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.

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.

School Security: Measures Continue to be Adopted

school security measures are growing across the country

Questions about school security are being asked again after a shooting at a Palmdale, California school last week.

LATimes.com reports that an argument between two 14-year-old students at Highland High School escalated, leaving one shot in the arm. That student is expected to recover. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the call in significant numbers around 7:05 am and cleared the school.

The fourteen-year-old shooter has been charged with attempted murder.

School Security Measures Continue

Since the Parkland, Florida school shooting in February, districts around the country have been taking steps to make their schools safer. Here is what some districts are doing.

     Armed Teachers in Georgia Schools

In April, Laurens County Schools agreed to train teacher volunteers on how to safely carry guns on school grounds. Now, three more Georgia districts are set to vote on similar steps this month.

     New Threat Alert Phone App Being Used

The system is called In Force, and it ties the administration in schools to police dispatchers and cruisers through the app. Use of the system when there is an active shooter situation can reduce notification times to as little as 12 seconds!

According to SecurityInfoWatch.com, In Force is in use in 60 communities in Massachusetts and has a presence in another 13 or 14 states.

     Internal Security Force in Sarasota

Last month, the Sarasota County School board decided to create its own security department. This was a major shift away from a previous program that used law enforcement officers.

    PA School Safety Plans in Executive Session

A bill in the Pennsylvania legislature would allow school safety plans to be discussed away from the public, in Executive Session. The measure is meant to help school officials who struggle to come up with security procedures for students. It also gives them the opportunity to create plans without continued public scrutiny.

The Bottom Line

While districts are moving toward making their schools safer, the Highland High School shooting illustrates that we still have work to do before all of our schools are safe.

Are you looking for ways to keep your property and employees safe? Call American Security Force at 855-722-8585 to see how we can develop a customized plan to fit your security needs.

Violent Crime Stats for California from 2017

violent crime stats for the first half of 2017

FBI.gov recently released violent crime statistics for the first half of 2017. They show a slight increase in the numbers for both the State of California and the City of Los Angeles.

Violent Crime Definition

The data compares violent crime stats from January to June for the years 2016 and 2017. For this report, the FBI defines a violent crime as an incident of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery or aggravated assault.

California

In the first half of 2016, there were 79,215 violent crimes committed. That number includes 531 murders, 3,884 cases of rape, 17,674 robberies and 28,563 aggravated assaults.

During January to June 2017 the numbers were slightly higher.   There were 20 more murders across the state, the number of rapes increased to 4,227 and the robbery cases grew to 18,274. Only the incidents of aggravated assault dropped. In the first half of 2017 there were 27,810. Another way to look at it is that in 2016 aggravated assaults accounted for 56.39% of all violent crimes. In 2017 it was 54.68%, a 1.71% drop.

See a comparison of the two years below:

  • January to June                         2016                      2017
    • Murder                                    531                            551
    • Rape                                         3,884                       4,227
    • Robbery                                   17,674                      18,274
    • Aggravated Assault               28,563                     27,810
    • Total Violent Crimes            50,652                      50,862

Los Angeles

In California’s largest city, we experienced an increase in violent crime, as well. In fact, the trends seen at the state level match what was experienced in Los Angles.

The occurrences of murder, rape and robbery all increased in 2017. But the number of aggravated assaults dropped by 33, or from 35.9% to 35.43%.

  • January to June                        2016                       2017
    • Murder                                   135                            138
    • Rape                                        1,176                         1,212
    • Robbery                                  4,943                        5,165
    • Aggravated Assault              7,958                         7,925
    • Total Violent Crimes            22,170                      22,365

The percentage of violent crimes in LA compared to the city’s population was .55% in 2016 and .56% in 2017. For the sake of comparison, the next largest city, San Diego, saw violent crime percentages at .19% in 2016 and .18% a year later.

The Bottom Line

With violent crime figures continuing to rise, it only makes sense to take steps to secure your business, your employees and your loved ones. Call American Security Force at 877-722-8585 and find out how we can secure those things you care most about.

YouTube Shooting: Another Case of Workplace Violence

YouTube shooting is more workplace violence

A 39-year-old YouTube creator became frustrated over recent changes by the service. That anger resulted in Tuesday’s YouTube shooting.

The Details

ABCNews.go.com reports that Nasim Najafi Aghdam was a content creator on YouTube. She made money from the videos she posted there. Recently, the video service changed its filters and the number of Aghdam’s viewers dropped.

Aghdam grew angry and blamed YouTube for censoring her content and not paying her for her videos. Rather than take the changes in stride, though, left San Diego, driving north to Mountain View, California, the home of YouTube.

Sometime during the morning of Tuesday April 3 Aghdam visited a gun range and then left for the video channel’s headquarters. She parked behind another business and accessed the YouTube building through the parking garage. That’s when she opened fire, wounding four people.

Aghdam then shot and killed herself.

Police Talked with Her Before the YouTube Shooting

Ironically, police talked with Aghdam just eleven hours before the shooting. CNN reports that Mountain View police found her sleeping in her car around 1:40am early Tuesday morning. She was parked about 30 miles from the YouTube headquarters.

Police discovered she had been reported missing by her family after they ran her license plate. While checking up on her, they found Aghdam to be “calm and cooperative.”

The Bottom Line

The YouTube shooting is another example of workplace violence. This one just happened to be a higher profile target. But it proves the point yet again that businesses need to conduct security audits and improve those areas that are vulnerable.

We live in an angry world and it doesn’t look like these types of events will end anytime soon.

If you want to take steps to protect your employees and your business, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585. We can develop a detailed security plan that addresses your needs.

Smartphone App for Active Shooter Situations

smartphone app for active shooter situations

A California county sheriff’s office will equip teachers in nearby schools with a new smartphone app. If all goes well, it will enhance communication and reduce response times in active shooter situations.

The move is in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. March 14 marked the one-month anniversary. Seventeen lost their lives in that incident.

Since that incident, the debate over how to offer security to our schools seems to have been reinvigorated.

Rave Mobile Safety Smartphone App

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office will be launching a smartphone app called Rave Mobile Safety. According to the company’s website, the app, “…provides organizations with innovative tools to prepare better, respond faster and communicate effectively during incidents.”

The goal for using the app is to have law enforcement arrive at the scene faster.  As a result, the length of the shooting incident will be shortened, thus saving lives.

Included in the smartphone app is a large red button labeled “Active Shooter.” Pushing it notifies the local authorities that a shooting incident is happening. Teachers or administrators can also communicate with the entire school or campus in seconds, informing them of the situation and providing safety instructions.

The Roll Out

According to Security InfoWatch.com, teachers at the three largest schools in the county will test the system starting in April. The app will be implemented at the remaining schools over the summer.

It’s the first use of the app on the West Coast. The company’s website states that it is in use at over 2,000 schools nationwide.

The Bottom Line

Since the Stoneman Douglas shooting in Florida, it seems like the issue of school security has become reinvigorated. Students are protesting and demanding action from the adults in authority while new ideas such as the Rave Mobile Safety app are being implemented. These are important first steps toward keeping our children safe.

If you have questions about keeping your property or employees from harm, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585.

Police Deaths From Violence Are on the Rise

police deaths from violence are rising

In the opening months of 2018, the number of police deaths seem to be increasing.

During the evening of Tuesday March 6, a police officer in Clinton, Missouri was shot and killed when he and two other officers responded to a 911 call at a home. FoxNews.com reports that Christopher Ryan Morton, 30, had just returned to full-time duty.

The suspected shooter, 37-year-old Janes E. Waters, began shooting from inside the home. The other two officers, Nathan Bettencourt and Nicholas Kasper, were both wounded and taken to a nearby hospital.

Police Deaths In The Line Of Duty

Morton’s death marks the 26th police officer to die in the line of duty in 2018, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. In the first two months of this year, 22 officers were killed while on duty and there have been 4 killed in March so far.

To put the 2018 deaths into context, consider the numbers for January and February from each of the previous ten years:

  • 2008 = 29
  • 2009 = 21
  • 2010 = 37
  • 2011 = 34
  • 2012 = 23
  • 2013 = 21
  • 2014 = 21
  • 2015 = 16
  • 2016 = 17
  • 2017 = 28
  • 2018 = 22

The 2018 total is the sixth highest on the list. While it is still more than anyone wants, this number is on the low side of the total range.

Death From Violence

But how many of those deaths have been the result of violence? Of the 22 police deaths in January and February this year, 13 officers died from gunfire. That means 84.6% of the police deaths have been the result of a violent encounter!

To put this number in perspective, here is how it compares to the violent police deaths from the first two months of the prior ten years.

  • 2008 = 6.7%
  • 2009 = 1.39%
  • 2010 = 8.89%
  • 2011 = 8.6%
  • 2012 = 8.57%
  • 2013 = 10.3%
  • 2014 = 3.2%
  • 2015 = 1.25%
  • 2016 = 10%
  • 2017 = 5.2%
  • 2018 = 84.6%

The Bottom Line

The 2018 percentage is shocking when compared to previous years. It is 74% higher than the second and third ranked years. Clearly, if the current trend continues the number of police deaths from violence could increase dramatically this year.

American Security Force calls for an end to violence against police officers. These brave men and women rush in when a community member calls, no matter what the situation might be. They put their lives on the line. Daily. Needless violence against those who are trying to serve and protect us needs to end.

We support our brothers in law enforcement. One police death is too many.

The members of the American Security Force team are specialists at security solutions. If you want to learn more about how to protect your property call us at 855-722-8585.

School Security Increases After Parkland

school security guard in parking lot

This week President Trump hosted lawmakers for an hour-long discussion at the White House. The topic: School security and restricting gun sales. The conversation came as a result of the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida where 15 lost their lives.

Reuters.com reports that the President is looking for a comprehensive plan: “You have to be very, very powerful on background checks. Don’t be shy,” he said.

School Security Being Increased

Schools around the country are also toughening up their security in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

The Union Area School District in Western Pennsylvania is putting new processes in place to address how visitors enter and exit school buildings. The district is also adding new student pick-up and drop-off systems and will use metal-detecting wands periodically.

The district’s Superintendent says the Parkland tragedy has sped up their timeline.

The EveningSun.com reports that the Southwestern School District is hiring additional security guards. The board voted this week to add six more guards. Right now, the district in eastern Pennsylvania only employs one. The superintendent hopes to have at least one unarmed guard at each of their buildings.

The Miller Place Union School District on Long Island, New York has hired four armed security guards. They began working at each of their four schools this week. Each is a retired NYPD officer and will work beside the 14 other unarmed security guards already employed by the district.

Guards: Part of the Community

Increasing school security does not mean a locked-down, prison-like environment will be created. In fact, it’s been shown on multiple occasions that security guards can become integral members of a school’s community.

Consider the beloved Kifleab Tekle. He retired from the Hockaday School near Dallas, Texas in 2016. He worked there as a security guard for 30 years.

Tekle was described as being, “the heart and soul of Hockaday,” and the “Hagrid of their Hogwarts.” Students and alumni remember his sense of humor, his jokes and his smile.

When the word of his retirement spread, a GoFundMe page was started that raised $150,000 for his retirement!

It’s a similar story for LaDonna Vaughn. She works at the Hazlewood North Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. The school’s students call her “Granny.”

Vaughn is known for her tough love approach with them and can be heard telling the boys and girls to “Make good choices.”

Students who have moved on to high school regularly return to Hazlewood North to thank Granny Vaughn for her “tough and tender” guidance.

The Bottom Line

The Parkland shooting has shown a bright light on the inadequacies of school security. If any good can come from this tragedy, it will hopefully be that lawmakers and school officials will finally take steps to comprehensively address the causes behind these events.

Adding security guards, armed or unarmed, are just one step to a larger solution. Their placement in schools should not be viewed with fear. Security guards are caring, loving people, too. They can become important, influential and memorable members of any school community.

If you want to learn more about adding security guards to your facility, call American Security Force at 855-722-8585.