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DETROIT-Building owners have decided to take security measures much more seriously since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax scares, say many building security professionals. Rodney Mack, an auxiliary systems specialist for Arcadis Giffels of Southfield, MI says owners are now thinking twice when designing a new project for how security will be handled, a new twist in building creation.

“Building owners have to be very conscientious. Whenever we put together a new facility I have a list of questions of what type of level of security they want to incorporate,” Mack tells GlobeSt.com.

These can include regular levels such as card readers and closed-circuit television, to bio-devices, such as palm readers and retina scanners, he explains.

The trend has been increasing over the last few years, Mack says, since the rash of domestic violence when gunmen walk unobstructed into their spouses’ plants and open fire.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work for the Big Three,” Mack says. “If people were thinking about installing a system a few years down the road, they’ve accelerated those plans to now or within the next month.”

Mack’s job includes installing security systems, fire alarms and fiber optic networks, along with CCTV. The job can get pretty high-tech, he says.

“We just designed the General Motors Corp.-United Auto Workers building in Downtown Detroit,” Mack notes. “That’s full of high security, with card readers everywhere and 99 CCTV cameras on the stairs, hallways, floors and elevators.”

He remembers when the only security devices were door locks and card readers on the turnstiles at facilities.

“Now, almost every building has card readers on doors or suites, and uses extensive CCTV systems,” Mack observes. “They’re pretty valuable. If someone wants to walk off with a laptop computer, you can review the tapes to see who left with something suspicious. In our own building that happened, members of the cleaning crew were putting computers in the trash cans and carrying them outside.”

Most companies won’t go to extremes such as retina scanners or high-tech fences with microwave beam detection, Mack says.

“Those are mostly for the government places, a little higher security. We did a top-secret building for Lockheed in Marietta, GA, a training facility for pilots. That’s mostly only for government types, like the place in New Mexico where those scientists got in trouble. You can lose a badge or card easy, but it’s nearly impossible to fake out a retina scan,” Mack says.

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