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Looking Ahead: Emerging Trends in Private Security

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Working with clients in a wide range of industries across the country, we encounter—and implement—a number of best practices. Technology seems to be the common thread uniting many of these innovations. As devices and software become more powerful and affordable, more organizations are investing in systems and tools to make their operations more effective and efficient.

Following are some of the top trends we’re seeing in security, based on internal operations, industry resources and professional experience:

• Increased video surveillance. While the use of camera surveillance in the U.S. is much lower than in Europe, we expect this technology to become more prevalent over the next five years. Video footage has proven valuable in investigating incidents, such as the Boston marathon bombing and recent incidents in England, and Americans are slowly accepting—and in some cases expecting—the use of video surveillance.

• Central monitoring. More companies are looking for centralized command centers, known as Global Security Operations Centers or GSOCs, that can control multiple facilities from a single location. Previously, the technologies used for various security functions—such as access control and surveillance—didn’t communicate well with each other, presenting integration challenges for a single facility. New software bridges that gap and makes it possible for organizations to consolidate their security systems.

• Real-time security reports. Smartphone apps allow our officers to monitor tens of thousands of checkpoints each day in real time. This information populates our quality control system, which allows management and clients to review site information at any time. Improvements in efficiency may reduce the number of security personnel, while freeing members of the security team for more sophisticated assignments.

• Insurance discounts for security.  On the personal side, some insurance companies offer lower auto premiums for safe drivers, as reported by devices that monitor and transmit information about a vehicle’s operation: speed, following distance, braking intensity. It makes sense that commercial insurers will reward those organizations that have taken extra steps to protect their people and property with video surveillance, employee education and security teams.

To discuss how your facility can capitalize on the above trends in security, call Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

June 27th, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Security Lessons from British Terror Attacks

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The recent attack near a London mosque marked the fourth terror assault on British soil in three months. These incidents demonstrate continuing trends in terrorism, with sobering security lessons.

Today’s terrorists have shifted tactics from well-organized, large-scale attacks to super-efficient strikes executed by small groups and individuals. This change presents the dual challenge of more potential attacks and decreased likelihood of law enforcement infiltration.

In addition, the attackers are methodical and smart, applying the same sophisticated planning as career criminals. Their ability to study and surmount security measures requires consistent creativity from protectors.

Challenges of Concentric Circles

For decades, law enforcement and private security have safeguarded property and individuals by creating multiple layers of protection, like an onion. This same approach is used for the White House and Buckingham Palace, as well as for special events, like concerts and award ceremonies. Each successive layer is more secure than the previous perimeter, with the greatest attention naturally focused on entry points.

“We’ve created our own security problem,” says Glenn Burrell, CPP, president of Sunstates Security. “These perimeters do a great job of keeping out attackers, but they create a secondary target.”

In addition, the May bombing at Manchester Arena revealed another weakness, changing the security game.

“Typically, few security personnel are posted at the exits,” says Burrell. “Now we have to think long and hard about managing exit strategies. For instance, we may need to create another perimeter at the exit to stop anyone from going in after an event.”

Additional Takeaways

Responding to this ongoing threat requires less reaction and more analysis, supported by training and increased situational awareness.

Understand the enemy. Security teams need to put themselves in the shoes of the perpetrators to detect and shore up vulnerabilities. These individuals prepare attack strategies. They study the protective measures in place and adapt their plans to minimize risk and maximize the impact. Security personnel should follow the same practice on a regular basis and revisit policies and procedures to curtail weaknesses.

Look for patterns. During Burrell’s service with Scotland Yard, he participated on surveillance teams that followed bank robbers for weeks as they conducted dry runs in preparation for a heist. Security teams need to watch for patterns and unusual behavior, calling attention to such individuals. This type of analysis allowed the FBI to thwart an attack against a Southeastern synagogue last year. The would-be assailants had been captured on camera and recognized during repeat reconnaissance trips.

Expand training and education. Both security and non-security personnel need to learn about the tactics of would-be attackers. The insidious and pervasive nature of this threat makes security everyone’s responsibility. Employees must also look for and report unusual behavior. Security teams, in turn, need to respond to, and communicate, with such informants to encourage such information sharing.

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization review and adapt its security procedures, please call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

June 27th, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Civil Unrest: How to Prepare for Uncertain Times

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From the Baltimore riots of 2015 to the political protests that continue today, such disturbances are emerging as “normal” threats with which American businesses must contend. In Sunstates Security’s home state of North Carolina, demonstrations related to police shootings and women’s rights have disrupted commercial operations, requiring additional security coverage.

Part of the reason for this unfortunate trend comes from increased polarization. Data from respected organizations like the Pew Research Center shows that the ideological center is shrinking, while those occupying the right and the left are growing farther apart.

Social media has made this volatile situation even more dangerous by making it easy to coordinate pop-up protests. Although relatively small, these gatherings form quickly and drive away customers, so even peaceful demonstrations have a negative effect on local businesses.

Crimes of Opportunity

Beyond the obvious disruption caused by these events, businesses in the surrounding area also need to guard against crimes of opportunity. Statistics show that minor crimes—such as break-ins of vehicles and buildings—spike during public disorder as opportunists take advantage of the diversion.

During President Glenn Burrell’s days with Scotland Yard, he dealt with hundreds of public order events, including policing picket lines. Video cameras proved effective as deterrents because they removed anonymity from the situation; people didn’t want to be identified. To maximize their deterrent value, he recommends making the cameras as conspicuous as possible, while protecting the equipment against tampering. Facilities should post prominent signs announcing the use of recorded video surveillance.

Similarly, businesses need to do more than keep an eye on a civil disturbance. They also need to look for, and shore up, any potential weaknesses that might be exploited while the main event holds the spotlight.

Steps to Consider

Effective protection against these threats starts with awareness, recognizing the potential for such events and evaluating the specific danger to an organization.

Threat assessment. Security teams should analyze the likelihood of a civil disturbance at or near their operations. Some threats are external, such as physical proximity to a courthouse or other government structure, or to public gathering space. Internal threats may arise from negative events, like layoffs, or ideological differences. A threat assessment should include all these factors and analyze both physical and operational vulnerabilities.

Early warning. In addition to maintaining relationships with local law enforcement, companies may consider commercial solutions to monitor social media chatter. Such programs can be customized with keywords and dates to help alert organizations to protests during the planning stage.

Employee education. Enlist personnel in the security effort through training programs. Teach them to recognize warning signs and to communicate this information along an established chain of command. For additional support, a skilled security partner will likely already have courses to teach officers crowd management and nonviolent conflict resolution, which can be adapted for non-security employees.

Additional resources. For known events that could trigger a disturbance—such as a potentially unpopular court verdict—organizations at risk should speak with their security provider about backup personnel, if needed. A larger firm should have additional staff available. Some firms also offer trained special-response teams that can travel where needed for emergencies. Such efforts should address not only threats related to the primary demonstration, but also crimes of opportunity.

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization prepare for social disturbances, please call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

March 21st, 2017 at 6:47 pm

ARMED SECURITY: IS IT NECESSARY?

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Armed Security: Is It Necessary?After the Sandy Hook catastrophe, a local high school contacted Sunstates Security about providing armed security or police at every possible entrance. Such a system would not only be expensive, but also ineffective. Instead, Sunstates recommended implementing early warning mechanisms, communication, buffer zones, and safe rooms.

Lockdown protocols and safe rooms prevent attackers from accessing potential victims. The key is to build communication and early warning systems, and have those protocols in place before an incident occurs.

The presence of armed security officers could, in fact, provoke violent responses, potentially resulting in even more victims.

Best Practices for Armed Security

Sunstates President Glenn Burrell worked for 20 years in Scotland Yard, during which he served on the security detail for Great Britain’s Royal Family. Studies at Scotland Yard, which is mostly an unarmed force, revealed that armed officers were more prone to aggression and confrontation, which escalated the likelihood of violence.

More than 98% of Sunstates’ security coverage is unarmed. In the rare instances where armed protection makes sense, the firm recommends the following best practices.

  1. The right person for the job. In cases where an armed security force is necessary, recruit individuals with extensive firearms training, such as former police officers or military personnel. These individuals should also be screened for the correct psychological profile and temperament. “Simply giving a security officer a firearm and putting him or her out there is a recipe for disaster,” Burrell says.
  2. Verbal and non-verbal de-escalation skills. Defusing tension and conflict is critical to avoid violence, even if the officer is armed. Sunstates Security officers undergo extensive training in defusing conflict through verbal and non-verbal communication. This approach has proven effective in managing threats and reducing the threat of violence.
  3. Risk management. Certain assignments – like cash-based establishments in high-crime neighborhoods – are better left to police. Assigning private security officers would only place those individuals at risk. With private security personnel currently outnumbering public law enforcement by three to one, the best practice is to protect the private sector with proactive security, while freeing police to deal with criminals.

For consultation on your security needs, contact Sunstates Security today. Our specialists can help you develop a security plan tailored to your unique
situation.

Written by Sunstates Security

May 10th, 2013 at 2:57 pm

DOES YOUR PLACE OF WORSHIP NEED A SECURITY TEAM?

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Image for Houses of Worship Security Post

In December 2007, Matthew Murray walked into New Life Ministries in Colorado Springs, Colo., with Armageddon on his mind. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, two handguns, and plenty of ammunition, he walked into the front foyer of the church and started shooting. He killed two teenage sisters and wounded three other congregation members before he was shot and wounded by a security volunteer carrying her own concealed handgun. He then took his own life. 

Later it was discovered that, during the previous night, Murray had tried to gain entry into a youth mission center in Arvada, Colo. When he was refused, he shot four people, killing two of them, before he fled. He had been planning his anti-Christian rampage for some time.

This nightmare scenario is rare, but all places of worship must be aware that at some point, for any reason, they could become of the target of any number of threats, from deranged or disgruntled individuals, to thieves and vandals. In 2008, 30% of faith-based organizations suffered some sort of security threat. Seventy-five percent of those had no security measures in place.

The Uncertain Line between Open and Safe

Faith-based organizations must walk a careful line between being open, welcoming places that can bring hope to society’s “lost” and the moral and legal necessity to protect their congregations. Thanks to President Glenn Burrell’s experience on the security detail for Britain’s Royal Family, Sunstates Security knows how to strike that balance between accessibility and safety. Sunstates Security has accumulated more than a quarter million hours of experience providing security for faith-based organizations.

Large faith-based organizations are often more likely targets and – since they have larger budgets – are more likely to put real security in place, either security officers or trained congregation volunteers. For open worship centers, Burrell stresses a soft approach that includes security officers, threat identification, and employee education and vigilance. Burrell says, “Very rarely does a serious threat show up out of the blue. Matthew Murray is a perfect example.”

Burrell says, “A security team in any place of worship should start with a thorough review of security contingency procedures, then establish some best practices and adhering to them. The time to look at these things is not after the fact.”

  • Team Composition. Identify and install a security director and thoroughly screen security team members. Train them to handle communication, evacuation, and emergency response. Include medical professionals along with law enforcement or security officers on your team.  Consider building a security team of volunteers from experts within the congregation, including doctors, EMTs, FBI, Secret Service or other law enforcement professionals.
  • Medical Training. Assemble a comprehensive and fully stocked first aid room on-site. Train your safety team in first aid and CPR and instruct them to look for emergency medical ID cards.
  • Attack Response. Develop contingency plans or lockdown procedures, and have them in place in the event of an attack. Implement evacuation and emergency drills. Communicate your security procedures to your congregation, employees, and volunteers.
  • Equipment and Access. Use security equipment such as cameras, alarms, and panic buttons. Limit access to certain areas, such as classrooms or children’s centers.
  • Firearms. Every place of worship must decide for itself whether to allow its security team to carry weapons. If so, ensure that the team members are licensed (if required) and thoroughly trained to use any issued weapons properly. Educate your security team to use conflict resolution methods before resorting to weapon use.

Sunstates Security can help your place of worship develop and maintain effective security plans, including site vulnerability assessments, training, and personnel. Contact us today to find out how.

Sources

BBC News, “US church gunman killed himself”, December 12, 2007 —http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7140409.stm

New York Times, “Gunman Kills 2 at Missionary Center Near Denver”, December 9, 2007 —http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/us/09cnd-shoot.html

Written by Sunstates Security

December 10th, 2012 at 9:34 pm