Magazine article Security Management

Builders Construct Better Security

Magazine article Security Management

Builders Construct Better Security

Article excerpt

When appliances and other items began disappearing from Pulte Homes construction sites in California, the residential home building company knew it had to do something to protect its investment and its reputation.

The thefts frequently took place just days before the owner took the final walk-through to approve the home and close the deal, making it difficult for Pulte to fix the damage and replace the appliances before the final inspection. That meant customers had to be told of the vandalism, which had the added effect of undermining their feelings of safety in their new home.

An advisory board, composed of various security contractors and other professionals, was established to offer suggestions on securing the sites and to create a security plan. "We wanted to come up with a security plan that far exceeded everyone else's," says Craig Rickabaugh, purchasing manager for Pulte Homes.

After some preliminary investigation, the company concluded that thieves were driving into the garage of a completed house, forcing open the home's entrance, and dragging the appliances across the floor, making off with thousands of dollars in goods and, in some cases, significantly damaging the floor and door jambs of the house.

Because it seemed likely that many of the large thefts took place with the use of a vehicle, the contractor council suggested that Pulte install a camera system that would be able to capture license plate numbers and vehicle traffic. The system also had to be portable to handle the evolving conditions of a construction site.

Pulte builds large communities that are finished in phases. A portable fence surrounds each section under construction. As the phases are completed, the fence is moved. Each construction site has one designated entrance through which all vehicle traffic flows. As the fence is moved, the vehicle entrance is also moved.

Pulte chose to lease a camera tower from Smart Systems Technologies Incorporated. A concrete and reinforced three-bar base anchors the portable tower; a 25-foot pole extends from the base. Four Extreme CCTV cameras and one Extreme REG license-plate-capture camera are mounted to it.

A digital recorder is located in a vault inside the base of the tower and is only accessible by Smart Systems employees. If an incident happens, Pulte calls Smart Systems and an employee will be dispatched to remove the recorder and replace it with another. The removed recorder is taken back to Smart Systems and is analyzed by a forensic expert.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Each recorder can retain up to seven days worth of images. …

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