Athena Weapons Detection System Software

Learn How to Quantify Deterrence in Security: Weapon Screening Checkpoints

Deterrence Factor

Deterrence is the low hanging fruit of security and until now, it’s been hard to quantify. A deterrent is “a measure that discourages, complicates, or delays an adversary’s action or occurrence.  Change, delay, or outright abandonment of an attack are all options. Threat shifting, or changes in the location or tactics of an attack (rather than attack abandonment altogether) is also noted.”

Deterrence Factor
Deterrence Factor

When asked to help quantify the deterrence factor of a security checkpoint with Athena’s weapons detection software, the team studied many locations and what was happening. While Athena’s software excels at detecting and logging instances where weapons are found, the Athena team’s attention was drawn to a crucial missing piece of the security puzzle: the deterrence factor.

The Need For Deterrence Factor Data 

Deterrence plays a pivotal role in any comprehensive security strategy. However, traditional security systems often lack the ability to quantify how many individuals are deterred from bringing weapons into a facility due to the presence of security measures. This was the challenge faced by a well-known healthcare organization with 55 locations equipped with Athena WDS. Their security executives craved insights into the number of individuals who, upon seeing the system, turned around to remove weapons from their possession before entering.

Introducing Athena’s “Turn Around” Feature

In response to this need, Athena has co-developed the deterrence factor data point called the “Turn Around” feature. This innovative addition to the WDS empowers organizations to track and analyze the number of individuals who, upon approaching the system, decide against entering the system and instead retreat to secure their weapons elsewhere.

How it Works

The Athena Weapons Detection System (WDS) already collects an impressive array of data points during a weapon detection event, including:

  • Pictures of the individual
  • Time and date of the event
  • Description of the person’s attire
  • Facial scan data
  • Type of weapon detected
  • Officer’s report
  • Picture of the weapon
  • Contact information for item retrieval

With the “Turn Around” feature, a new data point is added to this comprehensive collection. When an individual approaches the WDS but does not pass through, the system registers this as a “turn around.” This data is then logged and made available for analysis.

Unveiling the Deterrence Factor

Surprisingly, the initial results from the healthcare organization revealed that the number of turnarounds in a single month exceeded the number of actual weapon detections. This underscores the significant impact of deterrence and highlights the importance of understanding this aspect of security.

Armed with deterrence factor data points, organizations can gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of their security measures. They can identify trends, assess the impact of different security protocols, and allocate resources more effectively to further enhance deterrence and safety.

For more information on the concept of deterrence and its effectiveness, refer to this resource:


Athena’s deterrence factor feature named “Turn Around”  captures a key data point on deterrence which is often overlooked, making Athena’s system more valuable than ever before for any organization. By shedding light on the deterrence factor, it empowers organizations to make data-driven decisions that strengthen their security posture and create safer environments for everyone. This innovation reinforces Athena’s commitment to its customers to give them what they need to help save lives.



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