Is an Electric Fence System Good for Security?

Clearly, an electric fence isn’t something you can install and forget about. The questions that remain are—does your business need one, and is it enough on its own?
Electric Fence Security

Does installing an electric fence for burglars help your business, or could it actually harm it? Electric fence security can be a first line of defense when attempting to stop theft, vandalism, or trespassing. But there are lots of workarounds that allow criminals to bypass the fencing. 

Also, what if a customer, criminal, or employee comes in contact with your electric fence system? Are there some liability issues related to an electric fence that business owners must consider? 

We all know that electric fences are good at deterring animals. Before you invest in an expensive electric fence security for human burglars, consider these points.

Pros and Cons of Electric Fence Security

We can all agree that there is an ever-increasing need to develop foolproof business security. Whether your business is in an urban or rural setting, it’s a potential target. At some point, you may consider an electric fence system to deter bad behavior. Electric fencing helps industrial companies and other businesses protect against vandalism, burglary, trespassing, or anything else a criminal can come up with.

However, there are pros and cons to getting an electric fence security installation that you may not have considered. 

Benefits of an Electric Fence System

  • Electric fences are usually lightweight and easy to install. While that doesn’t mean they’re cheap, they’re low maintenance unless someone breaks through.

  • The materials found in an electric fence system are durable. You have some options when building your system, but all should withstand normal weather elements.

  • An electric fence built for humans is a very visible deterrent for burglars. These security systems are clearly marked as electrified. The keep out signs are usually quite prevalent. This makes the electric fence system a good first line of defense.

Electric Fence System Drawbacks

The problem with any static security system is that a smart criminal can figure out a workaround. That’s exactly why video surveillance uses intelligent software to outsmart criminals. 

Have you seen Jurassic Park? Remember the scene where the velociraptors were systematically testing the electric fence for weakness? That’s common in real life, too. Criminals know to test electric fences by throwing a piece of wood to break wires. Then they step away to see if there is a response from a security presence on the property. They also know to hit the insulators to break off the bracket. Rubber car floor mats are good insulators that let criminals climb over the fence. Eventually, they’ll find a way in, unless the electric fence system is combined with other types of security.

And if you saw Jurassic Park, then of course you understand what happens when the power goes out on an electric fence system.

There is one more drawback to an electric fence for burglars—they can harm more people than criminals with their shock.

Is My Electric Fence System a Liability?

Electric Fence System CCTV Security

Electric fences typically aren’t lethal for humans, but they are a potential liability. Electric fencing is built with multiple wire strands powered by a transformer. The fencing is a pulsed system, which ebbs and flows across the lines. It is this pulsing effect that keeps a 10,000-volt security system from acting as a lethal deterrent.

“Deaths from electric fences without a pulsing regulator have resulted in criminal prosecution.”

They cite a 1988 death of a woman in Maryland that resulted in manslaughter charges and a 2008 death of a six-year-old Texas child where the owner of the property line fencing pled guilty to negligent homicide.

The problem and potential danger of electric fence security is that more than criminals can get caught up in their lines. Children, animals, and even customers or your employees can receive a nasty shock from these fences. If a person or animal gets entangled with the lines, there is risk of serious injury or death. Adults with pacemakers face a real threat from these powerful security deterrents.

With fire season approaching, we should also mention that the spark from an improperly installed fence could pose a risk. Always make sure brush and debris are cleared from around the electric fence system.

Local zoning rules are typically the laws that govern electric fence installation and maintenance. They’ve come about over time because improperly installed fences sometimes do not have the pulsing effect, and instead just deliver a big full-on dose of powerful electricity. Zoning rules often require warning signs on electric fencing, and in some jurisdictions, a property owner must receive permission from their neighbors before installing a fence. Also, some zoning laws stipulate how close your electric fence can be to other electrical systems grounded in the earth, such as a phone or cable. 

There is also the issue of access for firefighters, paramedics, and police during an emergency.

Clearly, an electric fence for human deterrence isn’t something you can install and forget about. The questions that remain are—does your business need one, and is it enough on its own?

Should Your Business Install an Electric Fence System?

video surveillance cameras Electric Fence System

Electric fences can certainly work as a deterrent. However, because no single system on its own is infallible, we often recommend the use of solar-powered video surveillance cameras that are Wi-Fi enabled to monitor your business. That way, even if the electric fence goes out, you still have eyes in the sky to monitor your business. Today’s IP-cameras use AI technology to work smarter, and they operate in real-time online. Also, modern video surveillance can be combined with virtual security guards who monitor your cameras remotely 24/7. These approaches make for a much more sophisticated approach that go beyond electric fence security. Today’s criminals are sophisticated, smart, and they can bypass a stand-alone security fence. You need more to reduce the risk of trespassing, vandalism, burglary, or other criminal behaviors.

An electric fence system is one approach to combating crime. But because it can be bypassed or subject to failure, your business needs less of a one-off and more of a true security infrastructure. The team at Pro-Vigil has been designing and installing tighter business security for years. We can help your business. Contact us for the best security options to fit your goals and budget.

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