Smart Security Planning: Your Key to Administration Support

Here’s how you can make the case for more resources for public safety, security and technology.

CARVER Method Analyzes Assets
One technique popular in the military is known as the CARVER method. Originally developed by military targeteers to select high-value targets, it can also be used to determine how many resources defenders should allocate to various physical assets.

In the CARVER method, each letter stands for a criterion of asset protection.

  • Criticality – what is the impact (economic, social, reputation, etc.) of an attack?
  • Accessibility – what is the ability to ingress and egress from a target?
  • Recuperability – what is the ability of a system to recover from an attack?
  • Vulnerability – what is the ease of accomplishing an attack?
  • Effect – what is the amount of loss from an attack as measured by the loss of production (ie., the inability to conduct classes or provide medical services)?
  • Recognizability – what is the ease of identifying the target?

Before assessing each criterion, a planner would need to identify the parameters of concern. For instance, is the threat posed by fraternity pranksters, disgruntled employees or international terrorists? This would determine the potential size and sophistication of the attack, the types of weapons and assets available to the attackers, the extent of potential losses, etc.

Once the parameters are identified, one would assemble a table assigning points for the severity of impact of a successful attack.

While the CARVER method would not necessarily be useful for an overall analysis of preventing an attack on a school or hospital, it would be applicable for determining protection priorities and the level of effort needed to protect key assets, such as generators, computer facilities, air handlers, and laboratories.

Mission-based Analysis Provides Holistic View
While the CARVER method identifies the priorities of key assets, a mission-based analysis provides a more holistic approach to the development of a security plan. The first step in developing such a plan entails identifying your organization’s priority missions. For instance, a (selected list of) college police department’s priority missions (outputs), starting with the most important, might be:

  • 1. Deter criminal/unauthorized activities
  • 2. Access control
  • 3. Situational awareness
  • 4. Public assistance
  • 5. Liaison with/assistance to local law enforcement agencies

Once the outputs of the department are identified and prioritized, the second step is to identify the inputs needed to achieve these goals. Selected inputs, categorized in five groupings (personnel, procedures, facilities, equipment, and communications) might be:
1. Personnel (Manning and Training)

  • Coverage adequate (enough officers)?
  • Educating community members on how to keep themselves safe via newsletters, safety videos, orientations, offering relevant police training and giving crime prevention tips
  • Familiarization on how to use emergency call boxes
  • Dissemination of police contact information
  • Planning regular crime prevention refresher training for officers
  • Outreach to community at new student, staff, and faculty orientations
  • Provide briefings at Provost staff meetings
  • Officer training in roll call, emergency operations and active shooter situations

2. Procedures

  • F
    amiliarization programs and liaison with other jurisdictions (walk-throughs, joint training)
  • Foot, bicycle and vehicle campus patrol coverage
  • Mass notification drills
  • Process to solicit inputs from “clients”
  • Duress codes
  • Follow-up for concerning behavior (notifications to officers on campus)
  • Process to deliver local crime trends to officers
  • Drills (evacuation, fire)
  • Outreach to parking and facilities
  • Evacuation assembly points identified and included in drills
  • Opportunity for police to participate in new construction planning
  • Building access procedures

About the Author


Dr. John Weinstein is an actively serving senior police officer and command staff member at one of the largest post-secondary academic institutions in the United States. He is a certified firearms, Verbal Judo, and CIT instructor and contributes frequently to Campus Safety and other publications.

The views expressed in his articles should not be construed as representing the official views of his present institution.

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