Access control: Physical security as critical as online safeguards

access control 2

Adopting security best practices for both your organization’s physical locations and online presence can work wonders in building consumer confidence, alongside a host of additional benefits.

Most of us would readily identify greater safety as a key advantage of enhanced security, and it’s easy to see why: The introduction of measures such as ID cards allows you control over who can access your business. The inclusion of photographs on such cards adds an additional level of visual identification, grants you a greater ability to prevent card duplication and restricts unauthorized personnel from accessing your property.

Meanwhile, clients visiting your business can also feel reassured by ID card systems. Firstly, the very presence of an ID card system gives the impression of a business with some clout. Quite simply, the fact that your business requires ID cards suggests that it’s worth protecting and that you’re serious about taking care of both your company’s staff and assets.

Secondly, they provide a layer of trust. Think back to that little green padlock in your address bar; that symbol of security and legitimacy. ID cards work in much the same way: When your customer talks to a member of staff carrying an access control card, she can rest assured that she’s talking to a real representative of the business.

The cumulative impact of these benefits is to create an atmosphere where your staff feel safe and valued in their jobs, clients have confidence in your business and your company’s legitimacy is strengthened.

Here are a few concrete steps you can take to start ensuring your organization is secure.

Implement access control.
It goes without saying that one of the most effective ways to ensure your company’s security is controlling who gets in or out. Going beyond the traditional lock and key and investing in access control cards provides several advantages: For starters, they’re much harder to duplicate than physical keys. Additionally, should you need to remove access from a specific person, there’s no need to change the locks or give out a new entry code — just change the database, and everyone else can carry on using their cards as normal.

Use photo ID.
Including photos on your employees’ ID cards not only helps them feel like a valued member of the team; it also makes them clearly identifiable to customers as a part of the company. Photo ID also provides an additional layer of visual identification, enabling you to challenge visitors on site and check that no one’s in your building who shouldn’t be.

Easily identify visitors and contractors.
Visitors and contractors can also pose a high risk to your business if they are left to their own devices and allowed to wander the building or premises at ease. Making sure all visitors sign in upon arrival, and issuing them with a photo pass and lanyards is a straightforward and cost-effective procedure to implement.

Build a security culture among your team.
Technology is an important tool in your arsenal, but equally vital is that your employees have a strong knowledge of security procedures. First, keep your company safe by consulting security specialists to analyze your business’s needs. Create clear, actionable policies that your employees can follow — and make sure that these are communicated.

Following proper security procedures is a crucial step in building legitimacy and ensuring the long-term viability of your business. Getting it right is important — but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

Choosing the best church security system


Worship facilities are delicate areas to install security systems. It’s important to find the right surveillance system that fulfills its purpose but doesn’t take away from the atmosphere of the church.

An important element of a church security plan can be the use of video surveillance systems as a means of deterring, detecting and investigating crimes against people and property.

With technology behind the hardware and software becoming more advanced, and at the same time less expensive, small and medium-sized churches can more easily and economically than ever employ video surveillance systems as part of efforts to protect both assets and their congregations.

A video surveillance system is just as important for a church as it is for a commercial property. Video surveillance can be an important tool for a church wanting to protect property containing a wide range of physical assets, such as expensive audiovisual systems, unique building components, musical instruments and money from collection and fundraising activities.
On the people side, video surveillance is also an important way in which houses of worship and other faith-based facilities have responded to the growing incidence of violence on church properties.

Placement particulars –  As is the case with other building types, the areas that should be monitored at a church include all entrances and exits, general congregating areas and any areas with valuable assets that need to be protected. In a similar vein, sanctuaries, classrooms and offices are primary targets for burglars, while entry doors and parking lots are high-risk areas for personal safety related issues.

Exactly where and how to place video surveillance cameras is something that is specific to each church.

That said, churches, like all other organizations, need to keep in mind that when it comes to protecting personal safety, video surveillance is just an initial step and needs to be accompanied by other measures.

Protecting children – Video surveillance systems have also become “must-have” technology for worship facilities that provide any type of programs or care for children.

Shopping for surveillance – When shopping for systems, the most important considerations are quality and service. The most expensive system is one that doesn’t work when it’s needed most.

With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that while one surveillance system might work for one church, it won’t necessarily work for another.

The security professionals at Sonitrol Great Lakes can provide church facilities with a wide range of monitored and verified security solutions to meet each congregation’s protection requirements. To learn more, please contact us for a no-obligation security evaluation.

Optimist Club of Downtown Flint announce ‘Officer of the Year’ awardees

Sonitrol Great Lakes sponsors annual Law Day observance in Flint

FLINT, Mich. – April 11, 2017 – Seven area police officers will be recognized by the Downtown Flint Optimist Club at a luncheon celebrating National Law Day, Monday, May 1. Sonitrol Great Lakes – one of Michigan’s largest locally owned and operated security firms – is proud to again sponsor the annual event, which will be held beginning at noon at the Genesee Career Center, 5081 Torrey Road in Flint.

The awards honor deserving officers who have demonstrated exceptional bravery, achievement, and genuine commitment to their profession and the citizens they serve.  Sonitrol Great Lakes has been sponsoring the event for the past nine years.

“We are excited to once again sponsor this great event, honoring our local law enforcement officers for their heroism, dedication, and outstanding service to the public,” said Mike Buckel, Optimist Club past president and vice president of sales for Sonitrol Great Lakes.

The Optimist Club of Downtown Flint congratulates each of this year’s honorees:

Deputy Miguel Mendez – Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Officers John Boismier Ronnie Summers, Terry Lewis, Sergeant Charlie Mitchell, Detective Mona Patterson – City of Flint Police Department, and Trooper Rashad Horton – Michigan State Police, Third District, Flint Post.

In addition, the club is honoring Sidney Shields, a second-year forensic science student at the Genesee Career Institute, as its Student of the Year.

Deputy Mendez is being recognized for his lifesaving work, reviving three opioid overdose victims with emergency Narcan medication on three separate occasions. In addition, Deputy Mendez, a former U.S. Marine, is credited for a successful face-to-face negotiation with an armed combat veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Flint police officers Boismier, Summers, Lewis, and Sgt. Mitchell are being honored for their bravery, professionalism and teamwork during a November 2016 fire at Village Shores Apartments. Officer Boismier attempted a rescue of a female resident from a second-floor balcony. During the rescue, both fell off the building, but Sgt. Mitchell and Officer Summers positioned themselves on the ground to cushion the pair’s impact. Officer Lewis, with assistance of neighborhood residents, identified, located, and arrested an adult female on arson charges.

Flint Police Detective Patterson, in her role as the department’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) detective, is being recognized for her investigative work, reopening and solving past sexual assault cases. Through her work, the Genesee County Prosecutors Office filed charges against 14 previously undetected sexual assault suspects, including one serial suspect targeting children.

State Police Trooper Horton is being honored for his tactical and lifesaving skills while off-duty at the scene of an active shooting which took place a short distance from his home. He administered first aid to the seriously wounded victim, while encountering the suspected shooter, holding her at bay with his firearm until backup officers arrived and took the suspect into custody without further incident. Paramedics arrived to stabilize the wounded victim.

President Eisenhower first declared National Law Day in 1958. It is meant to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and recognize its importance for society.

Construction’s the season for site protection

construction site

With construction season now getting underway in many parts of the Great Lakes region, it’s a good time to take extra precautions to keep your job site safe and secure.

This is where a verified security system can make the difference.

Most industrial thieves are interested in taking materials like copper, lumber, drywall and bricks – all important elements in the construction industry.

Construction sites face maximum risk of burglary of materials since there are no strong walls and secure doors or keys to prevent the burglars from escaping with your materials. This is where the Sonitrol Verified Electronic Security system provides optimum safety against the burglars who can cause major damage to your construction business and lead you to buying more materials unnecessarily. Additionally, the system increases the chances of police catching criminals in the act.

Whether your construction project is small or large, the professionals at Sonitrol Great Lakes can guide you in customizing your security system to get maximum benefit at an affordable price.

In addition, Sonitrol Great Lakes offers flexibly designed systems that can be redesigned and re-created once your security requirements change with time and progress in construction work.

For example, an access control system can be installed once the building is near completion and doors are placed, allowing the property owner to control the movement of employees and helping to prevent unwanted entry by outsiders.

This is what makes Sonitrol Great Lakes one of the most sought-after choices for construction companies as well as property owners needing to protect their assets.

Sonitrol Great Lakes participates in Flint business video surveillance program

Flint Police Lt. Todd Pillsbury

Flint Police Lt. Todd Pillsbury

Flint, Michigan, businesses plan to partner with police to combat crime at establishments across the city by giving authorities a look at what’s happening there in real time.

Local business owners will pay $990 for Sonitrol to install four cameras, to place signage and a green beacon. The businesses will also have to pay $90 a month that will allow Sonitrol and Flint police to have web and mobile access.

Lt. Todd Pillsbury said Project C.A.T.T. Eye — named after the department’s crime area target team — will begin in March.

“We have access to a live feed,” he said. “We have a pilot program of five businesses starting the spring and 50 more businesses waiting to get on board.”

The program is modeled after Detroit’s “Project Green Light,” Pillsbury said, which helped with a 50 percent drop in crime at businesses after the program was implemented.

Sonitrol partnered with Flint police, found a camera supplier and will provide the web hosting, maintenance and support.

The Jimmy John’s on University Avenue will be the first business to launch Project C.A.T.T. Eye, according to Mike Buckel, vice president of Sonitrol Great Lakes.

“Every business in Flint has cameras, but you don’t have the same platform. We got a commitment from a supplier to give us a good deal and the selling point is it’s all on the same platform,” he said. “Nowadays, the first thing that police do is go talk to all of the businesses to see who has cameras.”

The project was one of 22 organizations that “completed impactful projects aimed at improving residents’ quality of life,” as part of the Flint Sprint initiative, according to the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.

Flint Sprint was an effort that stemmed from the chamber’s Leadership Summit last summer where business leaders from across the state came to Flint to help the community recover from the Flint water crisis.

Organizers of Flint Sprint then went to Chief Tim Johnson to see what projects the department may be working on and just needed a little extra insight or assistance to get the work done, according to Michelle Hill, shared services director at the chamber.

“We picked projects that we felt that our community partners could sustain over a period of time,” Hill said. “We’re hoping that this is something that residents can utilize long term.”

Within 60 days, according to Hill, Flint police were able to identify five local businesses willing to participate in the program, utilize the Flint police/fire 911 facility as a real-time monitoring location, find a local vendor to provide the equipment and get a name for the new program.

“They’re now carrying out that mission and vision for project CATT Eye,” Hill said.

Source: Previously published by MLive

Sonitrol apprehensions reach new record

Sonitrol recently reached a new milestone by assisting with 175,000 documented criminal apprehensions since 1977, when the company first began recording apprehension statistics.

The record breaking results have been achieved through constant innovation in alarm verification techniques, as well as strong relationships with law enforcement and the communities that Sonitrol serves.

“Considering that 98% of alarm calls are false, coupled with a less than 1% apprehension rate when responding to non-verified alarms, it is easy to understand why many law enforcement agencies are making the shift to verified alarm response policies,” says Julie Beach, police relations program director for Sonitrol. “We pride ourselves in continuing the legacy of Sonitrol by innovating better, faster alarm verification techniques while building strong relationships with our local communities and law enforcement.”

In 2015, Sonitrol announced the introduction of SonaVision Video Verification, adding integrated video verification to Sonitrol’s audio verification techniques. This, coupled with the Sonitrol Mobile Application, allows both central station operators and customers to view live and recorded video, facilitating the appropriate level of communication between the Sonitrol operator and the end-user customer. In November, Sonitrol announced it became the first systems manufacturer to release a UL/ULC-approved product that initiates alarms driven by glass-break analytics.

Community involvement and law enforcement partnerships play an important role in the success of the Sonitrol apprehension program. Examples of these partnerships can be found across the United States and Canada.

Locally, Sonitrol Great Lakes, along with 3xLOGIC and STANLEY Security, donated $100,000 of equipment and labor installation services last year for a new access control and video surveillance system for the Flint Police Department.

Sonitrol’s involvement with law enforcement also spans to a national level. Sonitrol participates in the nonprofit Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response (PPVAR), an organization comprising members of the electronic security industry, insurance industry and law enforcement. Its mission is to educate electronic security stakeholders on the value of verified alarms in reducing false alarms, increasing apprehensions, preserving taxpayer dollars and enhancing end users’ and the safety of responding officers.

Source: Sonitrol 

Retailers: shopping for a better security solution?


In retail, every dollar counts.

Store owners and managers need to protect their businesses while protecting the bottom line.

In a recent industry study, over two dozen U.S. retailers reported shoplifting and employee theft losses of more than $4.7 billion in a single year. One out of every 28 employees were caught stealing. A larger study of U.S. retail chains found that shoplifting cost retailers nearly $10 billion in losses, and employee theft cost $15 billion. These losses don’t even include other threats to the bottom line, such as retail losses from robbery or burglary, fire or vandalism, or fraudulent injury claims, to name a few.

Can a security system stem the tide? Here are some alarm technologies that can contribute to fighting retail loss.

Verification a sound choice for retailers
Priority #1 should be a state-of-the-art verified audio intrusion detection system. This technology reduces false alarms and allows real-time information to be relayed to first responders, providing the high-level protection and faster response retailers need. Your alarm system can also be set to protect employees who stay after closing to count the deposit or do inventory.

The next key technology to consider is verified digital video surveillance. Both covert and plain site video cameras can deter both employee theft and shoplifting. They can be helpful in the sales area and in store room and loading dock areas. Cameras are also an important tool in confirming whether an actual break-in has occurred. This allows the system to be reset if there’s a false alarm. Video can also be very helpful when examining injury claims.

Keyless access control has a host of capabilities useful to retailers. It enables designated employees to open and close the shop. Management can also easily add, delete and track seasonal employees.

The crucial point is having your security system monitored by a team of trained professionals at a local central monitoring station.

Once you have these key features, these systems can minimize shrinkage and drive a solid return on investment.

Contact us at Sonitrol Great Lakes for a free assessment of how our verified security solutions can help protect your business

Sonitrol Great Lakes plans program honoring area law enforcement officers


National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day set for January 9

GRAND BLANC, Mich. – December 21, 2016 – Electronic security provider Sonitrol Great Lakes will be participating with organizations around the country to honor police officers on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Monday, Jan. 9.

That day, Sonitrol Great Lakes will be hosting an appreciation luncheon at its headquarters, located at 7241 Fenton Road, Grand Blanc. The invitation is being extended to all area police officers, detectives, as well as command staff. Attendees will also be receiving a special gift, courtesy of Sonitrol Great Lakes.

“Especially in these challenging times, it is important to pause and salute the men and women who fearlessly serve our communities and citizens,” says Mike Wanstreet, Sonitrol Great Lakes president. “This is especially true in light of the negativity we’ve seen directed toward law enforcement nationally. We as citizens recognize the difficult career they have chosen, in public service, for us all.”

EDITORS, NEWS DIRECTORS: You are cordially invited to attend and cover this event. Police officials and Sonitrol Great Lakes representatives will be available for interviews.

Sonitrol announces UL/ULC approved glass break analytics

Groundbreaking development in glass break detection technology

Sonitrol, the leader in verified electronic security, provides customers throughout the United States and Canada with customized state-of-the-art security solutions for intrusion alarms, access control, video surveillance, and fire detection.  Further solidifying Sonitrol as the industry leader in audio intrusion alarm detection, Sonitrol is the first systems manufacturer to release a UL/ULC approved product that uses a reprogrammable software glass-break analytic algorithm to initiate alarms.

Continued research in the use of analytics has enabled Sonitrol to improve glass-break functionality and now incorporate glass-break detection algorithms in its firmware on the host panel (FlexIP) and the audio module (Audio-8 PRO) using a lower cost audio sensor as the detection device.  This new release, incorporating advanced glass-break functionality, significantly increases Sonitrol’s value proposition, and greatly enriches functionality.
This advanced technology includes:

• Advanced audio analytic behavior algorithms to identify glass sounds, as opposed to utilizing hardware components

• Distributed analytics that reside both on the host panel and the audio module

• Advanced discrimination of breaking glass during business hours as part of a 24-hr security level

• Built-in diagnostics to efficiently test an audio sensor’s ability to detect glass break alarms during installation and service

• Self-calibration, minimizing technician installation and service time

Ground-breaking innovation such as this paves the way for Sonitrol to further its ability to accurately verify alarm events and respond accordingly. The ultimate result is more criminal apprehensions and elevated protection for users.

Sonitrol’s technology partner, 3xLOGIC, developed the glass break algorithm.  Its Engineering team broke hundreds of panes of various types of glass, allowing them to build an extensive knowledge base in audio analytics.

For more information on Sonitrol’s customized, state-of-the-art verified electronic security solutions for intrusion alarms, access control, video surveillance and fire detection, visit .

Providing effective security solutions: One customer’s story

Those earlier-generation electronic security systems can become problematic, as one area company discovered. Looking to eliminate false alarms with a verified commercial security solution, they turned to Sonitrol Great Lakes for help.

Watch and listen to the executives at BSB Communications, a Michigan-based worldwide voice and data technology provider, describe their positive experiences with their verified security system from Sonitrol Great Lakes.
Watch and listen here: