The 9-Step Security Survey Process - Part 2

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. This week’s blog reviews steps 4-6 of the security survey process. Steps 1-3 can be found in our previous blog here.


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 4: Interviews

When all parties are in agreement with the Survey process and timeline, the site surveyor(s) can begin the interview process.  This typically involves face-to-face interviews with key facility personnel to understand any known security risks, vulnerabilities, or concerns.  A key objective of the face-to-face interviews is to give the surveyor(s) a “heads up” as to what to look for during the on-site assessment.  Key facility personnel to interview might include:


  • Survey commissioning authority
  • Facility administrators, supervisors, and managers
  • Employees
  • Employee union or employee organization
  • Maintenance and housekeeping or custodial staff
  • Visitors, customers, clients, or students
  • Security personnel
  • Local law enforcement 


Step 5:  Document Collection and Review

As part of the Interview process, the site surveyor(s) are encouraged to collect any documentation to aid in the security review.  These documents include key security related information which should assist the site surveyor(s) in their final recommendations. Documents to look for include:

  • Reported criminal incidents
  • Security-related incidents
  • Security-associated policies and procedures
  • General employee security-related policies and procedures
  • Access control policies and procedures
  • Inventory control policies and procedures
  • Key management and control policies and procedures
  • Weapons policy

Step 6:  Site Inspection

Once all data is collected and analyzed, the Site Inspection should begin.  The Site Inspection is the most important procedure for information gathering.  Ideally there should be a minimum of two site surveyors along with a facility employee who is knowledgeable about the site.  The site surveyor(s) should also collect site plans and floor plans to complement the Inspection. 


A typical Site Inspection pattern might include the following:

Surrounding Neighborhood

o   Proximity to public assistance facilities

o   Socio-economic status

o   Lighting

o   Vacant buildings or homes

o   Presence of railroad tracks

o   Chemical plants

o   Alcohol establishments

Property Boundary

o   Fencing

o   Parking

o   Lighting

o   Signage

Exterior Building Surrounds

o   Fencing

o   Gates

o   Security lighting

o   Landscaping

o   Wayfinding

o   Signage

o   Trash disposal

o   Emergency communication options

o   Surveillance

o   Territoriality (CPTED)

o   Natural Access Control (CPTED)

Building Perimeter

o   Doors

o   Windows

o   Door and window locks

o   Loading docks

o   HVAC units

o   Rooftop access

Building Interior

o   Interior doors & locks

o   Interior lighting

o   Places of concealment

o   Natural Surveillance

o   Interior walls

o   Elevator issues

o   MEP rooms

o   Safes and secure containers

o   Natural surveillance

o   Natural access control

o   Restrooms

o   Personnel Safety

o   Workplace Violence

Security Systems

o   Intrusion Detection System (IDS)

o   Electronic Access Control

o   Video Surveillance System

o   Mass Notification System

o   Possibly Metal Detection 

High Risk Interior Areas

o   Human resource records storage

o   Server rooms

o   Financial records storage

o   Mail center

o   Executive areas

Procedural Security Issues: 

o   Personnel safety

o   Workplace violence

o   Inventory control

o   Visitor access

o   Security awareness training

o   Security policies and procedures

o   Pre-employment background checks

o   Facility opening and closing procedures

o   Access control system management


Next Week: Steps 7-9 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.

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