Burglar Alarms for Businesses
Commercial spaces sometimes need an extra layer of security that goes above high security locks to secure any valuables on the premises and to ensure that a property is safe. One way in which a commercial property can be secured is the use of a burglar alarm, that not only will act as a deterrent to those that might have ill intentions but will also alert yourself and others remotely if your premises has been compromised.
What is a burglar alarm?
A burglar alarm is a device that is used to alert that a premises is compromised using loud sounds and often lights. A burglar alarm is commonly used for securing all types of properties both domestically and commercially and helps to ensure that a premises has an extra level of security whilst also acting as a visual deterrent to minimise the risk of becoming a target.
How does a burglar alarm work?
A burglar alarm is often connected to other security devices such as motion sensors and lights that will be activated when an individual tries to gain forceful entry to a property.
Forced entry is detected
When a door or window is opened, motion is detected or someone has tried to tamper with the security system, the alarm will detect that someone is trying to enter the property.
The control panel is alerted
To deactivate the alarm a security code or key is used, and once the control panel is alerted that the alarm circuit has been broken the control panel will begin the process of activating the alarm giving a short period for the alarm to be disengaged.
Alarm is activated
The system is activated to alert that the premises has been compromised. An alarm will sound and depending on the type of alarm system flood lighting will activate, which not only will alert others of a potential intruder but also will act as a deterrent for intruders.
The alarm will only be deactivated through the input of a security code or key on the control panel or using an app remotely.
Why is commercial security important?
Security is essential for commercial properties It also helps to give all that are invested in the premises the peace of mind that the property is secured and that any investments are being guarded.
Being prepared for different situations, of which most are undesirable, helps to better deal with them efficiently but also to help prevent the situation from occurring. By installing a burglar alarm, a visual deterrent is created that informs potential intruders a security system is installed therefore making the premises a less appealing target.
Commercial premises can hold a lot of investment, in the way of technology, equipment, valuables and not to mention the property itself. Therefore, taking the extra step to protect premises will provide an extra security for personal property and valuables.
Reducing risks of criminal damage and vandalism
As a concern for most businesses, reducing criminal damage and the chance of vandalism is always a worthwhile investment. Not only will it potentially save money in the long run but gives anyone with an interest peace of mind that the premises is secured.
Benefits of a commercial burglar alarm
24/7 Property Security
When set, a burglar alarm offers around the clock security and will protect a commercial property day or night. It ensures that 24 hours a day the property is in the state that it should be, offering peace of mind and security.
Motion activated sensors
If not triggered by a door or a window opening, motion sensors ensure that no one can walk around the building without setting off the alarm. This increases the risk factor for would be intruders and ensures that the property is safe.
Acts as a deterrent
The presence of an alarm makes a property a less appealing target as the alarm increases the risk of the intruder getting caught therefore it acts as an efficient deterrent.
Remote control and monitoring
Most modern alarm systems offer remote access using an app, through the app it enables activation and deactivation of the alarm, remote viewing of any connected cameras and notifications of sensed motion.
Reduced insurance premiums
The installation of a burglar alarm means the reduced risk of a burglary and as a result insurance provider will often reward you for the investment by offering lower commercial insurance rates. The amount of money that can be saved will depend on individual insurance providers, but it is often guaranteed that installing a burglar alarm will decrease your security premiums.
Types of burglar alarms
A basic alarm system that usually will only cover entry points such as doors and windows. With this system when the alarm is engaged it will acknowledge that for the circuit to be complete all doors and windows must be closed. When the circuit is broken, for example if a door is opened, then an alarm will sound alerting others that someone is trying to gain entry to the building. Often the alarm will give a minute or two for the person who is entering the building and has the authority to deactivate the alarm but will then get progressively louder after this initial period.
A wired alarm is a system that is hardwired throughout a property and often is connected to a central control panel. These systems are often preferred in commercial premises as they are the more affordable option and are more adaptable to cover larger distances. If the property is under construction or has previous wiring, installing a new system is relatively simple however installing a wired alarm without prior wiring can be time consuming and a costly process due to all the installation fees and equipment needed. When triggered the alarm will sound and can only be deactivated through the input of a security code or key in the control panel.
A hybrid system is a wired alarm that has been adapted with an extender where sensors can connect wirelessly to the central control system. This offers the best features of both wired and wireless alarms and is a budget friendly option to secure a property. This option is useful if there is already an existing wired system in place which needs upgrading to secure the entire property. When the alarm is activated, depending on the type of hybrid system, it may be possible to deactivate it from a remote location using a smart device. Otherwise, it will need to be deactivated through the control panel.
A security system without wires that connects to a central panel or operating system through radio frequency transmitters. Often with wireless alarms there is the option of management through a smart device that will allow for remote access, which will allow enable remote activation and deactivation of the alarm.
Wired alarms vs wireless alarms: which is better?
Wireless alarm systems can be costly to install as they are more advance technology, however the cost of installing a brand-new wired system could be just as expensive when you consider the costs of labour to install, cable, trunking and the experience needed to hide the appropriate wires. Therefore, the size of the property and the existing security infrastructure must first be analysed and assessed before choosing between wired and wireless.
Wireless systems are easier to install, with a professional only needing to take a few hours for smaller premises and a couple of days for a larger property. Whereas to install a brand-new wired system, the install time can take upwards of 2 days depending on the property size.
There are always fears of alarms getting tampered with however both wireless and wired alarm systems have anti-tamper precautions in place to ensure that the system itself is secure. All wireless systems must conform to BS EN 50131, which must include a built-in anti-jamming detection system which eliminates the possibility that a wireless system can be jammed. Likewise, it might be feared that with exposed wires on a wired system that are susceptible to being cut or damaged. However, if there is a break in the circuit an alert should be created through a tamper circuit.
Monitored alarms vs unmonitored alarms: Which is better?
Unmonitored alarms, known as “local” alarms, sound audible and visual alerts and can be set to call a list of people to alert them that the alarm has been activated. However, these alarms rely on the correct individuals to contact the relevant authorities should the situation call for it. Hence, an unmonitored alarm may cause inconvenience for the relevant individual if they live far away from the property and must commute to understand what set off the alarm. However, monitored alarms will connect to a security or monitoring company who will notify the relevant authorities ensuring a fast and efficient response.
Ultimately, the need for a monitored alarm will depend on individual need and the requirements of the property.
Things to consider when installing an alarm system
- Size of property
- Level of connectivity and remote control
- Potential response time should the need occur
- Costs and budget
- Need for external monitoring
When installing an alarm system, what first must be considered is the needs and requirements that need to be met and what offers the best solution for the property. Each commercial space will have different requirements and therefore will need different security solutions to properly secure the property.
Movement detectors for commercial burglar alarms
Passive Infra-Red Detector (PIR)
The most used motion detector for burglar alarms, this detector will split an infra-red beam across different panes that are allocated to be alternative hot or cold areas. Movement is then detected through the movement across the different hot and cold panes.
The most common versions are designed to be mounted to the wall and will offer a sensor range of up to 15m within an angle of 45o-90o, however there are versions available that mount to the ceiling and offer a 360o sensor range. PIR detectors are designed for indoor use only with a non-harsh environment, a harsh environment would be considered a property that may be damp, dusty or has a range in interior temperatures that would go outside of the sensors operating range. Therefore, this type of sensor is best used for offices and retail spaces.
To properly secure a premises with multiple rooms it is advisable that multiple PIR detectors are used to secure each section of the property.
Quad Element PIRs
The same principle as the Passive Infra-Red detector except the beam is split across 4 different quadrants. This detector can provide more accurate results, resulting in less false alarms as it will decide whether it has detected movement by the pattern displayed.
Like the PIR, this detector is best utilised in smaller commercial spaces such as offices and retail.
Dual Technology PIR (Microwave)
A hybrid of PIR and microwave technology this detector is better suited towards larger commercial spaces such as garages, factories, and workshops. The PIR element works in the same way as describe above with adjustments made from the microwave technology to examine whether there is significant movement to sound the alarm. The microwave element emits a signal that bounces around the room to transmit a ‘value’ of the space to the receiver, when that value has changed (e.g. an intruder has entered the room) it changes the received signal thus alerting that there is movement.
What is beneficial about this detector is that the sensitivity and the range of the sensors can be adjusted.
With a focused lens towards a single zone, these sensors have an estimated range of 18m which makes them ideal for targeting weak spots in a property such as doors and windows. The sensor can be placed horizontal or vertically to ensure that the sensor is as efficient as possible.