Physical Security Series Part 4: Lobby Security
January 27, 2020
So far, our Physical Security Blog Series has covered perimeter security, garages and parking lots, and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). The next step is directed towards the inside of your building. The lobby separates the public and private areas of your business and there are several actions business owners can take in order to protect their employees, vendors and other visitors from harm.
If your building has one, do not underestimate the importance of the lobby. It’s the gatekeeper to all visitors, expected and unexpected. Ideally, entry to your lobby includes two things: 1) A vestibule with two sets of doors that allow visitors to enter the first door but buzzed in to the second door and 2) A closed environment, meaning visitors have to get through your lobby personnel (or your visitor management system (VMS)) before entering the remainder of the building. Further, employees should come get their guests from the lobby and walk them back out, which is also perceived as very hospitable. In other words, only those with access control cards should come and go as they please and, ideally, they would use a separate entrance to reduce the amount of traffic being managed by your lobby personnel.
The reception desk placement can make a difference (this can also fall under CPTED). You want full visibility for your receptionist to all areas of the lobby and you either want a wide/deep desk that isn’t easily reached across or a glass barrier.
In addition to lobby layout and the standard hospitality duties, your lobby personnel should be properly trained on the following:
- Discreetly keeping a watchful eye on all visitors who enter the building (and knowing who not to let in)
- Thoroughly logging visitors
- Answering phones and handling suspicious callers
- Security procedures
- Bomb threats – click through to the Department of Homeland Security’s bomb threat checklist
- Emergency notifications (panic button)
- Demonstration and protest preparedness
- Active shooters – click through to the Department of Homeland Security’s active shooter preparedness information
- Conflict resolution
It’s a safe bet to expect and be prepared for the worst. Having proper training and procedures in place at the first point of entry will lend well to keeping everyone in the building safe from harm. In addition to the above personnel training list, hiring a security officer makes for a situation most criminals would rather avoid.
The technology used in your lobby can complement your other security measures and go the extra mile. A video intercom system means knowing who is being buzzed in and should always be employed if your lobby personnel cannot clearly see visitors. High def cameras and video surveillance act as a second set of eyes, which is especially useful when things get busy and there’s only one staff member manning the lobby area. Video surveillance analytics can also be useful for knowing how many people are coming and going and when. Motion sensors can be programmed to set off an alarm based on the events of your choosing. And, as previously discussed, having a call button is another form of protection that can be employed in the lobby of most any business.
We highly recommend hiring a professional to assess your lobby and any procedures you have in place. A strong assessment looks at your historical data, industry best practices and currently available technology to define areas of weakness and develop a lobby security plan specific to your needs and budget. Contact us at (800) 473-7627 or go online to schedule your free lobby security assessment and have peace of mind that your property and people are safe!