Security Guards: A Dangerous Profession

security guards keep us all safe

The view of security guards in popular culture is not always a positive one. They are often portrayed as over weight, lazy and even sleeping while on duty. The reality, though is much different.

Security Guards: A Dangerous Profession

While many security guards might have quiet postings, many more put their lives at risk everyday guarding people and property.   The following news stories from the last five weeks illustrate just how dangerous the job of a security guard can be.

     December 31, 2017

Two Las Vegas security guards were shot and killed after responding to a disturbance in one of the rooms at Arizona Charlie’s Casino.

     January 21, 2018

After a retail theft at a Kmart store, a Rockford, Illinois security guard was seriously injured. The robbery suspect carjacked the guard’s vehicle, dragging him before the guard fell away.

     January 26, 2018

An ex-soldier was sentenced to life in prison after he shot and killed 56-year-old Scott Von Lanken, a Denver transit security guard.

     February 4, 2018

49-year-old Shawn Patilla was fatally shot while working at a Columbus, Ohio bar as a security guard.   When police arrived, Patilla was lying on the floor still alive. He later died at a nearby hospital.

A Very Stressful Job

Security guards perform a mix of tasks and often find themselves in stressful situations. You can find guards working in bars and clubs trying to keep the peace. When a fight breaks out, it is the security guard that must break it up and protect others.

You will also see guards working at retail stores observing shoppers and looking for thieves.

Guards work at sporting events and concerts to help control crowds, and they protect employees at businesses, as well.

They can also be on the receiving end of harsh comments from the public, like those Joseph Hernandez dealt with while he was working a conference in California last June.

NBCNews.com reported that after dealing with a separate physical altercation, Hernandez was asked to guard a door temporarily and keep conference goers from entering. That’s when an attendee who wanted in the room began to verbally assault him. “You’re blue collar as f*ck,” the attendee said, “You should kill yourself.” To his credit, Hernandez stood there and took the abuse quietly and did not make a difficult situation worse.

The Bottom Line

Today’s security guards are working in an angry world that seems to get angrier everyday. They deal with more assaults, both verbal and physical, than ever before. Based on the news stories above, it is accurate to say that guards risk their lives when they go to work.

The next time you see a security guard, you don’t have to thank that person or say anything special. But a smile and a “Hello” would certainly mean a lot.

If you have questions about protecting your employees and business, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585.

Drone Threats: Creating a Strategy to Save Lives

drone flies over a stadium

Last month, a drone flew over Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara during a San Francisco 49ers game. The drone was carrying leaflets with an anti-TV news media message that it dropped on the crowd.

CBSNews.com reports that the drone’s pilot, 55-year-old Tracey Michael Mapes, then drove to the Oakland Coliseum and repeated the leaflet dropping during a Raiders game.

Mapes was arrested in Oakland and is charged with violating a Santa Cara ordinance. The FAA is also looking into the matter because the air space over NFL stadiums are no-fly zones during games.

Stadium Security is Vulnerable

While no one was hurt during the November drone incidents, it revealed a weakness in stadium security that terrorists could exploit.   What if, instead of leaflets, a drone carried a chemicals, biological agents or explosives?

In that scenario, the possibility of injury or loss of life becomes very real.

But as SecurityInfoWatch.com explains, most stadium security protocols don’t address the risk of a drone dropping a hazardous payload. The concept is simply too new and stadium operators don’t know what the solution might be, or where to get the right technology to stop it.

The Legal Path

Many state and local laws are already in place to limit where drones can fly. In fact, Santa Clara has such a law that prohibits drone flights within 500 feet of the stadium.

However, a law is only as good as the ability to enforce it. In Santa Clara, the law was easily ignored. What’s needed instead is some technology to detect approaching drones before they arrive and a method for stopping them.

Creating a Drone Strategy

The key to developing a protocol for drone threats is observation. Get to know the air space around your facility. Understand the number of drones that are flown for a given period. This type of information can be obtained using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sensors.

The data you glean from your observation will help prepare you for those flights that are out of the ordinary: A single drone encroaching on your air space, or a coordinated group moving toward you.

The majority of your planning should then be put toward evacuation. How will you get the teams off the field quickly? What’s the best way to empty the stadium without causing a panic?

Security Info Watch explains, “At this point the goal is to save lives and minimize injury. You aren’t likely to stop the attack.”

If you are looking for ways to secure your facility or develop evacuation plans, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585. We can work with you to create solutions tailored to your needs.

Sexual Assault Prevention: Being Security-Minded Can Help

sexual assaults can be prevented with security

News stories about sexual assault and harassment seem to be everywhere in the news recently. From Hollywood elites such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, to Washington D.C. Senators John Conyers and Al Franken, allegations of this type seem to be the majority of news stories today.

Even those who report on these stories are being pointed out. Just this week, NBC Today show anchor Matt Lauer was fired for sexual harassment.

With allegations everywhere, one has to wonder how sexual assault and harassment can be reduced or eliminated in the workplace. Here are our thoughts on how security can help.

Video Surveillance

Today’s video technology has made it very easy to use video cameras to observe nearly every corner of a facility. Often just knowing a camera is there is enough to deter sexual harassment or assault.

But that isn’t always the case. Video cameras have been able to pick up incidents of sexual assault as they have happened. For example, multiple cameras inside a hotel lobby and office picked up a predator who tried to assault a female hotel clerk earlier this year.

So while you can blanket your property in surveillance, video is only as good as the security protocols attached to it. If you have cameras placed but no one is watching them, then no one can respond when a sexual assault is taking place.

Thus, video works well for identifying attackers, but alone is not the answer for preventing these incidents.

Preventing a Sexual Assault: Create a Safe Environment

Along with deterrents such as video cameras, the company needs to create a safe work environment that eliminates conditions where a sexual assault could happen.  That includes making sure that all areas are well lit, both outside and inside your facility. Keeping a well-lit parking area seems pretty obvious today.  But businesses also need to make sure all areas inside their building are illuminated, as well.  If you have dark corners in the back of a warehouse behind crates, for example, take steps to light those places and do away with nooks and crannies where people can hide.

Overgrown landscaping outside the building can also be an issue. Shrubs and bushes that are allowed to grow thick and high, three feet or more, can provide hiding places. Keep your landscaping well trimmed and low to the ground.

You should also make sure your facility’s doors and windows are kept locked.  Install an intercom system that forces visitors to identify themselves before they are buzzed into the lobby.

Employees should also point out any individuals who are loitering on the premises and appear suspicious.

Personal Safety

Taking responsibility for one’s personal safety is also a necessary step each employee should take to prevent a sexual assault.  For instance, if you work in a dangerous area, make sure you have pepper spray and a whistle handy when you walk to the parking area.

You might also want to take lessons in basic self-defense to ward off possible attackers.  But perhaps the best piece of advice is to be aware of your surroundings and the situation in which you find yourself. That includes circumstances both outside and inside your workplace.

If you don’t feel safe walking to your car, then walk in a group with others or find someone to escort you. If you are asked to go into a closed office or room with a coworker and you feel uncomfortable, excuse yourself immediately and move to an area where you feel safer.

Don’t allow yourself to be put in situations where a sexual assault could happen.

On-Site Security Guards

Security personnel are a vital part of any security program. There is no substitute for having a security guard at your location, ready to help your employees at a moment’s notice.

The Bottom Line

The answer to reducing or eliminating a sexual assault in the workplace is not a single solution, but rather the adoption of several protocols by everyone involved. That includes the company, management, and its employees. It starts with supplying a safe environment but also includes employees taking responsibility for their safety.

If you want to learn more about keeping your property and employees safe, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585.

Violent Crime Up In Los Angeles

violent crime is increasing in Los Angeles

For the second year in a row, the State of California has experienced an increase in violent crime. But our state is not alone. The rest of the country is seeing an increase, as well.

California Stats

FBI.gov reports that there were 174,796 violent crimes last year in California. That is an increase of 4.9 percent from the 166,588 offenses in 2015. Last year’s total is 15.4 percent higher than in 2014.

You can also look at that number from a population perspective. With a total statewide population of 39,250,017, the violent crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants was 445.3.

How does that compare with violent crime across the rest of the country? California’s stats are higher than the national trends.

In 2016, there were 1,248,185 incidents in the U.S., which was a 4.1 percent increase over 2015. Nationwide, there were 386.3 offenses for every 100,000 inhabitants. As is the case in California, the country is on an upward swing in violent events. The number dipped in 2014 to just over 1.15 million but has increased in the last two years.

To put California’s violent crimes in perspective, they were just 14% of the total U.S. figure.

Violent Crime in Los Angeles

As expected, the major metropolitan areas in the state experienced more violence. In total, those areas accounted for 170,862 episodes or 97.75 percent of the statewide total.

The City of Los Angeles faced 28,817 violent offenses alone.   Outside of the city limits, but still in the County of Los Angeles, there were 6,124 violent occurrences. Those areas inside the county that experienced the highest amount of increases in offenses were:

  • CSU Northbridge, up by 200 incidents,
  • Westlake Village, up by 166 incidents;
  • Sierra Madre, up by 127 incidents
  • La Habra Heights, up by 100 incidents.

The areas that saw the largest decreases were:

  • Bradbury, down by 100;
  • Rolling Hills, down by 100.

Use of Force Stats

A new stat was counted in 2016, that of the use if force by police officers. Across the state there were 782 reported events. Of those, 328 involved the use of a firearm with 75 percent of those hitting their target.

Los Angeles County had 212 incidents. That is 27 percent of the statewide total.

The Bottom Line

With violent crime figures on the rise in our city, county and state, it only makes sense to take steps to secure your business, your employees and your loved ones. Call American Security Force today at 877-722-8585 to learn how we can bring safety and security to those things you care about most.

Security Drones: The Next Step?

Security drone flying in the skyThere has been news in the past about using drones for security purposes. Those devices were designed to provide remote surveillance for security officers in difficult to reach areas. But now it looks like the next step in security drones is available.

A San Francisco startup company named Aptonomy has developed a new security drone that they are referring to as a “flying security guard.” Obviously, making that claim caught our attention.

DJi Platform

According to TechCrunch.com, the drone platform is one that has been used by filmmakers to capture beautiful, hard-to-get aerial images. The DJi S1000 is designed specifically for cinematography and professional photographers. It features eight electric motors that provide stability.

To this platform, Aptonomy has added a new flight controller and a second computer for its day- and night-vision cameras. This security drone also carries lights and loudspeakers.

Smart Security Drones

The drone is also smart! The company is using an artificial intelligence (AI) system that allows it to fly in “structure-dense environments” at low altitudes without crashing. It can also detect motion and human activity and can be programmed to fly where those actions are found.

When batteries are low, the security drone will return to its charging dock to recharge.

Perhaps the most impressive feature, though, is that because this drone flies low, it can use facial recognition technology when following suspects. 

An Excellent Security Tool

While the technology is impressive, the flying security drone should be viewed as a tool, not a replacement to human security assets. But it is one that can definitely complement those assets.

A selling point to this drone is that it can patrol a property tirelessly, but it does require charging. During that time, your property is not patrolled.  To have constant, non-stop security, you would need to purchase a team of drones.

The video captured and transmitted by the drone is also an impressive feature.  but that video will still require a human to monitor it, as well.

If you’re curious about high-tech security solutions, call American Security Force today at 877-722-8585. We can help develop the solution that’s right for you.

Homicide and Crime Rates in LA are Going Up

The homicide rate is beginning to climb back up in Los Angeles. The city has experienced spikes before, but has enjoyed a long period of decline until recent years. Now, after more than a decade of dropping numbers, an upward trend is being seen.

Homicide Rates

Homicide rates since 1980
Homicide Rates From 1980 to 2015

Historically, murder rates had stayed under 1000 after 1980. That changed in 1992 when gang crime and the L.A. Riots contributed to 1,094 murders in the city! In the years that followed, the number of homicides fell off again until 1995 when the rate went up to 852. By the year 2000, though, it had dropped back down to 550.

Los Angeles experienced a spike in 2002 with 654 murders. The rate fell steadily after that, though, throughout the 2000s. However, in 2014 and 2015, the number of homicides began to rise again. In 2013 there were 251. The number has gone up to 260 and 283 in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Rise in Other Crimes

homicide rates are risingBut it’s not just the homicide rates that are going up. Since 2014, rates have risen for the number of rapes, assaults and robberies.

Just as is the case with homicides, rape cases saw a general decline throughout the 2000s, as well. In 2014, though, the number increased from 764 the previous year to 1,126. In 2015, it jumped 9.1 percent to 1,649.

In fact, the total number of aggravated assaults in 2015, 13,569, was a whopping 27.8 percent increase from 2014. That year the number was at 10,615.

Looking Froward

This year, officials are already concerned about violent crime rates across the country. WashingtonPost.com reports that:

The number of homicides increased in the first months of 2016 in more than two dozen major U.S. cities, going up in places that also saw spiking violence last year… the numbers were particularly grim for a handful of places — Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas.

If rates continue to go up as they have since 2014, it could begin to create a burden on law enforcement agencies already dealing with tight budgets. Communities will need to turn to private security to help fill in the gaps.

Are you curious how private security guards can protect your family, your business and your employees? Call us today at 877-722-8585 to talk to a security professional about the solutions we provide.

Private Security is Growing Around the Globe

Private security is growing around the globeWith terror attacks on the rise, the need for private security is increasing in countries around the globe. This is particularly true in Germany where over one million refugees arrived last year. During the month of July, three terror-related incidents occurred that resulted in 11 deaths. Understandably, Germans are nervous.

German Private Security is Growing

RT.com reports that private security firms in that country are seeing an increase in calls looking for unarmed guards. Many organizations that had security before the attacks want more. However, supplying guards in the near future might be difficult. According to TheLocal.de, “Private security is so in demand that some firms have run out of employees to meet the demand.”

Yet, in that country security jobs are increasing. Last year, the industry experienced a 10% job growth and a15% jump in revenue to $7.9 billion.

German society is similar to that of the United States. There are many events where large numbers of people come together. To observe crowds and try to identify threats, German security firms have introduced “spotter teams.”

Aiding the Government

Germany is not the only country to use private security, either. Economist.com reports that at immigration points where refugees might enter Greece, officers from a private security company are supporting the police.

In Austria, a Swiss security firm has taken over the operation of all of that country’s refugee camps from the government. That firm already runs multiple centers in their home country of Switzerland.

France

France has seen an increase in security job applications after a private guard foiled a bombing during the terror attacks last November. Fifteen thousand private guards will be part of a 90,000-man force that will protect the Euro 2016 Football Tournament in the country this year.

It’s clear that as ISIS continues to wage its terror war, governments will need to use every resource available to protects its citizens. This includes private security. The industry today is up to the challenge, being better trained and more technologically equipped than ever before.

Do you want to learn how the officers at American Security Force can protect your family, property, business and employees? Call us at 877-722-8585.

Violent Crimes in Los Angeles

Violent Crimes are up in Los AngelesViolent Crimes happen at the rate on one every 26-seconds in the U.S. That’s according to Protection 1 Home Security. The firm recently released their “Where Crime Happens” report.

As of this writing, Homicide.LATimes.com reports that there have been 644 murders in the last 12 months in Los Angeles County. Southern California is currently experiencing an increase in homicides over previous years. But despite the bad news, it’s not as bad as in some other areas of the country.

Violent Crimes by State

The number one state for violent crimes is Alaska. Protection1 attributes this fact to, “the large geographical size, remoteness of the communities, limited economic opportunities, and lack of government services.” Here are the other
top 10 states with the most violent crime:

  1. Alaska
  2. Nevada
  3. Tennessee
  4. New Mexico
  5. Florida
  6. Louisiana
  7. South Carolina
  8. Delaware
  9. Arkansas
  10. Maryland

Violent Crimes by City

Thankfully, California did not make the Top 10 in that category. Nor did Los Angeles for the cities with the highest murder rates. On that list, it ranked 19th, with 6.6 murders per every 100,000 residents. Nearby San Diego was ranked as one of the safest cities.

Those metropolitan areas with the highest rates are:

  1. Louis, MO 58.9
  2. New Orleans, LA 7
  3. Detroit, MI 8
  4. Baltimore, MD 9
  5. Milwaukee, WI 4
  6. Las Vegas, NV 9
  7. Philadelphia, PA 9
  8. Washington, DC 9
  9. Chicago, IL 1
  10. Jacksonville, FL 3

In 2015, the City of Los Angeles was ranked 6th for the number of total murders with 283. Here’s how the Top 10 cities on that list compare:

  1. Chicago, IL 465
  2. New York, NY 352
  3. Baltimore, MD 344
  4. Houston, TX 303
  5. Detroit, MI 295
  6. Los Angeles, CA 283
  7. Philadelphia, PA 264
  8. Louis, MO 188
  9. New Orleans, LA 164
  10. Washington, DC 162

It’s Been Worse

While these totals are higher than anyone would like, the situation in Southern California used to be much worse. Gang violence and the LA Riots of 1992 set a record that year.

2,589 murders took place! That is a staggering number, especially when compared to the 649 violent deaths in the county in 2015. Crime in the metro area remained bad for most of the Clinton Administration.

Recent terror attacks, especially the one in San Bernardino, have made it clear that violence can happen at any time. To keep your family, business, employees or property safe, consider private security guards. Call American Security Force today at 877-722-8585 to learn how we can create an individualized security plan that fits your needs.

Security Technology Today

security technology being used to monitor siteJust 15 years ago, the security business was fairly low-tech. Guards were posted, carried out their duties and then completed paper reports. But after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, a new emphasis was placed on security technology and the industry has gone through a revolution.

From reporting to monitoring and beyond, today’s technology has impacted almost every aspect of the security industry. Guards can be monitored in real time through apps on smartphones. Those same apps can allow security managers or clients to see what the guard sees using wearable cameras or smartphone video. Reporting is much more efficient, as well. It can also be carried out through apps, providing valuable information to management or clients in a much more efficient manner.

Video

Video cameras have been used for observation and surveillance almost from their beginning. The first such system was put into use in 1942. This Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system allowed German scientists to observe the launch of V2 Rockets at Peenemunde during the Second World War.

For five decades after that, video technology evolved and improved.  It was still analog and standard definition, though. So when high definition video became available for security, its use became widespread.

Today, video surveillance is more than just video monitoring. The increased resolution allows threats to be seen that were never noticed before. Computer software also identifies security anomalies, providing a better response time for both dispatch and security officers.

Improved security technology combined with onsite officers allows them to respond in real time with more efficiency.

Artificial Intelligence

Another area of improving security technology is in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). Once considered only the subject of science fiction stories, today AI is on the verge of becoming viable.

It might not look or sound like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but today’s AI systems deliver another level of analysis for security analytics. The recent SecurityInfoWatch.com article, Is Artificial Intelligence the Next Frontier in Security Technology?, featured Armorway’s new AI platform.

This system uses four different types of analytics that provides a comprehensive risk picture. It includes predictive analytics and the use of “game theory” to lay out a “best” course of action.

Armorway has signed deals with the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Air Marshall Service and other municipal and university police departments around the country. Here in Southern California, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a customer.

Security Technology for the Future?

Is the future of security technology some combination of AI and onsite robotic apparatus? Perhaps. But we’re not there yet.

A Knightscope K5 security robot ran into a 16-month-old boy last week at a Stanford, California mall. ABC7News.com reports that the robot collided with the toddler, knocked him down and ran over his foot. The child, Harwin Cheng, was not seriously hurt.

The K5 robot is 5’ tall and weighs 300 pounds. It’s designed to “alert authorities of abnormal noises, sudden environmental changes, and known criminals.” It didn’t seem to detect Harwin, though. A security guard working at the mall said another child was hurt by the same robot just days before.

Popular Science wrote about this incident as well, commenting that, “Robots make cheap security guards, but they don’t necessarily make the best security guards.”

If you have questions about the state of your security technology, call American Security Force at 877-722-8585 for answers.

Security Guard Screening & Training

security guard patrols a lotQuestions about the screening and training of security guards are in the news again. They come after officials learned that the shooter involved in the Orlando nightclub attack, Omar Mateen, was a security guard.

What is more troubling, though, is that the F.B.I. investigated him!

A Big Job

NYTimes.com reports that the bureau looked into Mateen’s activities for ten months. Their investigation involved following him and interviewing him twice. Ultimately, they decided he was not an important threat and closed out the investigation.

Clearly, there was something about Manteen that drew the attention of the F.B.I. Considering the length of the investigation and the fact that he was interviewed, what did they miss? Why couldn’t he be stopped?

The answer might be found in the amount of work the F.B.I. is doing today.

It has about 10,000 terror investigations open at any given time. One thousand of those focus on homegrown violent extremists. Agents are trying to move through them effectively and close those files that are not apparent threats.

But with 10,000 investigations going, it is a heavy workload and the agency is overworked.

Security Guard Guidelines

Since Mateen worked as a security guard, the Orlando shooting has also raised questions about screening and training in the security industry. The Associated Press set out to find answers to some common questions about security guards. Here’s what they found.

Licensing

Nearly all 50 states require guards to be licensed. Only six do not. Some states, such as California, require a background check and the completion of training courses.

FBI Background Check

Thirty states require a F.B.I. Background Check. California is one of them. Ten others only require a state background check. That leaves only ten states that require no check at all. The State of California requires applicants to be at least 18 years of age and they must undergo a criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Security Guard Training

Thirty-five states have state training requirements that applicants must meet. In California, security guards must complete the Power to Arrest training, 32 hours in security officer skills and eight hours of continuing training each year.

On top of the California requirements, American Security Force officers must complete additional classroom instruction and in-field training.

Requirements Are In Place

While the topic of training and screening guards is hot right now because of Mateen’s actions, it’s clear that the majority of states have licensing, background check and training requirements in place. There is room for improvement for those states that have no requirements.  But in the case of California, a state with policies that are particularly stringent, a higher caliber of security officer will be the result.

American Security Force is proud to build upon what the State of California requires. Our additional training ensures that our guards are ready to recognize, deter and halt any threat that might present itself.

Call today at 877-722-8585 to learn about how our additional security training benefits our customers.