A perimeter fence can be a great tool a business has to protect its property, people, and assets; after all, if your perimeter is fenced, you can control who is on your property and how they enter and exit the site.
Unfortunately, perimeter fences aren’t available to every organization; sometimes local zoning laws don’t allow perimeter fences. So what can you do to protect your property when your local zoning board doesn’t allow a fence, aside from moving?
First of all, you're’ not alone; we often encounter this problem when we speak to clients. Second of all, there are steps you can take - to either put up a fence or find an alternative. Before we get into those topics, however, let’s look more closely at what perimeter fences are and why businesses need them.
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Who needs a perimeter fence?
A perimeter fence is exactly what it sounds like — a fence around the perimeter of your property. It serves a few purposes: first, it defines exactly where your property line begins, so that you don’t have members of the public wandering around your site, unawares.
Second, it is a protection measure that allows you to funnel staff and visitors through access points. Perimeter fences are important for all businesses, because you should know who is on your site; it could be a malicious person, but it also could simply be someone who is not supposed to be there — like a birdwatcher walking through your landscaping or corporate park.
Those are the general reasons for a perimeter fence; you may also need a fence if you’re protecting specific property against theft (a used car lot is a good example of a business that tends to make use of a perimeter fence) or if your industry or corporate regulations require one.
If compliance and your local zoning laws are at odds, that can be a real problem, so your first step when choosing a site or planning a fence should be to double check the local zoning laws. If you’re already established you can challenge the zoning ordinances; if you’re a large local employer the town would like to keep, your municipality might make an exception for you. If not, you may have to move.
However, if you’re not concerned about compliance, there is good news: there are quite a few ways to still have and define a perimeter without a fence.
Are there alternatives to security guards? Find out here.
4 alternatives to a perimeter fence
- Lighting: There’s more than one way to define a perimeter. Lighting for example, is a tool that can be used to show exactly where your property line is. By creating a wall of light around your property, you can ensure that every part of your border is visible. For best lighting practices, read our guide on lighting your site. But do your research first: zoning boards may also enforce ordinances regarding lighting and also be cognizant of light pollution.
- Geofencing: Geofencing is a virtual perimeter set up using sensors on a real geographical area. There are several benefits to geofencing: no unsightly fences, security can be alerted when the barrier’s been crossed, and you can easily change your access set up. You may only allow people with access badges in without tripping an alarm, but if there’s a gala one evening, for example, the permissions can be changed to let guests onsite. I suggest a layer-based approach if you’re considering geofencing; you can learn more about the layers of defense here.
- Cameras: You may not have a physical fence, but cameras — specifically cameras with analytics – can put eyes on your perimeter. Analytics are important in this case; you want your cameras to have analytic capabilities, like facial recognition, license plate recognition, and even thermal capabilities, which is important in a post-pandemic world.
- Infrared beams and lasers: Infrared beams and lasers can also provide an almost invisible fence which will alert your security when someone crosses the perimeter. This can be very helpful in knowing when your perimeter has been breached, although such systems can generate false alarms when animals walk through the beam at night.
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What to consider when securing your perimeter
What should you choose? The fence alternative you select will depend on your specific location; what natural features are on your site? If your property includes a waterway or a forest, for example, you’ll need to take those features into consideration.
There is no one solution that will fit all organizations. Really think about your site and your options, and don’t necessarily rely on traditional measures. Examine new technologies — such as drones and Robotic Assisted Devices — and find the solutions that fit your site.
Need help securing your perimeter? Schedule your personalized demo today.