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 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.

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 armed 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.

Security Keeps Cleveland Cavaliers Parade Safe

Security was needed for the large crowd in ClevelandHow do you supply enough security for 1.3 million people?

That was the concern for the city of Cleveland as fans swarmed the downtown area yesterday to celebrate their Cavaliers winning the NBA Finals. It was the largest event in that city’s history.

There were so many people that they spilled into the streets along the route. This slowed things down to a crawl, according to ESPN.com, as the parade took four hours to travel only 1.3 miles.

One of the reasons for the huge turnout is the sports history of Cleveland. The last professional championship there was in 1964 when the Cleveland Browns won a NFL World Championship. That was before the Super Bowl era.

Over the years there have been a number of near misses when a championship ring seemed close, but ended up being just out of reach. Decades of pent-up frustration and Sunday’s NBA victory brought these Cleveland fans out to celebrate.

Enhanced Security

The security for the event was much higher than others held downtown in the past.   As officials began to plan, they expected about 500,000 to attend. Their estimates were a bit low.

As NewsNet5.com reports police used security cameras, bomb sniffing dogs, motorcycle units and horse mounted police to keep things secure. There were also uniformed and ununiformed police on duty and in an attempt to keep rowdy fans under control, WKYC.com reports no coolers were allowed in the city, either.

Rapid transit was expected to be a major mover of people into the city. So riders experienced bag searches by security guards and had walked through metal detectors before leaving the station.

One Incident

Crowds started gathering downtown about 8:00am. The parade kicked off late, close to noon. The rally was also delayed because of the extended time for the parade to get through the crowd. When it was all said and done, it was an all day event lasting to 5:00pm.

Throughout the day, there were no real problems to report. As crowds began to work their way back to the RTA station at Tower City after the rally, though, there was a fight between two teenage boys. One pulled out a gun and fired, hitting a nearby 13-year-old girl in both legs. The shooter was arrested and he faces felonious assault charges, along with other gun-related offenses.

With over 1.3 million fans roaming around downtown Cleveland, it was the only major arrest of the day. For the most part, police and private security kept Cleveland fans safe and under control.

Whether it is additional police for a victory parade, or additional security guards for some other event, human security on the scene is often the best solution. While technology helps, nothing can replace the effectiveness of having police or security guards onsite deterring bad behavior, making quick decisions and taking the correct action.

Are you planning an event for the summer? Contact American Security Force today at 877-722-8585. We can help you plan the security for your event to keep your attendees safe.