The 9-Step Security Survey Process - Part 1

Dan Keller

A Security Survey is a critical on-site examination and analysis to identify security risks and vulnerabilities, determine the protection needed, and make recommendations for improvements in existing facilities, campuses, and communities. It should cover aspects of environmental security, physical security, electronic security, and procedural security. This 3-part series covers the unique nine (9) step process developed by American Crime Prevention Institute.

The American Crime Prevention Institute has developed a unique nine (9) step process to guide law enforcement, crime prevention and security specialists in conducting effective security surveys, resulting in strategies to protect their constituents’ and client’s most critical assets.


While all facilities and situations will differ at least slightly, this document provides a guideline of areas that should be included in most Security Surveys. The surveyor, however, should adjust and tailor the process for their specific needs.


Step 1: Letter of Agreement


A Letter of Agreement is a document which details a formal agreement between two parties.  It should contain, at a minimum, the scope of the security survey, timetable, deliverable dates, and confidentiality statement.  It should also contain a legal disclaimer, which should be approved by both parties’ legal counsel, and be signed by both parties.


Step 2:  Advance Questionnaire


The first course of action once the project has been approved is for the surveyor(s) to request information through an Advance Questionnaire.  The purpose of the Advance Questionnaire is to collect information and material that will aid the surveyor in the conduct of the site inspection and actual writing of the report.  It contains a detailed description of the property or environment to be surveyed, as well as the following facility information:

  • Facility mission, nature of activities, critical assets, hours of operation, etc.
  • Security-related policies and procedures
  • Previous security surveys
  • Crime reports
  • Site plans and building floor plans
  • Emergency policies & procedures
  • Security incident history – external & internal

Step 3:  Pre-Inspection Briefing


The Pre-Inspection Briefing is a survey kick-off meeting with the key participants in the Survey process.  It should involve any facility personnel impacted by the Survey and the senior management with approval authority.  The agenda should include a discussion of any known security-related issues, anticipated changes to the facility mission, functions and/or operating procedures, introductions of the site surveyors, scope and timeline of the Survey, and a review of the Survey process.


Next Week: Steps 4-6 of the Security Survey process.

 ACPI is the worldwide leader in enabling law enforcement agencies, businesses, institutions, and security professionals to reduce criminal activity and risk and enhance quality of life through the delivery of practical, unbiased training and certification programs.  Visit our website at to learn about our comprehensive list of both live virtual and self-paced training courses.

Created with