Venues, individuals heighten security measures


EPS Security is seeing an increase in the number of surveillance cameras being used residentially and commercially. Courtesy EPS Security

Local venues are taking security measures seriously.

The enhanced awareness has been sparked by a series of deadly events that have occurred over the last year, including shootings in Las Vegas, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the Capital Gazette newsroom.

SMG, the worldwide venue management company that manages Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall, implemented security protocols a year ago for Van Andel Arena, which hosts the Grand Rapids Griffins as well as other events and concerts.

Some of the security protocols include a bag policy, visual inspection and metal detectors that screen all patrons, vendors and contractors entering the arena.

“The safety and security of our guests and employees continue to be a top priority at the Van Andel Arena,” said Richard MacKeigan, SMG regional general manager. “We will continue to look for further ways to enhance our security measures in an effort to provide both a safe and enjoyable guest experience.”

While the national attention has been focused on violent attacks at large public events, individuals also have experienced criminal attacks in their homes. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ most recent report, in 2016, U.S. households reported 15.9 million property victimizations, such as burglaries, to law enforcement.

A high-profile home invasion occurred in September when an off-duty Texas police officer, who allegedly entered the wrong apartment, shot and killed a man who was in his own apartment.

In 2016, there were 30,731 burglaries in Michigan, according to the Michigan State Police’s Michigan Incident Crime Reporting, representing a 4 percent from 2015.

One of the companies that have been contributing to the decline in the number of burglaries in the state is Grand Rapids-based EPS Security. The security company has been selling security devices since 1955 and serves 27,000 consumers, which includes commercial businesses and homeowners.

Some of the security products the company sells are intrusion detectors, video surveillance cameras, security alarms, key card access systems and fire alarms.

“Most of our home users (who purchase our security devices) can arm and disarm their systems remotely,” said Russell Cross, director of sales for EPS Security. “Consumers can see the cameras (installed in their homes) on their smartphones. So, the conversion of technology in our industry keeps us safe.”

There is more of a demand for security systems, and as a result, Cross said the cost for video surveillance cameras has dramatically declined over the last 10 years. He noted homeowners and business owners are adding three to four times as many cameras in their homes and commercial business.

Most of the devices EPS Security makes are preventive security devices. Cross said most of the business the company gets is reactive because of an event (such as a home invasion, a concert shooting or a school shooting), which prompts consumers to implement security devices at their location.

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