PROPERTY owners and tenants are grappling with the costs of implementing increased security amid current global tensions and local crime patterns.
While the owners of larger buildings in Perth can take rising security costs in their stride, the costs are not so easily absorbed for many smaller buildings.
Fronting the march for new levels of security on commercial premises is the increasingly un-settled insurance industry, according to ADT Security State manager Lee Royston-Ing.
“Insurance companies have certainly been on the front foot about getting business on the back foot about security,” Mr Royston-Ing said.
“In some cases insurance companies refuse policies if there is not adequate security.”
He said security concerns were also prompted by the increased need for a business to protect itself from public liability and occupational health and safety claims.
“Closed circuit television is our biggest selling product; there is a growing fear of law suits in business,” Mr Royston-Ing said.
With the advent of digital CCTV, owners can check their premises off location by dialing up the connection through the Internet. The system also can record the time of motion incidents.
Mr Roysten-Ing said while security in many of Perth’s older buildings was insufficient, owners were reluctant to spend money on security.
SGIO State manager Gary Moore said insurance companies had started to insist on increased security systems.
“Generally increased security on business can range from more deadlocks and screens to a sophisticated security system,” he told WA Business News.
Mr Moore said that while alarm monitored systems had become mandatory for some insurance policies, SGIO was yet to insist on the implementation of CCTV.
“We are only insisting on monitored alarm systems with call-in, we are not insisting on CCTV as yet,” he said.
“From a human resources and staffing point of view we are not ready to be that tough, so in regards to workers’ compensation we wouldn’t insist on it.”
Mr Moore said while this type of surveillance was probably mandatory in New York, it was early days for the Australian market.
Property Council of WA executive director Joe Lenzo said security had become a big issue in the Perth CBD, not only in response to potential terrorist activity but also due to an increase in theft.
“There has been a 40 per cent increase in the volume of goods taken in the last three months, mainly within the St Georges Terrace strip,” he said.
“It is happening everyday to property owners and tenants. Laptops, cash, TV and video gear are going missing.”
There have been reports that thieves have posed as cleaners, delivery staff and couriers, walking into buildings unnoticed and stealing equipment from offices.
Mr Lenzo said the Property Council was lobbying the City of Perth to increase the coverage of closed circuit TV throughout the CBD, particularly on St Georges Terrace.
“Most buildings are now listed on a database so that if there is a theft, all building managers can be notified to keep a watch-out,” he said.
Perth Burglary Team officer in charge, detective sergeant John Leonhardt, said laptop computers were the main target of criminals as they were easily transported and in high demand.
Sgt Leonhardt said one of the main problems behind the increase in theft was that occupants of high-rise buildings had become complacent about who was in the building after hours.
Perth building owners have been advised by police to beef up video surveillance in lifts, stairwells and points of entry and exit.
“Obviously it is easier for the big ones to take on board, it is much harder for the smaller ones to implement more security,” Sgt Leonhardt said.
He said security could be improved by training staff and tenants and liasing with cleaning staff about locking doors behind them.
“Most importantly, be aware of your environment, who goes in and goes out and don’t be scared to go up to them if their face doesn’t fit and challenge them,” Sgt Leonhardt said.
QV1 general manager Alison Robertson said the QV1 building had 24-hour guard patrols 365 days a year and had extensive CCTV coverage around the building, which had recently been increased.
“For a smaller building the costs of security would be quite prohibitive and from the owners point of view it falls back on what the tenants prefer to pay,” she said.
“The smaller the building, there is not as much space to absorb the cost of putting an extra guard on.”
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