It’s a movie cliché at this point – a character gets access to a property posing as an electrician/plumber/repairman and is granted access because they look like who they say they are. Maybe it doesn’t happen in real life as often as it does on the big screen, but that doesn’t mean that every occurrence shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Rarely do service vendors inform property managers and our monitoring company when they are arriving to perform work. When a vendor arrives unexpectedly on a property that we monitor, Centralized Vision technicians considers this person a threat until determined otherwise, especially when occurring during the middle of the night.
However, rather than call police immediately, we perform an audio callout to address the suspect in question, vocally commanding him to call our center to identify himself. We call this Virtual Guard. This allows us to avoid unnecessary police dispatches while still maintaining the highest level of vigilance concerning the property’s security.
For example, we had a recent case at a Phoenix-based retail center where we observed a person in an area that is off limits. Our center had not been made aware of any work to be performed, so we reacted. After receiving no response to our initial audio call out, we called out again to inform him that this was his final warning and that police would be dispatched unless a call was received from him stating the nature of his business. No more than a few seconds passed by before we received his call. He announced himself as an after-hours electrician who was on site to address a problem. Our CV techs cross-checked him against the property’s vendor database and allowed him to remain to perform the needed work on site.
Holding vendors accountable to a higher standard is just one of the many functions we perform while monitoring a property. After this experience, we believe that this vendor is going to think twice the next time he needs to perform any work at that property and will first call our center to announce himself.