Healthcare Security: Partnering on Compliance

ASF-Healthcare-Security-9-16-15Healthcare facilities experience a steady stream of people and patients entering and leaving their buildings. Whether it is a doctor’s office, a building with multiple offices or a hospital, the number of people that pass through each day can be staggering, especially in a large city such as Los Angeles. That amount of people can present multiple types of security risks to doctors, staff, patients and visitors.

With the large amount of people coming and going, the most recognized task that security officers have is access management. Your security team needs to make sure that only visitors with legitimate business at the facility are granted access and that they travel to their destination without straying into secure areas.

Another area of concern is the emotional state of mind of visitors. Because of the nature of a healthcare facility, caring for the sick and dying, many people are already emotionally charged when they arrive. In that state, some allow their emotions to take control and make poor decisions. Experienced security officers need to recognize this potential and understand when it is appropriate to step into a situation.

When you have a population density like that of Southern California, it breeds tension and violence between individuals and groups. Occasionally that can spill over to the medical facility. A trained security team can prevent or minimize that activity and secure the facility until law enforcement arrives.

These are some of the more simple, straight-forward ways experienced security officers service a hospital or medical practice.  Security for healthcare, though, is much more than just managing the access to the facility or reacting to bad behavior. Supplying security services is also about being an active partner with that healthcare provider. Healthcare systems must continually work to meet regulatory compliance. A security partner needs to understand those demands and take an active role in making sure they are met.

For example, experienced security officers need be familiar with HIPPA and the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act. That familiarity can prepare them to be on the lookout for HIPPA violations concerning the protected health information of patients. This might be as simple as making sure patient information is not seen on an unattended computer screen, or that an old box of patient records is not left out near an incinerator or dumpster. Reporting these types of violations is important so that they can be avoided in the future.

Make sure your facility hires the best possible security team available by considering the following:

  • Make sure your security company has experience working with healthcare providers.
  • Ask if they understand the regulations with which healthcare must comply.
  • Be sure your security provider is able to partner with you and identify areas of compliance risk.
  • Once you have selected your security team, include them in all regulatory planning and training.

American Security Force is an experienced provider of security for healthcare facilities. We understand the demands of partnering with these health systems, and welcome the opportunity to be a trusted partner. Through our experience, we have established an effective template from which we can draw the beginnings of an individualized plan. We can create and scale a security team to meet the needs of your facility.

We can also supply Spanish-speaking officers, as well, which has proven to be very helpful in Southern California.

For more information about we can partner with your healthcare system, call American Security Force today at 877-722-8585.

How Dealers and Property Owners Can Avoid Auto Thefts to Car Hackers

ASF-Car-Hacks-8-26-15-300x225In the 1982 movie Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Captain Kirk regains control of another starship from renegades by using a code that unlocked that ship’s functions so that it could be controlled remotely. That science fiction idea seemed hard to imagine back in the 80s.

In today’s world, however, that scenario has become a fact, at least as it relates to modern automobiles. With their cellular connectivity it has become fairly simple for new models to be hacked and taken over. That represents a dangerous scenario for not just that car’s driver, but for all of us on the roads.

Cars today are computers on wheels with dozens of chips running dozens of operations. To entice potential buyers, automakers have rushed to add connectivity features to cars, but they have not thought about internet security. The cellular connection that allows our cars to make calls and connect to the web is also how hackers can remotely control the vehicle.

That control is not limited to just the cellular phone system, either. Once inside the car’s control system, an attacker can jump from chip to chip and take over systems: locks, windows and windshield wipers. Shockingly, more vital systems can also be accessed: Brakes, transmission, and steering!

Imagine driving down the freeway and suddenly finding you have no control over your vehicle! Brakes and steering don’t work and the transmission can’t be shifted into neutral. This scenario seems unimaginable!

While all makes and models don’t suffer from this lack of security, a good number are susceptible to outside infiltration. Right now, Chrysler cars are the most vulnerable.

Attackers can gain access by knowing the car’s IP address.   They get in through the system’s Uconnect cellular connection and then gain access to more important functions of the car.

In late July, Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars to repair this security flaw with a software patch. In the future, carmakers will need to think like software developers and include updated security protocols into their systems.

In the meantime, the simplest hack an attacker can make on a vehicle is unlocking the doors. Attackers could simply position themselves near any parking lot and open doors one car at a time. Once a car is open, attackers can access the ignition system and drive the vehicle away.

While automakers sort out their security concerns, property managers can keep their parking lots safe with the highly trained and professional security guards from American Security Force. By patrolling your lot, our officers can keep it secure and act as a deterrent against possible cyber attackers and thieves. Security guards can also help reduce your insurance premiums.

To learn how American Security Force can keep your property secure, call us today at 877-722-8585.



The Best Way for Retailers to Avoid Shrink

ASF-Shoplifitng-8-19-15-300x225It is the most costly property crime in the country. In 2014, retailers lost $44 billion in inventory to shrink. No other form of crime comes close to it.

Those are some of the conclusions from the 2015 National Retail Security Survey. The University of Florida conducted the survey in partnership with the National Retail Federation. The results were released late last month.

This survey is different from the Global Retail Theft Barometer that we reported about in April. That report looks at retail theft on a global scale. The good news is that the percentage of shrink to all retail sales was reduced in 2014 to 1.38 percent. That is the lowest this statistic has been since this particular survey started in 1991.

Unfortunately, there is a dark side to this optimistic figure. Dr. Richard Hollinger of the University of Florida conducted the survey and believes that one of the reasons this year’s number was lower is because some of those stores that were hit hard by theft in previous years, closed their doors and are no longer in business. That skewed the number downward.
Continue reading “The Best Way for Retailers to Avoid Shrink”

Training Employees to Make Your Workplace Safer & More Secure

The California Department of Industrial Relations has issued Guidelines for Workplace Security. They believe, “Workplace violence has become a serious occupational health problem requiring the combined efforts of employers, employees, labor unions, government, academic researchers and security professionals. The problem cannot be solved by government alone.”

Between 2000 and 2004, homicides were the leading cause of work-related deaths in California. During that same period, work-related homicides that involved a gun accounted for nearly 80% of all the deaths in the state.

You may have a legal obligation to safeguard your employees, and may have to demonstrate that you are taking steps to do so. Many businesses have taken that important first step of hiring a security company to provide onsite guards.

Other actions you can take include:

  • Installing brighter lighting in your parking lot,
  • Issuing photo ID badges to employees,
  • Furnishing coded key cards for building access,
  • Providing training on workplace safety.

With these steps in place, you can prove you are proactive about safety and security.

More importantly than physical security additions, it’s important for employees to understand criminals. They will, after all, strike when it best suits them.

Your employees need to understand that they might be targeted when coming and going from the office, in elevators, seldom used stairwells or quiet parking structures. Security guards can’t be everywhere.

When everyone is aware of suspicious behavior and trained to lookout for it, the likelihood of averting criminal attacks becomes higher.

Personal doesn’t end at your property line, though. In today’s world, there are many employees that work from home, or telecommute. The “safety mindset” that you’re trying to create applies to these employees, as well.

Often, because they are not traveling to an office, work-from-home employees believe they are insulated from work-related safety risks. This belief can make telecommuters complacent. Because their productivity is important to your business, their home security should be, as well. Make sure these employees are included in your training with content appropriate to their situation.

Some safety topics that should be addressed include:

  • Understanding that crime is a planned process and helping employees recognize pre-crime surveillance behavior by criminals;
  • Understanding the “victim-selection” process, and stopping it;
  • Recognizing threats;
  • Situational Escalation versus De-escalation;
  • Developing strategies for employees who open the business early, or close it late;
  • Safety in elevators, parking lots and other areas;
  • For those employees that travel, selecting the right hotel room and travel safety;
  • Recognizing and avoiding domestic violence spill over into the workplace;
  • Dealing with questionable strangers in isolated environments;
  • Working from home;
  • How to deal with erupting violence at a client’s facility.

To ensure the safety of your employees and customers, management must commit to taking safety steps and providing employee training. It will require the day-to-day involvement of managers, supervisors, employees and labor unions.

American Security Force’s consulting services can help assess the security threats your business faces, and develop a custom plan that ensures your employees safety and security. Call today at 877-722-8585 to set up an appointment.



Is Unarmed Security the Right Choice for Your Business or Property?

security guard companiesAre you considering unarmed security for your business or property? There could be some real reasons why you should. At the same time, there are real reasons why you shouldn’t, as well.

Unarmed security really means you are equipping your security officer with non-lethal force. The decision to do that, or not to do that, needs to be considered carefully. An unarmed security guard on your premises means you have introduced that serious threat to your business, your employees and your visitors.

Often the presence of a uniformed security guard is deterrent enough. That visual impact of a guard on duty persuades some who are thinking about robbing or attacking to move on.

For businesses or properties in bad areas, though, an unarmed guard might not be sufficient. They can only do so much and can be over powered when out-sized or out-numbered. If this happens, the business, the employees and possibly its customers could all be at risk.

In these situations, a bigger unarmed security guard team may be the right solution. A guard with a weapon represents an amplified deterrent. Knowing that a bigger security force is now a real possibility, most wrongdoers will decide not to act. When a trained, professional guard team is more present, it means your business and property are better protected.

There are as many drawbacks to bigger unarmed guard teams. In many instances, a hostile situation will not escalate simply because the security officer could have greater backup more quickly than a sparse security team. There is also the high probability that once that once the security guard call for backup, the hostile situation de-escalates quickly.

Bigger unarmed security teams are generally more expensive, for obvious reasons. You won’t just be paying more for the added security level, you’ll be providing a much safer environment, as well. Before deciding, examine your situation carefully to make sure bigger security patrol team is the right solution for your business or property.

Consider your location and what’s happening there. If there have been frequent attacks, you may need a bigger security presence. You should also ask what the businesses around you are doing. If they have all hired more security guards, you should consider doing so, as well. You don’t want to be an easier target by being the only business on the block without it.

Also, check with your employees. How would they feel about a bigger security guard presence on the premises? Would they feel more secure, or would it make them uneasy?

It’s also a good idea to consult with your attorney and insurance agent. See what your options are, and ask if your insurance gives you a better rate for being better protected.

To find out more about a bigger unarmed guard presence, call American Security Force. We are a leading supplier of unarmed security in Southern California. Our unarmed guards are highly trained in all aspects of security and safety. They have to be. The City of Los Angeles has mandated such training for all security guards. We’re proud to say that all of our security patrol guards have successfully completed thorough security training. This training is one of the many reasons why we are one of the most trusted security guard companies in Los Angeles.

Call us today at 877-722-8585 and see how we can develop an individualized security plan that fits your needs and protects your business or property.


Retail Security: Saving You Money by Reducing Shrink

A female in the act of shoplifting or stealing puts an item under her clothesWherever people gather, the potential exists for crime. This is especially true in retail locations. Malls and shopping areas attract large numbers of people. Some are there to shop and enjoy themselves, while others are there to take advantage of the crowds and go unnoticed as they engage in shoplifting.

In 2013, the U.S. experienced $42 billion in shrink. These inventory losses were due to shoplifting, employee or supplier fraud, and also administrative errors. These losses were passed on to consumers, costing American households an average of $400 in increased prices.

Unfortunately, many shoplifters go unchallenged by store staff. Employees are fearful of making a wrongful accusation. They also want to avoid an awkward situation that could turn violent.

While shoplifting was a major reason for shrink in the U.S., accounting for 37.4% of all cases, it was not the leading cause. In 2013, employee theft resulted in 42.9% of all shrink cases, making this a more complicated challenge for retailers. Other store employees may not be aware of their co-workers involvement in theft, or they may simply not want to get involved in reporting them. Thus, these crimes often go unreported.

While most retailers use some type of merchandise detector that triggers an alert when merchandise crosses the store’s threshold, blindly relying on technology will not solve this problem.

Instead, the best solution for reducing shrink is onsite security guards from American Security Force. Our professional guards are trained to detect suspicious behavior that might lead to shoplifting. They are able to step in and stop or apprehend shoplifters, where store employees might be fearful of doing so.

American Security Force guards are also independent. They are not employees of that retailer. Thus, they will not have any social anxiety when it comes to looking for and reporting employee theft.

Whether it is for fun, or out of necessity, shoplifters will take what they can where they can. Their actions have created a major challenge for retailers. The most effective means for stopping shoplifting is onsite security. Learn more about how American Security Force can reduce shrink at your retail location by calling 877-722-8585.



School Security: More is Needed to Keep Our Children Safe

ENSCHEDE THE NETHERLANDS - 02 FEB 2015: Students are walking through a hallway with lockers on a high schoolNo matter where you live or what your background might be, parents share something in common: The love for our children. We all want what is best for them as they grow up. We want to teach them to be good people, and put them in a position to succeed. As parents, we also want to protect them and ensure their safety.

Sending our children to school is a way to make sure they learn knowledge and skills that prepare them for college or some other vocation later in life. We used to think of our schools as safe places for our children. That notion, however, was challenged in 1999 when 14 students and one teacher at Columbine High School lost their lives after two students went on a shooting spree.

Columbine began a national discourse about school security. That conversation, however, did not bring the needed security changes. Consider this: After Columbine, from 1999 to 2012, another 64 school shootings took place in grades 1 through 12. Of those events, 38 were fatal shootings that resulted in 83 lives lost. That’s an average of 4.5 shootings with 5.9 deaths each year!

Then came the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, the largest such event at a grade-, middle- or high school in U.S. history. Sandy Hook shocked the nation when we learned 20 children and six adults had been fatally shot.

Security in schools was again addressed, and many school districts finally took it seriously. Main entrances at schools that were once open to all quickly became locked, with admittance only possible if you were “buzzed” into the building.

Sadly, these steps have not been enough. It’s been just over two years since Sandy Hook, and school shootings have continued. In that time, the nation experienced 44 events in grades 1 through 12. Twelve of those shootings were fatal and 50 students or adults lost their lives. That’s an average of 22 shootings with 20 deaths each year! These two-year numbers are larger than what was seen in the 14 years between Columbine and Sandy Hook.

If this trend continues we will see a larger number of school shooting deaths over the next decade than we experienced between 1999 and 2012!

Clearly, the security precautions taken after these two events has not been enough. To keep our schools and our children safe we need to institute enhanced security measures at our schools.

Trained and experienced security professionals, like those from American Security Force, can create individualized plans for school districts. Onsite security guards, patrolling buildings and campuses will act as a deterrent for those looking to harm others. Armed with the latest technology, our guards are able to report in real-time to school administrators, and provide live video of evolving situations. Our security professionals can even train staff on crisis response, as well.

Call American Security Force today at 877-722-8585 to learn about our specialized security solutions. Our children deserve a safe learning environment.



Lobby Security to Protect Your Business

Silhouette Of The Security GuardOne of the most important security areas of any business is one that is often over looked. It’s the lobby. The lobby is the main entryway for visitors into your business.

But the lobby is more than just an entryway or a place of welcome. It also serves as a buffer. It is that area where visitors enter and can either be allowed access to your facility, or be denied and turned away.

Thus, your lobby, from a security point of view, serves a vital purpose. It is the first security area inside of your building and it is where your employees will encounter visitors who may be angry or disruptive. For those visitors who are irate, if they refuse to leave when asked, or push into the business further, they are trespassing. Every state has legislation regarding this crime, and it is more common than you might think.

The City of Mesa, AZ has decided to combat the trend of business trespassing by posting tips on their website for dealing with business trespassers.

Criminal trespassing occurs in the education sector, as well, where the reasons behind the act could be due to deeper, darker motivations. In 2013, for example, a Philadelphia area school went on lockdown after a trespasser was seen loitering in the hallways. He was later arrested outside of the building.

In the State of California, where the number of gun murders and hate crimes rank as the highest in the nation, many businesses still don’t think of their lobbies as a security area. In fact, there is often little or no security there making it the most vulnerable point of entry to their facility. Because it is the public entranceway, attitudes toward allowing access during business hours can often be lax by employees.

If an angry visitor does enter your lobby, what do you have in place to keep that person from getting access to the rest of your facility? To really keep your building secure you need to consider enhanced lobby security that includes the highly trained security guards from American Security Force.

Onsite security guards have an immediate impact. Often the mere sight of a security officer will cause trespassers to reconsider their plans. For those who choose to continue on, the posted security guard can physically intervene and halt any further penetration into the building. Onsite security guards keep your employees safe, and offer a level of protection that is unmatched.

The security experts at American Security Force are experienced at developing specialized security solutions. We can assess your security situation and make recommendations for a plan based on your individual needs. That plan might involve technology solutions, live security guards, or both. Every business is different, and needs vary. Our team will recommend the best security solutions for you.

In a world where tempers seem to flare more often, and respect for others seems to be a thing of the past, onsite security guards are an effective, affordable means for protecting your employees, and your most valuable investment, your business.

Call American Security Force today at 877-722-8585 to see how we can help secure your business.


California Hate Crimes: Keeping Your Business and Property Safe

Hate crimes, social problem concept with a dark grey brick wall with spray can paint painted on the building structure as a symbol of racism and race discrimination as an illegal racial act of hatred and vandalism based on fear and xenophobia.In December, the F.B.I. released its Hate Crime Statistics report for 2013. The data on these Hate crimes was collected from law enforcements agencies around the country.

The report showed that 5,922 hate crimes occurred that year, involving 6,933 offenses and 7,242 victims. Law enforcement was able to identify 5,814 offenders responsible for these crimes.

These incidents can occur against people and organizations. Those involving people include offenses such as intimidation, assault, rape and murder. Incidents directed at organizations or institutions take the form of property damage or destruction and vandalism.

Acts against people accounted for 63.9% of the total offenses in 2013. That comes out to be about 4430 incidents.

California Ranks High for Hate Crimes

The State of California ranks first in the number of hate crimes across the nation according to the F.B.I. statistics. Its total of 1012 incidents is far and away the most of any other state. The second leading state, New York, experienced 655.

That means out of all of the 50 states, California had 14.6% of all hate crimes in 2013!   Those incidents involved one murder, one rape, 235 occurrences of intimidation, 239 assaults, and 149 aggravated assaults.

Hate crimes by their very definition are crimes of emotion, and because of that, can occur anywhere or at anytime against any segment or group. If they occur at your business or property might involve lawsuits and, ultimately, higher insurance premiums.

The saddest thing about these incidents is that they can be avoided. The best deterrent for hate crimes is security.

The security guards from American Security Force are highly trained and professional. Often, their presence alone is enough to keep criminals or those who might engage in intimidation or assault from doing so for fear of being apprehended. They are also trained to detect threats from others, and are able to predict and prevent violent behavior before it happens.

California is a beautiful, diverse, exciting place to live and work. Don’t allow the threat of hate crimes or other incidents to invade your business or property. Call us today at 877-722-8585 and learn how we can help keep you secure.



Security Company for Private Communities Southern California

Aerial view of new luxury australian neighborhoodWith the number of recent riots, suburban homeowners are taking precautions to protect their families and their investments. Across the country, upscale homeowner associations (HOA) are beginning to consider and install CCTV and regular patrols by private security.

HOAs charge dues to residents and in return provide a number of valuable services such as landscaping, pool maintenance, property management and security services. An HOA board is made up of residents who create or implement the rules, regulations and policies of a neighborhood.

Security company for gated communities Los Angeles

For some HOA boards, implementing and enforcing their rules can be a challenge. Without an enforcement body, residents are expected to follow the rules by way of the honor system. However, trusting that all of your neighbors will do the right thing does not always prove successful, and some form of security enforcement ends up being needed.

Expecting HOA board members to do enforcement is not a workable solution, either. After all, they live in the neighborhood, and are neighbors with those they would have to police.

There is also a safety factor to consider. It is becoming more common for criminals from outside of the communities to wander into them and burglarize cars and homes. To complicate matters further for HOAs in California, the State has made it a legal duty for property owners to provide a safe and secure environment.

Here’s an example of horrific condominium security. Imagine the problems and crime that the lack of adequate security can invite in your condominium, complex, or neighborhood that is governed by a homeowners association.

In this atmosphere, more and more HOAs are looking to hire private security companies, such as American Security Force, to patrol their neighborhoods. Our professional, highly trained security officers can enforce your community’s rules, while also serving as a deterrent for criminals.

Working with American Security Force means that your HOA will have a dedicated security patrol. If desired, a guard can be posted at the gate of your community, ensuring a heightened sense of security for your residents. Patrolling officers can also perform parking and traffic enforcement duties.

Call us today at 877-722-8585 to learn how we can develop a security plan that fits the needs of your community.



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