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One by land, two by air.

FROM AN OPERATIONAL standpoint, securing the outdoor perimeter of complicated environments such as land transportation sites near distribution facilities and airports pose many obstacles to the accurate detection and assessment of security breaches. Read below about the challenges presented at these sites and the available alternatives that can make the job more manageable.

Land Transportation

Land transportation security issues have an impact on many industries, from manufacturers and producers of consumer goods to utility companies. These industries have similar problems concerning the security of vehicles in their transportation and service fleets. Collectively, these industries lose millions of dollars every year from vandalism done to parked vehicles and theft of vehicle contents. In addition, distribution centers, which are frequently adjacent to parking areas, are also targeted.

No consistent approach has been taken to protect distribution centers, transportation and service vehicles, or their contents. Typically, security officers are hired to patrol parking areas or monitor surveillance systems, such as CCTV. For deterrence, empty camera housings are sometimes employed, often in combination with patrols. To complicate the picture, distribution centers are frequently protected separately by interior motion sensors, such as passive infrared, or by door-entry systems. Over the years, problems with these approaches have become apparent. For example, security officers have become costly. In addition, the effectiveness of post-mounted systems is limited because vehicles cannot be parked between the posts without braking the beam and setting off the alarm.

Using two or three types of security systems to cover the distribution center, parked vehicles, and the loading dock results in the proliferation of detection and assessment monitors, the need for more security officers or monitoring personnel, and, ultimately, higher costs.

Effectively addressing these problems requires a security system that has a proven high probability-of-detection rate and is cost-effective. The technology involved must not interfere with the movement of vehicles, be adaptable to a wide range of site sizes and configurations, and be covert and unobtrusive. Many companies looking for such a solution have turned to outdoor perimeter security systems that use buried-line sensor technology for effective protection of their land transportation and service vehicles and associated buildings and equipment.

A buried-line system consists of two parallel sensor cables buried around or across the secured area and connected to an electronics unit that generates a radio-frequency signal. This signal runs through the transmit cable, radiates out through the burial medium, and is detected by the receiving cable. When an object with a large conductive cross section or mass (that is, humans or metallic objects) enters the field, the signal is changed and an alarm is generated.

This design has given buried-line sensor systems a flexibility and adaptability that makes them effective in a variety of security situations. These situations include those presented by sites where land transportation and service vehicles must be protected from vandalism and theft, whether they are parked in remote locations or adjacent to distribution centers.

Adaptability is critical to any system protecting land transportation sites because such sites vary greatly in terms of layout, the need to secure distribution and other buildings on the site, and existing protection systems.

The adaptability of buried-line sensors has been demonstrated by their use at remote and nonremote sites; in linear, circular, and loop configurations; to protect parked vehicles alone; to secure parked vehicles and buildings together; and in combination with microwave, interior motion, door-entry, and other types of security systems.

In the case of these systems, "perimeter" does not refer exclusively to the outermost boundary surrounding an installation. It often refers to the demarcation, by the buried-line sensors, of the secured from the unsecured area of the site.

In a linear configuration (Exhibit 1), buried-line sensor systems protect trailer trucks and their contents when these vehicles are parked on top of the buried-line sensors. With the back door of each trailer in the detection zone, anyone breaking into the trailer from the rear sets off an alarm.

The vehicles in exhibit 1 are parked close to the distribution center, which is separately protected by interior motion and door-entry systems. These systems are integrated, along with the buried-line system, into a single display and monitoring terminal located in the distribution center.

The advantage of buried-line sensor technology in this situation is that it is covert and unobtrusive. The buried-line sensors are embedded 1 1/2 inches into the concrete or asphalt surface and, therefore, intruders are detected without ever being aware that there is a security system in place.

A typical loop configuration (Exhibit 2) involves placing the buried line 8 feet inside a fenced perimeter, running in a loop from one side of the loading dock out around the parked vehicles and back to the other side of the loading dock.

This configuration has a dual purpose: It protects the vehicles parked inside the perimeter as well as the loading dock area from intruders. Four security systems coexist at this site: the buried-line system, a fenced perimeter, a door-entry system at the loading dock, and interior motion sensors inside the distribution center. In this case, the buried-line system was added to the existing security arrangements to provide enhanced security.

Because they are so flexible and extendable, buried-line sensor systems can be effective in protecting entire buildings as well as the vehicles at a site.

In Exhibit 3, the system is configured in a circle to surround the central building and the company's service vans are parked on top of the buried-line sensors. This configuration not only protects the vehicles from theft and vandalism but also provides an early intruder detection system for the buildings on this remote site.

When an intruder enters the secured area, an alarm is set off as he or she crosses the buried-line sensors--before reaching the building. If the building were only protected by an interior system, an alarm would not be sounded until a door or window had been broken by an intruder.

The early detection provided by buried-line sensor systems is particularly important for remote sites because security officers must generally respond to an alarm from a great distance. Early warning gives them more time to assess and respond to an alarm, thereby improving the chances of apprehending an intruder before property is lost or damaged.

Protecting these sites also requires reliable, all-weather systems with low nuisance and false alarm rates. Remote facilities are generally located in open areas where vegetation or animals and birds can generate erroneous alarms that require costly responses and can ultimately reduce confidence in the system.

Buried-line sensor systems have a low rate of environment-related alarms and function well in outdoor conditions that include temperature extremes, rain, snow, and ice.

In the above examples, the overall effectiveness of the security system depends on the degree to which it integrates diverse detection and assessment technologies. The heart of this integration is the display and control system, which provides the key to successfully managing the growing number of technologies employed to protect land transportation sites.

To date, most sites have used separate monitors for each type of security system--whether CCTV, interior intrusion, door-entry, or outdoor perimeter. However, as the number of monitors increase and as the presentation of detection data becomes more complicated, it becomes more difficult for monitoring personnel and security officers to respond effectively to breaches of the secured perimeter.

Thus, it is important for those responsible for the security of these sites to look at systems and technologies that lend themselves to integration so that a quicker, more accurate assessment of and response to alarms can be achieved.

Air Transportation

Airport security in the '90s is becoming a highly sophisticated endeavor, requiring security technologies such as access control, video intrusion detection, microwave, infrared, and buried-line sensor. In addition, airport operators, general aviation companies (companies servicing or running small planes and not associated with commercial airlines), and fixed-base operators have federally mandated security requirements, as well as interlocking security concerns.

In the past, airport operators have opted primarily for door-entry and access control systems to secure facilities. Due to current and anticipated government regulations, however, a rapidly growing interest has evolved in outdoor perimeter security systems, particularly in those systems using buried-line sensor technology.

From an operational standpoint, an airport is a particularly complicated environment that poses many obstacles to the quick and accurate detection and assessment of security breaches. Challenges presented by these sites dictate that any outdoor perimeter system must meet certain criteria to be effective. A system must have the following characteristics:

Unobtrusive. Federal regulations require that the secured area, which generally includes the working ramp area (WRA) where aircraft are parked and serviced, be protected from unauthorized intrusion from adjacent areas of the airport. This is a daunting task, because airport traffic--including people, vehicles, and aircraft--typically flows in large volumes to and from the runways, across taxiways, and into and out of the WRA next to the terminal.

To meet mandated security requirements in this complex environment, an outdoor perimeter system must screen traffic moving through the area but not obstruct the flow of people, vehicles, and aircraft. Thus, it must be unobtrusive to be effective.

Resistant to electronic interference. Airports are full of powerful communications and navigation equipment, including ground and aircraft radar and radio communications that may interfere with security systems. To be effective, a system must be impervious to that interference.

Weatherproof. Since many of an airport's security requirements center on large outdoor areas such as ramps and taxiways, any security system must be functional in an exterior environment that includes temperature extremes, rain, snow, and ice. The best systems are those with a low rate of environment-related alarms.

Low nuisance and false alarm rates. Jet blast and other high-wind conditions churn up debris and create seismic conditions and vegetation movement that can interfere with an outdoor security system. In addition, airports are subject to intrusion by animals and birds.

In such an open environment, it is important to have a security system that has a low nuisance and false alarm rate. These erroneous alarms require costly responses and can ultimately reduce confidence in a system's performance.

Reliable. System reliability is extremely important because airport security systems must protect the lives of millions of passengers and crew members and millions of dollars worth of equipment daily.

Adaptable. Many nonlinear zones are found in an airport's secured area. In addition, in certain areas it is desirable to be able to discriminate between entering and exiting traffic.

Outdoor perimeter security systems must be adaptable to accommodate, for example, installations that require a large protective perimeter around all the buildings and taxiways in a commercial WRA or those sites requiring a linear configuration to separate the commercial WRA from the tenants' side of the airport.

Given these requirements, buried-line sensor technology is an important option for airports. This technology generates an electromagnetic field above and below the ground that detects intruders moving through the field.

As with the example of land transportation sites, "perimeter" does not refer exclusively to the outermost boundary surrounding an installation. It often refers to the demarcation, by the buried-line sensors, of the secured from the unsecured area.

Buried-line sensor systems, because of this flexible design, are effective in a variety of configurations that include across taxiways, around parking areas or ramps, around or inside hangars, between airport tenants and commercial operations, around individual aircraft, and across gates entering the airport.

In a conventional configuration, for example, a buried-line system could be used inside a fenced perimeter to protect everything from taxiways to the WRA. The system could be embedded 1 1/2 inches in concrete or asphalt and 9 inches in the soil and be unobtrusive, virtually undetectable, and not easily defeated.

The system, running between the outer taxiways and the runways and moving around to enclose the entire WRA, would generate an alarm in the airport control center whenever an intruder crossed the fence and runways and tried to move into the taxiway area. With such a single-system configuration, an alarm is set off every time a person, vehicle, or aircraft crosses the perimeter line sensors.

At a more complex installation (Exhibit 4), buried-line sensors might be used with another technology, such as a microwave system, to provide two-tiered security that signals the direction of any traffic crossing the perimeter. Here, each taxiway leading to the WRA is protected by two security zones--a 500-ft. length of buried-line sensors and a post-mounted microwave system that runs parallel to it.

If the buried-line system alarm goes off, traffic is moving into the secured area and an alarm sounds in the airport control center. If the microwave system signals first, traffic is exiting and no alarm is generated. This sequential system could also be accomplished using two buried-line sensor segments at each entry point.

In a large airport, the buried-line system must contend with high-powered electronics equipment. It can do so successfully because it does not use a communications band frequency. In fact, these systems, which have a 99 percent probability-of-detection rate, have been effective in protecting parked planes carrying weapons at military installations.

Buried-line sensor systems can also be employed in a simple linear configuration (Exhibit 5) to separate airport tenants from the commercial side of the airport as mandated by federal regulations. More frequently, airport operators are giving general aviation companies and fixed-base operators the responsibility for installing and monitoring these security systems.

In this example, neither the taxiways nor the runways are included in the secured area. A fence is used in combination with the buried-line sensors to create a system that provides electronic barrier protection where traffic is not allowed to cross but accommodates traffic flow where necessary. Because it is unobtrusive, buried-line sensor technology couples highly reliable protection with the flexibility that allows traffic to flow where needed.

Within the general aviation area itself, security concerns center on the theft of cargo and aviation equipment. In recent years, "fly-in" thieves have become a threat to general aviation companies' business. They fly into the airport, taxi into the tenants' area, and then steal aircraft communications and navigation equipment from parked aircraft.

As a result, these companies are faced with losing clients who are concerned about damage to or loss of their property. To stem this potential loss of clients and to gain new ones, general aviation companies have begun to install high-level security systems such as buried-line sensors. These systems have been used for surveillance for prosecution purposes or for deterrence.

To accomplish surveillance for prosecution, buried-line sensors can be installed across taxiways leading into the general aviation area, so that when an aircraft moves into the secured area, an outdoor camera is triggered that records the ID number on the plane's tail. This information is then given to the Federal Aviation Administration or local police.

Used for deterrence, this same system would attempt to make an intruder turn back by triggering lights and sirens when he or she breaches the security perimeter. Buried-line sensors have also been used to surround aircraft in the general aviation hangar to protect them from theft.

A key to the overall effectiveness of an airport's security system is the degree to which it has integrated diverse detection and assessment technologies. This integration, the heart of which is display and control systems, is critical to managing the increasingly complex airport security systems required to meet future federal regulations. To date, most airport security control centers have not integrated their access control, interior intrusion, and exterior systems--in addition to CCTV and other types of monitors for assessment. With so many monitors to watch and with no orderly or prioritized presentation of detection data, monitoring personnel and security officers are often unable to respond effectively to security system breaches.

There is now, however, a clear movement afoot in the industry to reduce this proliferation of monitors to gain quicker, more accurate assessment of and response to security alarms. This integration can be accomplished either by using a classic systems integrator or by working with a system vendor offering an alarm communications network that integrates separate security monitoring systems.

Another issue likely to face airport operators, general aviation companies, and others concerned with airport security is how to discriminate between legitimate and unauthorized traffic in a high-volume situation so that the system is not in a constant state of alarm. This is particularly important at airports where there are many different types of potential intruders (people, vehicles, and aircraft) that must continually move in and out of a secured area.

One possible solution is the integration of a perimeter system such as buried-line sensors with one that tags or gives a signature to legitimate traffic so it can enter the secured area without setting off an alarm. This can either be independent of the perimeter security system or embedded in it.

However the future plays out, outdoor perimeter security systems using buried-line sensor technology are an important option and should be carefully considered by anyone responsible for airport security. Thus, it is important to look at systems and technologies that lend themselves to integration so that a quicker, more accurate assessment of and response to alarms can be achieved.

When contemplating the installation of any outdoor security system, a thorough check of the vendor's references should be done to verify the effectiveness of the product. These systems are more complex and need more detailed evaluation than systems used in relatively uncomplicated indoor environments because they face far greater challenges to their reliability. A background check is critical.

With the proper outdoor system installed, land transportation site security managers and individuals responsible for airport security will benefit from reduced operational costs; reduced losses due to theft, vandalism, and sabotage; enhanced safety; and reduced liability risks.

Michael A. Backler is senior vice president of US operations for Senator Corporation, a manufacturer of outdoor intrusion detection systems in North Billerica, MA. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Transportation: Perimeter Security; managing security breaches in transportation and distribution facilities
Author:Backler, Michael A.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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