Rural Schools & Security Challenges

phot os the exterior of a school, one of many rural schools in existenceRural areas typically have a special beauty all their own. In these places we get to experience beautiful landscapes of fields, forests, creeks, rolling hills or mountains. Living in these communities also has some advantages over cities. They are not as crowded, less congested, no traffic, less crime and less daily stress.  If you’re lucky enough to send your kids to rural schools, they will get to know all of their classmates.

The Challenges of Rural Life

The very qualities that make rural living attractive, being far from urban centers, also presents challenges to residents. For example, you won’t find water or sewer service in the country. Those residents are just too far from a city to get those services.

Many areas don’t have their own police or fire departments, either. Rural residents tend to live in townships, away from even the smallest of cities. Too often, rural townships don’t can’t support police or fire services so the depend on the county to supply them. Because of this fact, first responders are forced to travel miles, or tens-of-miles, when there is an emergency.

With the increased terror threat, and the on-going fear of school shootings, there is a growing concern over the security of rural schools and the response times to them if an event occurs.

How Rural Schools Can Prepare

This week, SecurityInfoWatch.com reports on how one rural district is dealing with this fear. Weld County School District Re-3J in Colorado put into place a technological solution: a Rapid Emergency Response System (RERS). The system works by pulling one of the pull-levers located around the school. It alerts police so they can respond as fast as possible. Only when an intruder or an active-shooter threatens the school should the system be activated.

While this system may alert police faster, it still doesn’t change the fact the school is located in a remote area and those at the school will have to wait for first responders to arrive.

There is one solution that puts help at the school right away and may even deter would-be threats. That solution is a security officer. Having security on-site will often result in intruders simply leaving the school.

In the event that an active shooter situation develops, security guards will be able to respond immediately and provide aid. With technology solutions and body cameras, the school’s principle, district superintendent and even nearby police can receive real-time reports and video of the situation. This will allow stakeholders and first responders to have up-to-the-second information to use when making decisions.

On-site security is an efficient and effective way to deter crime and respond to attacks. In rural areas where help could be 10, 20 or 30 miles away, having an officer on the scene could save lives.

If you would like to know more about how American Security Force can help secure your school, call us at 877-722-8585.

Drones for Private Security

A photo of a drone in the sky. Drones are being used more for private security.Helicopter drones are becoming more popular both for commercial and consumer use. This year, some 4 million drones were sold to consumers. It’s estimated by Juniper Research that sales will grow to 16 million by 2020.

Drones have also been making news throughout 2015. Many of the stories have been centered around users flying drones where they should not, such as near airports or military installations.

But despite the mistakes by some consumers, drone usage holds a lot of potential for the security industry.

Airborne Cameras

With the ability to launch quickly, be deployed to any location and hover over an area easily, drones offer an aerial view that land-based, stationary cameras cannot provide. They can also deliver a wider field of vision, with a 360-degree arc that the standard security camera does not possess. This means that those under surveillance cannot leave the view of the camera.

Drone cameras also operate out-of-reach of an intruder, so they can’t be tampered with, disabled or sprayed with paint.

A drone can also follow those under surveillance if they decide to run, keeping track of them until the authorities arrive. Stationary cameras can only capture them running away.

Autonomous Drones

A Japanese company, Secom, developed an integrated security system that featured an autonomous drone. When motion is detected along a property’s perimeter, the drone is signaled to lift off and hovers over the area, sending real-time video to a command center.

The drone is programmed using GPS technology, so it won’t leave the property’s air space, but can capture any person or vehicle that does.

Imagine a similar technology that might soon be available for your home, triggered when motion is detected on your property. That drone may have human recognition software. When a person is identified as the source of the motion, the drone alerts you, local law enforcement and shines a bright light on the intruder.

There are also drones be tested now that carry stun guns that could conceivably incapacitate a person.

In the future, drones using GPS technology will likely patrol areas autonomously and continuously, signaling a replacement drone to take its place when its batteries run low. Thus, an area will never need to be left unguarded again.

Cost-Effective

Compared to other security systems, today’s drones are not expensive. The price of the drone itself is in the hundreds-of-dollars right now and there are no installation costs. Drone pricing varies depending on the size of the unit and the type of sensor it employs: A high-resolution camera, thermal imaging or light-detection and ranging systems (LIDAR). Many drones allow for sensors to be interchanged.

Drone flights are also a fraction of the cost of using a full-size helicopter.

Costs may begin to rise when drones are integrated with other security or detection systems. But when that happens, the advanced capabilities of these systems will likely make them cost-effective.

As imaging, robotic and detection technologies continue to evolve, tying them with a mobile aerial device such as a drone will create additional capabilities that have not been imagined or realized yet. As a tool, we are just beginning to see what the security applications of drone technology might be.

Looking forward, the sky is the limit!

Source:

http://www.securitysales.com/article/dear_security_industry_are_these_the_drones_youre_looking_for/

After San Bernardino We Need More Security

Terrorism stencil print on the grunge white brick wallSan Bernardino was the site for a horrible fatal shooting last week.  Being based in Southern California, it really hit home for us. Fourteen innocent people were killed and 20 others wounded at a get together to celebrate the holidays. Since the shooting, we’ve learned that it was planned terrorism: An attack by a married couple, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the couple was planning an even larger attack involving locations with more people than the one carried out.

Avoiding Another San Bernardino

The incident raises many questions about our readiness as a nation to prevent terrorist attacks. SecurityInfoWatch.com addresses some of these concerns in an article this week that looks at some of the gaps in our terror defenses and why we were unable to detect this shooting before it happened.

While questions at the national level will continue to be asked, at the local level, it seems obvious that the need for additional security will be a must. Our police forces cannot be everywhere at once. Because of that fact, they are largely a reactive force, typically arriving at a scene after an incident has occurred.

Security solutions are needed that are proactive with the ability to stop or deter terrorists before shootings begin. That means additional security officers are needed at places where large numbers of people gather. After all, it was this type of location that was being considered by Farook and Malik as another potential target.

After San Bernardino. large business owners, shopping areas, schools and universities should all reexamine their security measures, looing for potential gaps and then plan to fill them. Quickly. Before another terror incident happens.

American Security Force not only supplies security guards to businesses, it also helps create individualized security plans that fit the needs of your property or company. For more information on how we can help, call us today at 877-722-8585.

 

Source:

http://www.securityinfowatch.com/article/12148121/san-bernardino-shooting-exposes-gaps-in-us-terror-defenses
https://security-today.com/articles/2015/12/08/san-bernardino-steps-up-security.aspx
http://www.latimes.com/local/crime/la-me-sb-shooting-20151211-story.html

Private Security is Bolstering Campus Police Departments

A photo of a college campus where private security is being added.As security concerns increase after the terror attacks in Paris, more and more colleges and universities are looking to private security as a cost-effective way to bolster their existing campus police forces.

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia is among them. SecurityMagazine.com reports that VCU has decided to expand its partnership with a private security firm. That company provides nightly patrols on and around campus while also providing highly visible support to campus police. The private officers even patrol campus on bicycles.

Private Security is Cost-Effective

Security Magazine explains that, “By outsourcing some of its policing needs…VCU is increasing a security presence and finding success within its challenging budgetary landscape.” The university will save about $30,000 each year.

Private security is cost effective because providing security services is their core competency. It’s what they do. These companies understand how to control the costs for their services. Colleges and universities are large institutions focused on education, not security. Because of that, they deal with over time and limited staff concerns that hamper their ability to provide adequate security. Private firms do not.

Expertise

As noted above, the mission of a college or university is to educate, while private security’s mission is to provide security. Thus, private security firms focus on those services. If they want to stay competitive, they are constantly looking for ways to improve. Thus, private firms bring a level of expertise with them when hired. It’s what they do, and they know how to do it right.

Flexibility

Private security companies can work when and where a campus needs them, without the concern of staffing an unpopular event or paying overtime. Colleges and universities can bring in extra security for special events and then reduce the level of service over holidays, for example, when students are not on campus.

High Tech Solutions

Advanced security solution providers such as American Security Force bring to the table the latest technological solutions to their security services. Private security makes this technology available to campuses without them having to research it, lay out the funds to purchase it, or train personnel to get them up to speed on it.

With the growing concern of domestic terrorism, colleges and universities will continue to turn to private companies such as American Security Force to supplement their campus police teams.

If you would like more information about how American Security Force can heighten the level of your campus security, call us at 877-722-8585.

Source:
http://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/86809-outsourcing-safety-and-security

Holiday Security for Yourself

A woman carrying multiple bags reminding us of the importance of personal holiday securityWith Thanksgiving just a day away, the holidays are finally here! It’s a wonderful time of the year to gather with friends and family, to give to others and to celebrate what is best in each of us.  Unfortunately, not everyone views the holiday season that way. Rather than give to others, some see the next four weeks as an opportunity take from others for their own selfish gain.   Even during this wonderful time, we are reminded that we must always be careful and not provide an opportunity to those that would take advantage of us.  That’s why it’s important for you to take a moment and think about your own, personal holiday security.

Creating Your Own Holiday Security

When you really think about it, our activities and our mindset during the holidays really open us up to scammers, pick-pockets, thieves and burglars.  We are on the go, often not home and in crowded shopping areas carrying cash and credit cards.

Could there be a better time of year for those with bad intentions? Probably not. But, despite the circumstances, there are things that we can do to protect ourselves.

The Los Angeles Police Department has posted a list of Holiday Safety Tips to follow during this time. For example, they suggest being extra careful about your home’s security when you leave it. If you will be away for an extended period visiting relatives or friends, ask a neighbor to watch your house, and pick up the mail or newspapers. When leaving your home, they also suggest creating an illusion that it is still occupied by leaving some lights on and having a radio or TV play.

The LAPD also asks that homeowners be aware of who might be at their door. Criminals often pretend to be delivery people with packages. If you are not sure of their identity, don’t open the door and ask them to leave the package on your front doorstep.

When it comes to deliveries, take precautions so that they won’t be stolen. We’ve all seen home security video of brazen robbers walking right up to someone’s front door and taking packages, sometimes in broad daylight! The St. Anthony Police Department suggests arranging to have packages delivered at a time when you will be home. If you can’t be there, then have them delivered to a neighbor.

Shopping also presents the possibility for theft. Even though you are rushed and thinking about your gift list, stay cautious and be aware of your surroundings. Remember to lock your car doors, and keep any presents in the trunk and not on the seats where would-be thieves can see them.

Try not to carry a purse or wallet, they can be attractive targets to thieves. Instead, keep cash and credit cards in the front pockets of your pants or shirt. Also, be aware of strangers that approach you. Some may try to distract you with the intention of taking your belongings, or having others do so. If someone approaches, keep walking quickly and stay in crowded areas. If they continue to follow you call the police or find security.

These are just a few safety and security tips that are available. Take a few minutes before you head out to read them. Doing so will help ensure your own, personal holiday security.

From all of us at American Security Force, Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Sources:

http://www.lapdonline.org/crime_prevention/content_basic_view/1376http://www.ci.saint-anthony.mn.us/vertical/sites/%7B5ED4AFB9-D450-4F68-BA29-2600D3C2A620%7D/uploads/%7BF8EA11C7-9FB4-4A3C-AA60-88B49FB5A271%7D.PDF
http://www.crimedoctor.com/home_security_3.htm

Terrorism is on the Rise: Are You Ready?

A graphic that reads Are You Ready for terrorism?

The latest terrorism news coming out of Paris, France today is that two are dead and seven have been arrested after a seven-hour raid by French Authorities. The raid comes just days after ISIS operatives attacked multiple targets in the city on Friday November 13. Those attacks killed 129 people and wounded 345.

Sadly, terror is on the rise in Europe, and ISIS has promised that the United States will be hit, as well.

It is not just the job of local, county and state governments to prepare for a terror attack. Individuals should, as well.

Are You Ready if Terrorism Strikes Your City?

George Kline, a former member of the NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force, told Westchester.News12.com that people should be aware of their surroundings. No matter what public space you might be in, take note of exits so you will have a way out if something happens. Also learn where the alarms are so in the event of an emergency, you can use them to get help.

Public transportation is a special challenge, because of the confined space. But Kline recommends that riders be vigilant and aware of those around you. The best place to sit is near exit or a bathroom, if there is one. If individuals notice suspicious behavior, they should report it.

There are multiple resources available to help citizens be ready. The Red Cross suggests making a disaster plan with your family, and lists things you can do if an attack occurs. Safety.com details the steps you need to create an evacuation plan from your home after a terror strike. Ready.gov has multiple resources for you and your family to prepare for a wide array of emergencies.

Being personally prepared is wise, because officials admit that keeping U.S. cities safe will be a challenge. Former assistant FBI Director Ron Hosko tells CBS News, “There are simply not enough police, law enforcement — on duty, off duty, hired security — to cover every potential gathering spot where Americans enjoy their liberty.”

Here in Southern California, emergency plans call for involving private security.   Deputy police chief Michael Downing with the LAPD says, “There’s 45,000 private security guards in the Los Angeles area alone, there’s 10,000 LAPD,” he says. “When you combine that with community members that are interested as well, we have some good leverage.”

Hopefully, that plan will never need to be implemented. But in the event of such an emergency, American Security Force is ready and proud to help.

If you ever have questions about security for your property or business, please call us at 877-722-8585.

Sources:

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/terrorism

https://www.safety.com/family-safety-terrorist-attacks/

http://www.ready.gov

https://www.securityinfowatch.com/security-executives/article/12141501/lessons-learned-from-the-paris-terror-attacks

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-challenge-of-keeping-u-s-cities-safe-from-terror-attacks/

Honoring Our Veterans on Veterans Day

With today being Veterans Day, we here at American Security Force wanted to take this opportunity to say Thank You. We are honored by their service and we are proud employers of those that have served.

There is a natural synergy between veterans and the security industry. While in the service, veterans learn and master skills that naturally translate well. Some veterans have actually performed military assignments that are directly related to security functions.

But there are certain intangible qualities that veterans develop in the service that also make them ideal employees, whether they are in the security field or in some other industry.

The first is that veterans make good leaders. After all, they are coming from what you might consider a “leadership factory.” The U.S. military understands how to teach leadership and mold future leaders. Its rigid structure and chain of command area daily reminders of how leadership functions effectively.

Upon entering civilian life, veterans bring these lessons with them into the workplace. Clear communication, adherence to the chain of command and the ability to get the best out of others makes veterans natural organizational leaders.

Veterans are also very trainable. All military branches have some form of Boot Camp, where those who have recently joined go to learn how to be a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman. After Boot Camp, they then train to do a certain job within their branch of service. Training is a large part of the military experience and the experience helps veterans quickly learn new jobs in the private sector.

Adaptability is another quality that veterans have learned. A popular saying amongst those in the service is “Adapt or Die.” In other words, adjust to the circumstance presented to you and overcome them or you will perish. This is a lesson that veterans understand all too well. Whether the situation was a harsh battlefield, a cramped submarine, or a barracks crowded with strangers, veterans were continually adapting to new situations.

This skill serves veterans well in the ever-changing business world.

For employers, veterans are highly desired employees for their dependability. One of the biggest challenges companies face is hiring dependable employees and having them show up to work and be on time.

This is another quality veterans master in the military. Not showing up is a considered being Absent-Without-Leave (AWOL), something that could get service personnel confined. Being late is also something that is not tolerated in the military. Thus veterans prove to be very dependable employees because of their military experience.

While veterans possess qualities that make them exceptional employees, there’s also another reason American Security Force hires them: It’s the right thing to do. After all, the service that these individuals gave to our country involved sacrifice. They spent many years away from their loved ones, often times in harm’s way. They did it to protect all of us and expected little in return.

So, it only seems natural that we can honor them with the opportunity to earn a living and support their families.

On this Veterans Day, it seems like one of the best ways to say “Thank You.”

Protecting Your Hotel and Resort Property

Being the center of the entertainment industry has made Southern California a tourist destination. Thousands flock here throughout the year to soak up the cultural vibe, enjoy California’s warm weather and to sightsee. To accommodate travelers the region has a high number of hotels and resorts.

Along with the large number of tourists to our area comes crime. Burglaries and violent acts are highest during the summer months, when tourism peaks. Travelers are easy and attractive targets: They have credit cards or cash, don’t always know their way so they are easy to spot and are often preoccupied with sightseeing or other activities so they are not being cautious.

Securing your hotel or resort property and keeping your guests safe are vitally important to your business if you want travelers to stay with you in the future.

Reviews

Sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp have made it easy for travelers to research hotel properties online, where others have left reviews. It is very important, then, for hotels and resorts to get positive comments. To get those, they must continually please their guests.

The last thing a business like this wants is a disgruntled guest leaving a negative review because they felt unsafe or had articles stolen.

Reviewers who claim a hotel or resort is unsafe can do serious harm to the reputation of that property. To ensure your hotel or resort gets the positive comments it deserves, be sure to have ample and visible security on the premises.

Hotel Crime

Crime at hotels and resorts is real. BJS.gov reported that in 2008 there were over 45,000 violent and property crimes that occurred at a hotel or motel.

Beyond getting a bad reputation, there is also a liability concern for these businesses. LegalMatch.com explains that, “Under most circumstances, if a guest or other patron is a victim of a crime on hotel property, the hotel is not liable for their injuries… However, it is possible that a hotel is partially responsible for criminal acts due to inadequate measures taken to protect guests.”

Thus, to avoid liability, it is imperative that hotels and resorts take precautions to secure their property and keep guests safe. One of the best ways to do that is with security guards.

The presence of officers from American Security Force serves as a deterrent to criminal behavior. Their presence on the property also ensures that those who attempt to engage in this type of activity are apprehended until law enforcement arrives.

Parking Lots

Larger hotels and resorts typically have separate parking lots or garages away from the main building. Parking areas are perfect places for burglars and thieves. They are typically understaffed and not lit well at night. There are also many columns or dark cut outs in the walls where burglars can hide while they wait for travelers walking to and from their cars.

Travelers typically drive rental cars while on vacation and these vehicles are easy to spot, as well. Most rental companies attach their logo to the cars. Burglars often find loot left behind in these vehicles because tired travelers often forget to take valuables into the hotel with them.

According to BJS.gov more than 1 in 10 property crimes in 2008 occurred in a parking garage. That totaled over 2 million crimes!

Posting additional security in parking areas can deter would-be burglars and intervene with those who behave suspiciously.

Emergency Services

Guards from American Security Force are also trained to administer first aid to injured or sick staff and guests in the event of an emergency.

When assigned to a location, one of the first tasks of an officer is to learn the layout of each building and facility. By doing so, they are able to help in emergency response situations such as earthquakes, mudslides or fires by guiding staff and guests to safe areas.

Enhancing the security at your hotel or resort can reduce your liability and reduce the likelihood of crime and theft on your property. Taking this step will lead to creating a secure and safe place for your guests, which in turn will deliver the positive reviews your business needs.  With these positive reviews, guests will continue to stay with you into the future.

To learn more about how American Security Force can keep your hotel or resort property safe and secure call us today at 877-722-8585.

Security Service That’s A Cut Above

security guard talking on a radio as he delivers our security serviceAmerican Security Force Security is dedicated to providing the best possible security service to our customers. To help make that a reality, we ensure that our guards receive the best training possible.

The State of California has mandated stringent training standards for security guards in the state. We go further. Each of our officers receives a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

This instruction ensures a higher level of protection to you and it goes above and beyond what other security companies can provide. In fact, we believe our team is of a higher quality. That can be seen by the fact that we pay our officers above industry standards. We’re proud to do this and it has an added benefit to our you: Paying our team well reduces turnover and offers stability for the officers at your site.

Your Action Plan: Part of our Security Service

The State of California also mandates businesses to have on file an Emergency Action Plan. Among other things, the plan defines escape routes employees should take in the event of an emergency, procedures for employees who need to remain behind, post-evacuation procedures, and identifies rescue and medical roles.

When assigned to your business, our Security Officers are trained to learn the layout of your workplace and how to implement your emergency action plans. They coordinate with on-site and outside emergency personnel to direct the safe and orderly evacuation of customers and employees to emergency exits, evacuation routes, and assembly areas during an earthquake, fire or active shooter situation. American Security force officers are also trained to report injury information to emergency responders and shut down critical operations of your business, if needed.

Utility Management

In addition to providing traditional security services, our guards are also trained to know the location of your utility generation and distribution systems within your facility. This is to support operational reliability and to also enable security officers to provide assistance during emergency response procedures. The utilities that our officers will become familiar with include water main and gas shut off valves, fire risers, electrical panels and alarm systems. Our security officers are also trained to inspect and operate fire extinguishers and other fire protection devices.

Customer Service

American Security Force officers are well-trained to provide the highest level of customer service. We believe that being friendly, helpful and approachable is often the best deterrent to criminal and suspicious activity.

We also believe that the way our officers look has much to do with how they are perceived. Most security companies provide their teams with dark-colored uniforms and bulky equipment belts. This makes for an intimidating, hostile and non-approachable appearance.

Our Security Officers, on the hand, wear light blue shirts without their equipment being visible. Customers are much more at ease and our officers find it easier to communicate with them.

The light-blue uniforms also call attention to the presence of our officers. Customers are more at ease, because they are consciously aware that their business is being monitored and protected.

These facets of our service take a backseat to our traditional security services. However, they are important features that our officers take with them when they are at a customer’s site. They help deliver added value to our customers and help enable us to provide a superior level of security service.

Going Green: Better Security for our Customers

A man pointing to a sign that reads Go GreenGoing green.  In recent years, American Security Force has made the decision to “Go Green.” We think it’s the right thing to do. The dense population that Southern California has impacts the environment, and we’re proud to do our part to leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Going green also has an added business benefit that saves us money, and allows us to reinvest in our security solutions.

We’ve made changes to three operational areas and each has had a profound impact on our business.

Going Green Means Paper Reduction

Utilizing cloud-based technology has enabled American Security Force to reduce its paper count by 80% over the past year. That is a huge savings to our company.

In the field, our security guards no longer use paper for reports and records, either. All security reporting and record keeping is now made through smart phone applications. This is not only a cost savings, but it also provides better service to our customers. Our online system provides you with instant, organized access to records produced on-site and it eliminates the need for traditional paper-based forms.

Electricity Reduction

Being a cloud-based business has also reduced the amount of electricity we consume. Going to the cloud enabled us to reduce the number of machines and technology that drew power in our office by 50%. In addition, the cloud applications we use have allowed us to remotely manage our workforce and field operations. As a result of these changes, we reduced our power usage by a whopping 60 percent!

Carbon Reduction

American Security Force has also transitioned to a fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles and electric security golf carts. This has resulted in lower CO2 emissions and has greatly reduced our dependence on fossil fuels. The increased fuel economy of our vehicles means we spend less on gasoline, which provides us with a further savings.

Going Green has been transformative for our business. It has helped us become more environmentally aware as an organization and allowed us to take responsible action as it relates to our carbon footprint. The added bonus to going green has been the enhanced services through our cloud-based features and the paper and energy cost savings. These savings have been reinvested back into our business and have allowed us to continue to offer better security solutions for our customers as we move forward.