Hard target: Making Your Home, Business, or Building a safer against Threats

March 12, 2024

Hard target: Making Your Home, Business, or Building a safer against Threats

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By Daniel Brunner | Chief Operating Officer | Brunner Sierra Group

In today's world, the safety and security of spaces where people gather, be it homes, businesses, or larger buildings, is of paramount importance. These "soft targets," which frequently host civilians, are often seen as vulnerable to various threats, ranging from burglaries to more severe forms of violence. However, there are several strategies that individuals and organizations can implement to make these places harder targets, enhancing safety for everyone involved.

Visibility and Surveillance

One of the first steps in deterring potential threats is increasing the visibility and surveillance around your property. This can be achieved through:

  • Lighting: Ensuring that all areas are well-lit, particularly entrances, exits, and parking lots, can deter malicious activities by removing the cover of darkness.
  • Security Cameras: Installing security cameras at strategic points not only helps in monitoring but also serves as a deterrent to potential perpetrators who know they are being watched.

Controlled Access

Limiting access to your property ensures that only authorized individuals can enter, significantly reducing the risk of unwanted incidents.

  • Access Control Systems: Utilizing electronic access control systems, such as key cards or biometric scanners, helps in tracking and controlling who enters your premises.
  • Physical Barriers: Employing barriers such as fences, gates, and turnstiles can physically prevent unauthorized access to specific areas.

Community and Employee Engagement

  • Awareness Training: Regularly training employees or residents on security protocols and emergency response procedures can prepare them to act swiftly and effectively in case of an incident.
  • Neighborhood Watch Programs: For residential areas, participating in or establishing a neighborhood watch program can foster a sense of community and collective vigilance.

Security Assessments and enterprise risks

  • Security Audits: Conducting professional security audits can uncover potential weaknesses in your current security infrastructure.
  • Up-to-Date Measures: Technology and threats are constantly evolving, so it's crucial to ensure that your security measures are up to date and capable of countering modern threats.

Cyber Security assessments and training

  • Secure Networks: Implement strong cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, antivirus software, and secure Wi-Fi networks, to protect sensitive information.
  • Cybersecurity Training: Educate employees about the importance of cybersecurity, emphasizing safe online practices and how to recognize phishing attempts and other digital threats.
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Example: Strengthening Security at an Elementary School

Enhancing security at an elementary school is a critical task that involves creating a safe and secure environment for young students, staff, and visitors. Below is an example of how an elementary school can transform from a "soft target" into a "harder target" by implementing strategic security measures.

1. Perimeter Security and Controlled Access

  • Action: Install fencing around the school's perimeter to create a single point of entry during school hours. Use electronic access control systems at this main entrance, requiring visitors to be buzzed in by the front office. Implement a visitor management system where all visitors must sign in and wear badges.
  • Outcome: These measures ensure that all entrants are authorized and monitored, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access to the school premises.

2. Enhanced Surveillance System

  • Action: Equip the school with high-definition security cameras covering all entrances, exits, playgrounds, and corridors. Ensure that the camera feeds are monitored by designated staff or a security service.
  • Outcome: Continuous surveillance acts as a deterrent to potential threats and allows for quick response to any suspicious activities or incidents that occur.

3. Emergency Preparedness and Response Training

  • Action: Conduct regular drills for students and staff on how to respond to various emergencies, including natural disasters, fire, and potential security threats. Offer specialized training for staff on crisis intervention and emergency management.
  • Outcome: Preparedness drills ensure that both students and staff are aware of how to act swiftly and safely in an emergency, potentially saving lives.

4. Secure and Monitor Cyber Infrastructure

  • Action: Protect the school’s digital infrastructure by implementing robust cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, secure Wi-Fi networks, and regular backups of important data. Educate staff and students on cybersecurity best practices.
  • Outcome: Enhances the protection of sensitive student and staff information and maintains the integrity of the school's digital learning resources.

5. Physical Security Improvements

  • Action: Upgrade doors and windows with reinforced materials and locks. Ensure that classrooms can be locked from the inside without requiring a key for quick action in case of a lockdown.
  • Outcome: Makes it more difficult for intruders to gain access to classrooms and provides secure spaces for students and teachers in case of an emergency.

6. Community Engagement and Visibility

  • Action: Foster strong relationships with local law enforcement and first responders. Invite them to participate in safety drills and to visit the school regularly, increasing their familiarity with the layout and the community.
  • Outcome: Enhances the response effectiveness in emergencies and reassures the school community about their safety.

7. Mental Health and Anti-bullying Programs

  • Action: Implement programs focused on mental health, conflict resolution, and anti-bullying to address potential internal threats and improve the overall school climate.
  • Outcome: Promotes a safe and supportive environment for students, potentially preventing violence and ensuring students have access to mental health resources.

By taking these comprehensive steps, an elementary school not only hardens itself against external threats but also creates a nurturing environment that is conducive to learning and development. Security in schools is about balancing physical safety measures with a supportive atmosphere that fosters respect and understanding among students and staff.


Transforming a "soft target" into a "hard target" requires a comprehensive approach that combines physical security measures, technological advancements, community engagement, and constant vigilance. By adopting these strategies, homes, businesses, and other buildings can significantly enhance their security, creating a safer environment for everyone. While it's impossible to eliminate all risks, taking proactive steps to deter, detect, and respond to threats can make a substantial difference in mitigating potential dangers.