Court security – physical security

Court security is meant to maintain the honor of the judicial system by protecting the safety of all participants within and near the courthouse. The security threat could originate from the trial participants of the case when they become emotionally charged or externally from individuals not directly participating in the court process. Physical security is a system of barriers designed to detect intruders, delay the arrival of intruders at their targets or prevent them from taking any action and to deter potential intrusion. Security surveys represent a proactive procedure to avoid future security incidents by means of an on-site inspection (Jones, 2003). According to Jones (2003), various items are essential to an effective security survey of courthouse amenities; these are:

  • A description of the building, activities, existing security devices and both physical and environmental conditions should be recorded.
  • The type and construction of the building should be evaluated when surveying safes and vaults to include application of internal defense systems, locking mechanism, structure thickness, weight and attachment to the physical structure.
  • Age and condition of the fence should be considered when surveying fence lines. The ground, the interface, the fence, concrete, gravel, asphalt, and top-guard type and condition should be evaluated.
  • The grade, soil composition, the ground cover and the nearness of the perimeter to water bodies, high vehicle and railways, should be considered when inspecting the perimeter terrain.
  • Focusing on neighboring industries, the economic climate surrounding areas and the potential of the nearby proprietor security forces an inspection assessing bordering properties should be carried.
  • Site access control should be investigated by evaluating electronic entry control system, control of the vehicle entering, efficient access to control points and capability to access the control points.
  • Lighting systems and needs should be inspected by evaluating area lighting, gates, cameras, fence parking lots, access points and other structure lighting.

Security surveys are intended to locate vulnerabilities to be corrected in order to decrease security threats. Therefore, it is advisable for all court house administrators to complete the required security survey. The cost of major threats in the courthouse and the embarrassment outweighs the time and funds of a security survey.


Jones, T. L. (2003). Court Security: A guide for Post 9-11 Environments. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publishing, Ltd.

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