THE MAGAZINE

The Handbook of Security

By Evelyn Byrd, CPP

***** The Handbook of Security. Edited by Martin Gill; published by Palgrave Macmillan; available from ASIS, item #1708, 703/519-5200 (phone), www.asisonline.org (Web); 592 pages; $125 (ASIS members), $139 (nonmembers).

My one quibble with The Handbook of Security, is its title. It might have been more appropriately called “A Collection of Security Studies,” and one that favors theory over practice at that. While it is a collection of separate essays, they are in fact chock full of useful information from leaders in the field, making this a valuable handbook.

The list of contributors reads like a who’s who of security scholars. Unlike the legions of so-called security “experts” who have appeared in recent years, these writers have made valuable contributions to their trade. Mary Lynn Garcia of Sandia National Laboratories, for example, writes on the topic of risk management. In the book’s opening chapter, Robert McCrie of John Jay College discusses the history of security, offering an engaging analysis of walls and gates, and gives a nod to ASIS International for its role in the development of the security industry.

Martin Gill not only edits this work but also contributes a chapter on CCTV, and he may well be the most qualified person in the world to do so. He explains clearly the advantages of CCTV, and its limitations, including its overall effectiveness. Gill justifiably challenges security professionals to use sound risk management and to implement solutions that employ a “specific CCTV strategy.”

This is an excellent textbook for graduate-level security education. It is also a great read for undergraduate instructors. Senior practitioners seeking professional development and continuous improvement will find many of the latest concepts and theories described in just enough detail. However, if a reader is looking for a quick, easy read, there are less challenging texts available that cover similar material.

The Handbook of Security stands among the industry’s top references. It should be the first of many editions.


Reviewer:  Evelyn Byrd, CPP, is based in Southern California and works as an antiterrorism specialist for LJT & Associates, Inc. Her previous positions include Antiterrorism Officer, U.S. Army Garrison-Japan (Okinawa) and assessment team lead with Northrop Grumman IT for the U.S. Army Reserve Command.  She is a member of ASIS International.

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