or uploading. Perhaps this technology is not widely used in Europe, but it is certainly on the increase in the United States and should have been covered. Point identification systems should have been covered too, since Walker places such emphasis on reducing false alarms and being able to expand troubleshooting capabilities.

While Walker does not include some of the new technologies available, he has done a fine job in making the reader think. He drives the point home that electronics is an aid and not a replacement for people. His thorough discussion regarding the end user enables the security system designer to understand better the world beyond the security system. His theory of security being intangible supports the necessity of supportive documentation by the security company as a means of making the decision maker think and be aware of security.

Although this book is geared toward the security system designer, it makes an excellent reference book for sales personnel and security managers. Walker has taken great pains to organize Electronic Security Systems so it is easy to read from cover to cover or to use as a reference. The book offers supportive documentation with graphs, drawings, and photos.

I recommend this book despite the drawbacks mentioned earlier. It certainly promotes creative thinking and stresses an important lesson: Security is a partnership, which requires give-and-take as well as understanding on the part of the subscriber and the security installation company. If the reader learns nothing else but this then Walker has achieved his goal of increasing the security industry's professionalism.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Feld, Charli
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 1, 1989
Words:743
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