THE MAGAZINE

Effective Physical Security, Fourth Edition

By Lawrence J. Fennelly; Reviewed by Paul D. Barnard, CPP

Effective Physical Security, Fourth Edition. By Lawrence J. Fennelly. Butterworth-Heinemann; available from ASIS; item #2064; 365 pages; $65 (ASIS members); $72 (nonmembers).

Lawrence Fennelly has been contributing to the literature of security for more than three decades. In the fourth edition of Effective Physical Security, he again brings together the compiled work of many practitioners as well as his own knowledge and experiences. Traditional areas and issues of physical security are addressed, such as defensible space and crime prevention through environmental design. Other chapters explore the backbone of physical security, such as physical barriers, locks, safes and vaults, security lighting, access control, and fire protection and suppression. State-of-the-art subjects include video technology, biometrics, information technology systems infrastructure, and fiber optics.

The visual presentation is professional, and useful explanatory drawings, photographs, and tables are found throughout the book in addition to references to standards and published guidelines. The standards of government agencies and other recognized organizations referenced throughout the book are a valuable addition. At the end of each chapter is a list of references relating to the chapter content in lieu of a comprehensive bibliography.

There are few editorial and format recommendations that could be offered to improve the flow of the book, save that chapter 21, “Physical Security,” should become the first chapter, as it lays out a roadmap of what physical security truly is. Then, rather than just listing chapters by title, grouping the chapters by application or subject area would create a more cohesive reading of the work and understanding for the reader. Some chapters, though written by different authors, relate to the same material, such as chapters 5 and 6, “Protective Barriers” and “Physical Barriers.” Editorial integration of like material could eliminate the possibility of redundancy. 

Although Fennelly has been a security practitioner for some time, it would be helpful to the security industry to know something of the primary author and the other contributors. An author or contributor listing with the name and a brief biography could be added to the back of the book.

This book is recommended for the general reader of security literature and those with physical or general security responsibilities. It would be beneficial as a text for training and college-level courses in physical security.


Reviewer: Paul D. Barnard, CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), SFPC (Security Fundamentals Professional Certification), is a security manager for the U.S. Department of Defense. He has been a member of ASIS since 1975. The opinion expressed is solely that of the reviewer, and does not indicate the view of the U.S. government or any other organization.

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