Terror Attack in London: What We Know

terror attack in London shows why we need security

It seems that using a vehicle as a deadly terror weapon in densely populated urban settings is becoming a common tactic. Earlier this week, a British man intentionally drove his car into a group of cyclists. The attack occurred outside of the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament in London, England.

Security cameras showed the car slamming into the group before it jumped the curb and crashed into barricades outside of Westminster.

No one was killed in Tuesday morning’s attack. The three injured cyclists were treated at the scene.

Ironically, the barricades were erected after the March 2017 vehicle terror attack. That incident resulted in the deaths of four pedestrians, one police officer and the driver. 

The Response

Police acted quickly. Hundreds of officers were on the scene within seconds, according Independent.co.uk, pulling the driver from the vehicle. He did not resist and in fact waited for officers to arrive.

The area around Parliament Square was sealed off. No one was able to enter or leave the area and workers were not able to go to their offices. The local subway station, or the Tube, was event shut down temporarily.

The Suspect

The man arrested was 29-year-old Salih Khater. He is originally from Sudan but is a British citizen who resides in the Birmingham area. He is being held on suspicion of preparing an act of terror and police report he is not cooperating.

The Terror Threat in Britain

According to Prime Minister Theresa May, Britain is facing a severe terror threat and there has been an increase in terror investigations since March. In 2017 the terrorism-related arrests reached 412. That’s 20% of all terror-related threats in the past seven years.

The Bottom Line

Incidents such as this should alert populations in all countries to the danger of terror attacks by lone individuals. These “lone-gunmen” can strike when we least expect it.

Unfortunately, urban areas are particularly attractive because they are target-rich environments. We can secure certain areas with barricades, but they are only effective when people are behind them. As this latest attack shows, pedestrians, cyclists and those outside of vehicles in open places are susceptible. Because of that, we all need to be vigilant and take extra steps to protect those we care about the most.

If you want more information about how American Security Force can help, call us at 855-722-8585.

Police Deaths: 37 Shot and Killed in 2018

police deaths are up in 2018

As of the August 9, 2018, the number of police deaths from gunfire is at 37.  If the current trend continues, this year could be one of the bloodiest we’ve experienced in the last decade.

2018 Police Deaths

Cops are being shot and killed at an average of five per month. At the present rate, there could be 60 police deaths this year. That would rank 2018 as the third deadliest year for cops in the last ten years.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, February was the year’s worst month with nine officers killed by gunfire. Police died in Colorado, California, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Alabama and Maryland. There were also two officers killed in Ohio in the same incident in the Columbus suburb of Westerville.

Police Deaths Historically

Compared to this time last year, 2018 is out-pacing 2017. By August 6, 2017, there were 29 police deaths. We are already eight beyond that number this year.

To get a broader view of how 2018 is measuring up over the last decade is difficult. There are still nearly five months left in the year. However, we can compare the number of police deaths between January and July for each year to get an idea of how 2018 is shaping up:

  • 2018 – 36 between January and July
  • 2017 – 28 (out of 43 total)
  • 2016 – 33 (out of 65 total)
  • 2015 – 17 (out of 41 total)
  • 2014 – 27 (out of 48 total)
  • 2013 – 20 (out of 32 total)
  • 2012 – 21 (out of 48 total)
  • 2011 – 45 (out of 68 total)
  • 2010 – 37 (out of 59 total)
  • 2009 – 28 (out of 48 total)
  • 2008 – 25 (out of 41 total)

2018 has the second most cop killings when you compare seven-month periods with 36. It follows 2010, which had 37.

To put that year in context, the total number of police deaths was 59 and that made 2010 the second deadliest year for cops over the ten-year period. The worst was 2011 with 68 police deaths.

The Bottom Line

We don’t know what will happen over the next 4 ½ months. But there is a strong likelihood that more cop murders will occur.

There have been an average of 16.8 cop killings during the last four months of each year. If that holds true, we could experience 53 police deaths this year.

In such a dangerous world, you need to take steps to keep your property and loved ones safe. Call American Security Force at 855-722-8585 to learn how.

Security Company or In-House Guards? Which Should You Hire?

security company is more cost effective

So you’re considering adding a security team to your business but you’re not sure if you should hire in-house guards or contract with a security company.

Both have costs associated with them. But working with a security vendor could prove to be more cost effective than hiring a full-time staff. Here’s why.

Hiring Costs

There are always costs associated with hiring. Advertising the job, searching through resumes, interviewing candidates. Each of those has a cost associated with it. Hiring costs are not an issue when working with a security vendor.

Wages, Benefits and Payroll Taxes

These are all costs associated with employees. They will also be costs your organization pays when you hire an in-house team. An outside security supplier handles these expenses and you simply pay the rate negotiated in your contract.

Vacation

Full-time Employees occasionally need time off and that happens in the form of vacation. Simply put, that is an expense you pay with no work in return.

A security company handles vacation for its guards internally. You won’t need to deal with that expense or the issue of finding someone to cover the employee who is out. It’s all taken care of by the security company.

Training

New employees need training. Whether it happens in-house or away by a third party, there is a cost associated with it. An outside security provider takes on those costs and only charges you the rate in your contract.

Uniforms

Once your employees are hired and trained they will need uniforms and boots. That means your company will be purchasing them for each team member.

Equipment

Security guards can’t function effectively without the right gear. Whether its radios, flashlights, batons or other items, your business will be writing the check to equip your security team.

When hiring a security vendor, the guards who will be posted at your location will come equipped for the job, with no added expense to you.

Management Time

Employees need managed on a day-to-day basis. Even if you have a security manager on your team, that person will require direction from upper management and that means valuable time is being spent.

But once a contract is worked out with a security company, those guards take their direction from that vendor. The vendor manages their personnel on your behalf as per the terms of your contract.

Security Company Costs

Prices might vary from one security company to another, but they are all based on the same variables: The overhead costs of that company, the pay rate of the guards, and the company’s profit margin. When you add those items together, it equals the billing rate.

Of course, when you contract with a security company, you are locking in a rate for the term of the contract. That means budgeting becomes easier and simpler for you.

The Bottom Line

Hiring an in-house security staff has a significant number of costs associated with it. Some are not so obvious at first glance. While security company rates might vary, that cost will not change throughout the life of the contract with that vendor.

Of course there’s an added benefit associated with using a security supplier: They are experts at what they do.

If you want to learn more about hiring a security vendor, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585.

Homicide Rates in California

homicide rates in the worst California cities

The homicide rate in California rose again in 2016.

It’s a dangerous world out there. Unfortunately, the natural beauty and allure of California does not make it immune to violence. Our state has always had its share but in some cases it grows beyond what it should be.

The most recent data available from the FBI shows that the number of homicides increased in our state for the second straight year in 2016. It’s not a surprise to see that high homicides rates are more commonly seen in cities with high poverty.

Homicide Break Down by City

The Sacramento Bee listed the top cities in California with the highest homicide rates. These rates were calculated as the number of homicides per 100,000 residents. They breakdown as follows:

     1. Compton

It’s a city of 98,861 with a poverty rate of 27%. In 2016 Compton had 35 murders giving it a whopping 35.4 homicide rate!

     2. San Bernardino

A city of 217,303 that has a poverty rate of 29%. This town experienced 62 murders in 2016. The homicide rate is 28.5!

     3. Salinas

This city in Monterey County saw 35 murders in 2016 and has a poverty rate of 15%. With a population of 158,279, it has a homicide rate of 22.1.

     4. Oakland

Located on the Bay east of San Francisco, this city has a poverty rate of 19%. Its 242,998 residents saw 85 murders in 2016! That gives Oakland a homicide rate of 20.

     5. Richmond

This city is located north of Oakland on the Bay. It has a population of 110,868 residents and a poverty rate of 15%. In 2016, Richmond experienced 49 murders giving it a 15.9 homicide rate.

     6. Stockton

Located east of Oakland and south of Sacramento, Stockton has a population of 308,348 and a poverty rate of 18%. In 2016 there were 49 murders there, giving it a 15.9 homicide rate.

Of these six cities, four are satellites of larger cities. Compton and San Bernardino are neighbors with Los Angeles while Oakland and Richmond are just across the Bay from Francisco. These smaller cities could be poor suburbs where those with low socio-economic status have ended up living.

Cities with No Murders

But it’s not all bad news for Californians. There were six cities with populations over 110,000 that all had zero murders in 2016. Following the correlation between poverty and homicides, it’s important to note that five of the six all had poverty rates well below 10%. Only one, Murrieta, was above that number with 12%.

  1. Fremont – Population: 235,881; Poverty rate: 3%
  2. Elk Grove – Population: 169,742; Poverty rate: 7%
  3. Roseville – Population: 132,566; Poverty rate: 7%
  4. Thousand Oaks – Population: 129,853; Poverty rate: 8%
  5. Carlsbad – Population: 115,040; Poverty rate: 5%
  6. Murrieta – Population: 111,043; Poverty rate: 12%

The Bottom Line

Compared to the rest of the country, our state has a homicide rate of 4.9. That’s more than Massachusetts (2.0) and New York (3.2), but less than some other large states such as Texas (5.3), Florida (5.4), Ohio (5.6) and Illinois (8.2).

Our nation seems to be growing angrier, less patient and more violent with each passing year. Unfortunately, California is not immune to this trend. If you want to learn how you can protect your loved ones, employees and property, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585.

School Security: The Latest News

School security the latest news

Last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) spoke to a group of community leaders in Danville, Kentucky. The subject was school security and what could be done to stop the recent spree of shootings.

“I don’t think at the federal level there’s much that we can do other than appropriate funds,” McConnell said. But he added that those funds could be sent back to the states for the purpose of improving school security, something he believes each district should direct.

His comments come six months after two Kentucky students were shot and killed at Marshall County High School. Just a few weeks later, 14 students lost their lives in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“It’s a darn shame that’s where we are but this epidemic is something that’s got all of our attention. And I know it’s got the attention of every school superintendent in the country.”

So what is happening around the country to improve school security? Here is a brief look.

Texas

Last month, Texas lawmakers were considering legislation that would arm more teachers and staff members. However, this move was met with resistance from parents and teachers who wanted to keep guns out of the school buildings.

While the legislature considered new laws, Governor Greg Abbott held round tables on school safety. Of the 120 people invited to the discussions, only one was a member of a school district police department.

Independent school police officers feel they should have a say in any new policies. After all, it would be their job to carry out the new policies protect.

Finally, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced that he donate metal detectors to the Santa Fe School District. The manufacturer, Garrett Metal Detectors, will also be donating the devices. Ten died in May during a school shooting in that district.

The metal detectors will be sued to fortify entryways at school buildings.

Ohio

In Butler County, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton School District has decided to allow trained school staff to carry firearms. SecurityInfoWatch.com reports that these staff members will primarily be former police or military personnel.

The school district also decided to begin using handheld metal detectors randomly on students.

Pennsylvania

While shootings are the over riding concern for the country’s school districts, it’s not the only type of violence happening in the buildings.

Philadelphia school unions demand action in June to protect school teachers and staff. There have been nearly 150 assaults on the staff by parents. “Some parents now think that it’s OK to assault the people charged with keeping their children safe,” said the president of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators.

New York

The Lockport City School district is installing 300 new surveillance cameras in ten different school buildings. They will be tied to software that, using facial recognition technology, will be able to identify criminals, sex offenders and other people who have been denied access to the building.

But according to SecurityInfoWatch.com, the New York Civil Liberties Union is moving to block the installation of this system because of privacy concerns.

School Security: The Bottom Line

Education is not the responsibility of the federal government. But D.C. does have a responsibility to protect its citizens. So sending funding back to the states for use in bolstering school security is the right move. It allows individual districts to pick and choose the security improvements they need, ultimately making each school a safer place for kids.

If you have questions about hose to improve the security at your business, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585.

Protests: Why Businesses Should Prepare

protests are a threat to businesses

It seems like large, public protests are occurring more frequently. While the nature of a protest is designed to be disruptive in order to get media attention, this latest form has involved violence and property damage.

As a result, these gatherings are not just impacting those they are directed against.  Businesses in the area of these marches are often damaged, costing millions.

While it is the right of every citizen to protest, they don’t have the right to damage property and endanger people.

What is the Risk?

Over the last few years, there have been protests that began as peaceful demonstrations that soon degenerated into violent encounters. This presents a real risk to businesses.  It can be as small as a disruption in operations and as large as a direct physical assault.  The lives of customers and employees could also be in danger. As Kingdom.co.uk explains, “Protestors may aim to damage an organization’s reputation, damage them economically and even injure people associated with them.”

The Cost of Protests

When these gatherings become violent, they have economic costs that can easily climb into the millions. GoBankingRates.com reports that some of these are associated with police costs. Just last year, the City of Philadelphia paid out an additional $2.85 million for an Anti-Trump rally. In December 2014, an anti-police-brutality march cost the City of New York a whopping $22.9 million in police overtime!

Property damage is another cost of these violent gatherings. The protest during the 1999 World Trade Organization meetings cost the City of Seattle $20 million. But that number is small when compared to the $446 million in destroyed property from the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

But that economic cost can continue over time, as well. After the 1992 riots, the city lost an estimated $4 billion in taxable sales over the following decade!

The bottom line is this: Businesses are often innocent bystanders to the violent happenings during these events. Yet they can suffer significant damage from them and see their insurance rates soar because of them.

Minimizing the Risks

The first step to reducing your risk is to perform a security audit. Identify those areas of weakness and develop solutions to strengthen them. If you don’t have a full-time security professional on staff, then partner with a third-party security provider.

If you feel your business location is close to a future protest site, then review and update your external and internal security processes, as well. Adding security guards or increasing your present team, is another way to add a layer of security to your facilities while also providing a very visible deterrent.

The Bottom Line

Taxpayers are not the only people paying the extra costs of protests, property owners do, as well. That includes business property. To ensure these marches don’t negatively impact your organization, be sure to take steps to evaluate your present security level and forge ahead with a plan for making improvements.

If you would like to hear how we help our business clients enhance their security, call American Security force at 855-722-8585.

Burglaries: The Worst U.S. Cities

burglaries run high in some cities

One of the core services that physical security personnel provide is protecting property from burglaries. Dictionary.com defines burglary as a break-in with the intent to steal.

According to the FBI, there were 1,579,527 of these crimes in the U.S. in 2015. A majority of those, 57 percent, were forced entries while 35 percent were unlawful entries.

Most Burglarized U.S. Cities

Working with FBI data for 2015, the most recent statistical information available, ADT recently posted information on their blog about the most burglarized urban areas in the country. They rated the cites based on a per capita basis, looking at the number of burglaries per 10,000 people of their population.

The city with the most per capita was Bastrop, Louisiana. The population there is 10,773 and there were 429.8 burglaries per 10,000 people.

The cities that appeared on the Top 10 list include:

  1. Bastrop, LA – 429.8 per 10,000 people
  2. Blytheville, AR – 347.2 per 10,000 people
  3. Lumberton, NC – 341.2 per 10,000 people
  4. Laurinburg, NC – 285 per 10,000 people
  5. Hammond, LA – 275.8 per 10,000 people
  6. Anniston, AL – 269.4 per 10,000 people
  7. College Park, GA – 235.2 per 10,000 people
  8. New Castle, PA – 233.5 per 10,000 people
  9. El Dorado, AR – 220.5 per 10,000 people
  10. Danville, IL – 219.9 per 10,000 people

As you can see, no California cities appear in that Top 10 list.

California Burglaries

ADT went on to provide data on the most burglarized cities in each state. For California, that town was California City. The population there in 2015 was 12,218 and that area experienced 204.3 burglaries per 10,000 people. That rate is higher than what any of the larger cities in the state experienced.

Worst States for Burglary

If you’re curious about which states are the worst for these crimes, CheatSheet.com provided a Top 5 list. The ranking here is based on the number of burglaries in 2015 per 100,000 people:

  1. Mississippi – 828 burglaries per 100,000
  2. New Mexico – 819 per 100,000
  3. Nevada – 773 per 100,000
  4. Arkansas – 760 per 100,000
  5. Louisiana – 759 per 100,000

The Bottom Line

Burglaries cost the country a significant sum in 2015. The victims of those crimes lost an estimated $3.6 billion in property. The total number of burglaries that year accounted for 19.8 percent of all property crimes.

If you want to protect your property or business from burglaries call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585.

Security Guard Requirements: What Does it Take?

security guard requirements ensure the industry is professional

We often get asked about how someone gets a job in security? What are the security guard requirements? Becoming a security officer involves successfully completing a licensing process that is handled through the State of California.

Qualifications

First and foremost, prospective guards must be high school graduates. Then they must go through the process of getting their license from the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. Having a license is also referred to as having your “guard card.”

It involves enrolling in an 8-hour. This is also known as a “guard card course.” According to PDSClasses.com, it can often be completed in one day.

Costs

While there is a cost associated with applying for your card guard, it is not significant. SecurityGuradTrainingHQ.com explains that there is a $50.00 charge for the application if you apply online. Along with that is a $1.00 convenience fee.

Applicants must also submit their fingerprints for a background check using LiveScan. The Department of Justice charges $32.00 while the Federal Bureau of Investigations fee is $19.00.

Can You Work with What a Felony Conviction?

We’re often asked if those convicted of a felony are able to apply to work in security? That answer is yes. SecurityGuardJob.net reports that as long as you have received a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the State of California, you can apply to be a guard.

In our state, a person may not be denied any type of professional or business license based on a felony conviction for which they have been rehabilitated.

Earnings

If you’re curious about working in security, you might also want to know what the pay range for a guard is. According to Sokany.comhttps://www.sokanu.com/careers/security-guard/salary/california/, the average wage for a security guard in California is bout $13.66 per hour.

But that number is an average. Wages typically start around $9.56 and can go as high as $19.86 depending on the security guard’s working experience.

ASF’s Security Guard Requirements

At American Security Force, we require additional training on top of what the state requires. Our officers go through on-the-job training in general security as well as training for specialized areas.

The Bottom Line

The expectation of security professionals today is much higher than it was in years past. The state’s security guard requirements today ensure that officers are trained and prepared for to work in the industry.

The additional training that American Security Force requires ensures that our guards deliver the most professional security services you can find.

If you want to protect your business and employees, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585 and hear how we can tailor a plan for your organization.

Dangerous Cities: The Top 100

Dangerous cities list in America

Recently Alarms.org released their Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in America list. There were some surprising results and conclusions from this list. Most notably for the State of California is that no city made the list until Number 20.

Income Equality is to Blame

With recent school and mass shootings in the news, one might believe that a contributor to this rash of gun violence might be lax gun laws. However, that’s not the conclusion of this study.

According to Alarms.org, “Where there is a high poverty rate, and little opportunity to earn a decent wage, we find high homicide rates and a prevalence of other types of violent crime.”

The Results

East St. Louis, Illinois was the number one city on this list with 4,888 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The St. Louis suburb has been crime-ridden for decades and, unfortunately, is no stranger to this list.

The remaining cities in the Top 10 include:

  • Darby Borough, Pennsylvania,
  • Opa Locka, Florida,
  • Florida City, Florida,
  • Flint, Michigan,
  • Detroit, Michigan,
  • Saginaw City, Michigan,
  • College Park, Georgia,
  • Prichard, Alabama,
  • West Memphis, Arkansas.

Dangerous Cities In California

The first California metro are to make the Dangerous Cities list comes in at number 20. It is Oakland with 1,734 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

Number 44 is Emeryville located close to Oakland. It has 1,411 violent crimes per 100,000. Stockton ranks 57with 1,337 and the last California city on this list is Compton at number 79 with 1,195.

Though Compton is just south of Los Angeles, it is worth noting that LA does not appear on this list. Nor does any other suburb of the city.

The Bottom Line

Gun Control advocates will argue that there are not enough strict gun laws on the books right now, which is why we keep seeing incidents of gun violence. But these results do show us something different.

Each of dangerous cities is a poor socio-economic area. That fact has something to do with the amount of gun violence happening within their borders.

Are you looking for solutions to protect your property and employees? Call American Security Force today at 877-722-8585 to learn how we can develop a security plan that fits your needs.

School Shooting: Texas School is the Latest

school shooting in Florida underscores need for security

A school shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas has resulted in eight students and two teachers dead and 13 wounded.

Another Deadly School Shooting

17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis is the suspected shooter. Before school on May 18, he entered his parents’ bedroom and took a shotgun and pistol from the closet, reports SacBee.com.

Dressed in a trench coat, he opened fire on his peers in the art room of his high school shortly after the start of class. NYTimes.com states that his plan was to kill some of his fellow students and then turn the gun on himself. But he chose not to commit suicide.

According to CNN.com, after his arrest Pagourtzis told authorities that he targeted people he didn’t like. He also mentioned that he allowed those he did like to live so that they would tell his story.

A Victim of Bullying

While the motive is not clear, the father of the alleged shooter, Antonios Pagourtzis, commented in an interview that he believes his son was under a lot of pressure. He guessed that something traumatic may have happened that lead to the incident, such as being bullied.

Red Flag Laws

In the wake of the incident, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a supporter of gun rights, is considering “Red Flag” laws for the state. Reuters.com reports it’s a move to keep guns out of the hands of those a judge has already determined to be a danger to themselves.

Abbott formed a panel made up of members from the Texas State Rifle Association and the pro-gun-control Texas Gun Sense. The group discussed mental health issues in schools, safe gun storage in homes and the red flag options.

The Bottom Line

Some districts have adopted security measures after last February’s deadly incident in Parkland, Florida. But not all schools have, nor has there been a nationwide initiative to harden these soft targets.

Physical security personnel and practices need to be put into place at every school in our country to ensure that another school shooting doesn’t happen.

Do you want to protect your workplace and employees? American Security Force can help. Call us today at 855-722-8585 for a security assessment.