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Entry-Control Approaches
(Chapter 4   Entry-Control Technologies, Continued)

What you KNOW

A personal identification number (PIN) or special code is entered on a keypad. This is usually used in conjunction with an ID card and card reader. Alone, a PIN used on a keypad could be easily compromised by an onlooker; if used in conjunction with a card reader, the level of security is substantially higher. Sophistication of keypads runs from very simple entry devices to unique scramble keypads that effectively allow only the user to view the numbers and that scramble the numbers differently for each use.

  • Strengths: The PIN and ID card can be turned off when no longer appropriate. A stolen ID card is not enough for a trespasser to use for entry. It is also possible to automatically update an attendance database when an ID card is read and the PIN entered.
  • Weaknesses: More administrative effort is required to maintain a card system and keypad system. Except when used with a floor-to-ceiling turnstile, it is possible for an authorized person to allow unauthorized persons entry. Users can forget their PINs. Users can lend out their PINs and cards. Keypads are vulnerable to mechanical malfunction as well as vandalism.
  • Costs: Simple stand-alone keypads, hooked directly to an electric door latch, lock, or strike, may cost less than $200 for all the necessary hardware. However, installation may be difficult on an existing door. More sophisticated keypad systems that may be part of a network of keypads can cost from $1,200 to several thousand dollars.
  • An ideal application for a keypad system is for a relatively small population size that does not change often. (For example, the chemistry storage room that only the chemistry teachers have a code to enter.) For these applications, where the keypad is not subjected to abuse or a harsh environment, a keypad system can go for many years without any additional maintenance or adjustment.

 



Research Report:   The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools