6.2 Security patrols able to fine

This measure refers to surveillance patrols (not necessarily visible) to deter access to high risk areas and to intervene when trespassing situations are identified. These patrols are primarily security oriented and less safety oriented. Therefore, this measure is more focused on trespassing and law enforcement.
  • Visibility of patrols is a key issue of a preventive strategy. Plain clothes should not be used by security and cleaning staff.
  • It is preferred to do surveillance by foot rather than by car. This gives a more preventive effect.
  • When surveillance is done by car, mark the cars with text as ‘Rail Surveillance’. Make them visible as much as possible.
  • If the patrols are continuously on duty the effect on prevention is sustainable. If they stop the effect lasts no more than a few months.
  • When surveillance is done at night the effectiveness rises when they are given night sight camera’s (e.g. FLIR  ). Night sight will be increased to about 500 to 750 meters.
  • Security patrols can be implemented independent of other measures. It is important that they are well informed using other methods, analysis, measures. Knowledge about hotspots and the behaviour trespassers can enhance the effectiveness. Patrols should be trained to look for and recognize examples of suspicious behaviour on particular parts of stations (e.g. platform ends).
  • Concerning vandalism, patrolling should be done particularly during the period after 15 hrs (peak periods for graffiti activity and vandalism).
  • When security patrols are used to prevent trespass it helps enormously when they are authorized (if possible by law) to fine people.
  • Working together with police forces, municipal supervisors or other present security forces helps to increase the effectiveness.
  • Communicate in the media that you are performing surveillance and persons caught will be fined (if allowed).
  • On special circumstances, such as music festivals etc., when you know that there will be a lot of people, it is important that you use this as a temporary measure.
  • The ratio of surveilling persons per targeted areas has to be considered. The higher this ratio, the better.
  • Security patrols’ intervention can be effective when it is targeted and based on information.

The biggest crime associated with trespass is metal theft.

  • In the Netherlands, ProRail makes use of patrols to prevent and limit the number of copper thefts. However there is an internal discussion about the hazards and related risks that can be caused by these measures for the patrols (e.g. incidents with firearms).
  • RAILPOL   has developed a ’Copper E-book’ which is a valuable resource for Police Officers and workers in the metals sector.
  • Besides enforcement, (video)surveillance and increasing the risk of detection, there are other simple measures which can deter metal thieves:
    • increase cable depth from approx. 20cm to 1m/1,5m;
    • bury cables under cement;
    • paint copper cables in silver so that they look like aluminium;
    • use exclusive marks (e.g. logo, colour) that easily identify the origin of the materials (e.g. cables, fences, screws);
    • use GPS locators on important materials.

Security officers can also wear body cameras as part of their standard equipment. There is more and more operational experience that bodycams are an effective de-escalation tool in the interaction between a security officer and an offender.

Drones can be also be used for proactive patrolling during special events and also for on-hand incident management. Example here.

  • Significant improvement in the amount of reported safe crossing compared to unsafe crossing, with no age effects (Lobb, Harré & Terry, 2003)
  • The “High Intensity Safety Enforcement Program” (HISEP) in San Mateo identifies locations where safety violations are known to occur, and dedicates personnel at these locations during periods of heavy use to issue citations and educational flyers to pedestrians and motorists who violate safety laws (Triolo, 2008). These brochures accompany every citation to reinforce the dangers of violating safety laws. According to this author, a 47% to 87% reduction in annual violations has been achieved.
  • Punishment raised awareness towards trespassing being illegal and reduced trespass behaviour even more than public communication or education (Lobb, Harré, & Terry, 2003).
  • Horton (2009) showed globally that the association between Education & Enforcement is efficient.
  • The risk of being caught has the power to act as a real deterrent in some area, but only if the risk is real (RSSB  , 2006).
  • Ferlauto (2008) supports that active trespass or homeless persons on rail property can be easily reported by railway staff because the employee eyes are the best source of information.
  • Incident reduction on hotspot where surveillance is regularly performed is at least 27% (Evaluation on security patrols, 2006)
  • Plain-clothed transit and police officers resulted in a 40% reduction in the number of incidents and an estimated saving of UK ,000 per week (Thompson et al., 2012).
  • Implementation in the Cape Town rail system has done little to reduce injury rates (Lerer & Matzopoulos, 1996).

last update: 2022-07-20 Print