Magazine article Security Management

Save That Parking Space: One Company Tells How It Drove Home the Need for Parking Security at Its New Headquarters

Magazine article Security Management

Save That Parking Space: One Company Tells How It Drove Home the Need for Parking Security at Its New Headquarters

Article excerpt

Parking areas present a challenging environment for security professionals. In the Boston suburb of Needham, Massachusetts, Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC) began planning parking security for its new global headquarters campus even before it knew where the facility would be located, according to Don Aviv, corporate security manager for the company.

Prior to the move, the company's employee base had a relaxed attitude toward security because the facility was not seen as being exposed to significant threats and because no significant events had ever occurred. But when planning for the new headquarters--which would include an international data center--began in 2000, company leaders from the beginning committed to increased levels of security in the new complex. "Management understood that as the company grew," says Aviv, "an improved security system became more important."

Indeed, security planning began while the company was still studying potential sites for the headquarters, with evaluations of the geographic locations and environments of potential sites. For instance, Aviv says that he looked at crime statistics, "examining local and county police records for an eight-year period to see if any major crimes had taken place in the area." Other factors weighed for the sites included proximity to major routes and public transportation, the community's environment and economic situation, and response times for emergency providers. Also considered for various sites were maintenance issues that might have an effect on security, such as how the facility management company at each site handled snow removal.

Based on these criteria, PTC selected a 381,000-square-foot former warehouse fulfillment center as its new headquarters and signed a 15year lease. Located in an office park and bordering a nature preserve on one side, the campus would eventually include three buildings (not the focus of this article), three surface parking lots, and a five-story garage, according to Aviv.

With the services of an external security consultant, Aviv and PTC's security team developed a security plan for the property that revolved around an "open yet secured" concept. The company wanted to maintain a heightened level of security but did not want the complex to resemble a locked-down facility with high walls and fences. "Being on the edge of the nature preserve, we wanted to maintain that open feel," explains Aviv.

Physical security. Efforts to secure the garage, as well as the three surface parking lots, revolved around lighting, camera placement, and call boxes, according to Aviv. But none of these factors is exclusive of the others.

The parking garage contains one elevator bank containing two elevators (on each floor, the elevator bank is enclosed in glass). It also includes two stairwells. One stairwell connects to a bridge that leads to PTC's three buildings. The other is located on the opposite site of the garage and provides an alternate route through the floors. According to Aviv, designers did not consider a stairwell in the garage's core necessary because the ramps serve as an interior entrance and egress route.

All cameras were strategically placed in areas that would provide constant light (although, because low-light cameras are used, security can still monitor the garages in poor lighting conditions). Camera placement was also chosen to yield the highest percentage of unhindered pan-tilt views.

Likewise, the placement of cameras in the surface parking areas was "coordinated upon a line-of-sight rationale to cover as much visible ground as possible," Aviv says. The same type of pan-tilt cameras is used outside, though with different domes.

The CCTV system for both the open and dosed parking is hardwired via cable and feeds images back to the central monitoring station, where they are both monitored in real time and digitally recorded. Also, the entire system can be monitored from other security posts for redundancy during shift changes and special events. …

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