Define. Plan. Train. - Part 5 of 7

Nov. 15, 2001
Safety & Security Special Report

7. Do and Redo:
Direct a Security Audit

There are many steps a facilities professional can take to safeguard a property. One of your strongest tools, however, is to do a security audit. Start by creating a checklist; then refine through building changes, both structural- and tenant-related.

Doors, Windows, and Other Openings

· Confirm each door/window has working locks.
· Confirm locking devices are modern and appropriate.
· Check door/window frames for looseness and rotting.
· Install burglar-resistant glass.
· Do not heavily screen or bar low windows unless an emergency release mechanism is also installed.
· If appropriate, wire windows/doors for alarms if broken or forced open.
· If appropriate, use unobstructed, shatterproof glass on entrance doors.
· Install hinges on the inside of exterior doors.
· Secure all building openings, such as air ducts, skylights, etc.


· Ensure alleys, loading docks, and other isolated exterior areas are well-lit.
· Leave night lights on throughout a property.
· Protect lamps with shatter-proof lenses or recess lighting to prevent vandalism.

Access Security

· Use codes for labeling.
· Keep accurate records of people with keys or cardkeys.
· Limit distribution: Have one or two individual in charge of distributing, collecting, and keeping keys/cardkeys.
· Collect keys from terminated or transferring employees.
· Mark all keys "Do not duplicate" to avoid a locksmith making copies.
· Change locks, combinations, codes periodically.


· Don't allow landscaping to provide hiding places for would-be thieves/assailants.
· Keep all shrubbery pruned and even.
· Keep ladders and other tools locked up.
· Clear property of all debris.

Alarm, Intercom, and CCTV

· Check all alarm systems regularly.
· Post prominent notices of alarm systems as a deterrent.
· Regularly test building intercom systems to ensure connection is clear.
· Furnish all stairwell doors with alarms.
· If appropriate, install visitor call phones, gate houses, doormen, CCTV, etc.
· Monitor remote and little-used entryways by CCTV, where appropriate.


· Program elevators to stop at the lobby level before going down to or after coming up from the basement.
· Investigate mirrored walls in elevator cabs so people can see the entire interior before entering.
· Program elevators to bypass uninhabited floors.
· Connect elevator stop buttons to an alarm bell and security station.
· Install 24-hour monitored phones in elevators.

Employee and Visitor Identification

· Establish a system of employee/visitor ID badges or building passes when lobby security is present.
· Establish a system of employee sign-in and sign-out sheets for after-hours.
· Establish an authorization system for removing property from the building.
· Insist on identification from all visitors.
· Develop a procedure where all visitors check in with a security guard to state the nature of their business on the property.


· Lock workstations.
· Encourage staff and occupants to report suspicious-looking persons.
· Control access to the building.
· Paint floor numbers boldly on stair side of hall exit doors.
· Keep inventory records of equipment/possessions, including a description, serial numbers, and identifying marks.
· Avoid painting a property in dark colors.
· Post emergency numbers for staff and occupants.
· Keep limited amounts of cash on the premises. Alter trips to the bank (for deposits) so they are not predictable to observers.
· Prosecute all offenders.
· Communicate with tenants, staff, and contractors that an offender was prosecuted.

SOURCE: Before Disaster Strikes: Developing an Emergency Procedures Manual, Institute of Real Estate Management (

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