Robots: Collaboration is Not Far Away

 

robots will be collaborators with humans

Robots and automation have changed many industries around the world. Some might claim that those changes are not always for the better. Discussions about using robots in an industry that requires humans can make people nervous. They begin to fear for their jobs. Those that work in the security industry are no different.

But SecurityMagazine.com explains that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Let’s Work Together

In an article entitled, Collaborative Robots: Working Together for the Better, author Steve Rainharz writes, “robots developing human attributes and becoming more intelligent doesn’t mean they’re going to take all of our jobs.” Instead, he argues that as robots become more intelligent and capable, we will actually collaborate with them.

In fact, it’s happening now and the expectation is that our partnership with smart machines will only grow. Experts predict that the global market for these types of mechanisms will be worth $95 billion over the next six years.

Real World Examples

Amazon has taken the lead in this area. They are using some 100,000 robots to lift and stack inventory in their warehouses around the world. But they have also added 80,000 warehouse workers! The humans and the machines are collaborating well in this environment.

Other industries where they are making an impact include healthcare, agriculture, construction and security.

Collaborative Robots in Security

The use of robots in the security sector should not be viewed as a threat but rather an opportunity. These machines will free up security personnel to focus on more high-level tasks. They can fill security voids and monitor vast spaces such as those on campuses more efficiently.

Security robots can already provide an unbiased, comprehensive view of any environment. But with two-way radio and video capability, they will be to alert a command center of potential threats. Thus, the machine will directly collaborate with humans.

The Bottom Line

The use of security robots will grow over the next decade. The perceived threat they pose to the jobs of security workers will diminish as they prove their value. Collaboration in the security sector may not occur right away, but it’s just a matter of time before humans and smart machines are working together.

If you have questions or security concerns, call American Security Force at 855-722-8585.

Infrastructure: How Safe Is It?

infrastructure protection is necessary for national security

Over the decades, local, state and federal governments have allowed our infrastructure to age and in some cases, decay to dangerous levels. In response to the need for improvements, President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget includes an unprecedented $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. The 2018 Budget: Infrastructure Initiative Fact Sheet states:

The President has consistently emphasized that the Nation’s infrastructure needs to be rebuilt and modernized to create jobs, maintain America’s economic competitiveness, and connect communities and people to more opportunities.

 

Our infrastructure consists of 16 sectors. Each is vital to our country’s economy, security, health and safety. They include:

  • Chemical
  • Commercial Facilities
  • Communications
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Dams
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Energy Services
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Government Facilities
  • Healthcare and Public Health
  • Information Technology
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste
  • Transportations Systems
  • Water and Wastewater Systems

Infrastructure Vulnerability

But improvement is not enough.  These sectors are not only at risk from age and decay, but also from terrorist attacks. The Department of Homeland Security and its Protective Security Coordination Division routinely conducts field assessments to identify vulnerabilities. It prepares special reports that offer “cross-sector risk analysis.”

However, these reports are only available to DHS federal, state and local partners.

Digital Threats

While the internet gives us incredible information capabilities, it also provides opportunities for long-distance attacks on our infrastructure.

Consider this 2015 story by the Boston Globe about Iranian hackers who had gained access to the United States power grid. They stole passwords and engineering drawings for power plants. In fact, the information stolen was enough for the hackers to potentially gain access to the grid and knock out power to millions of homes in 18 states!

This was not the first time, either. Dating back to 2005, foreign hackers have broken into systems that control the power grid “about a dozen times.”

Security and Resilience

In response to potential attacks, President Obama issued a presidential directive in 2013 aimed at reducing the physical and cyber risk to infrastructure. “Critical infrastructure must be secure and able to withstand and rapidly recover from all hazards,” it explains.

The ability to recover rapidly from disruptions, or resilience, includes bouncing back from natural disasters, accidents and deliberate attacks. The exact status of our infrastructure’s security is difficult to obtain. 

The Bottom Line

Our country’s infrastructure touches our lives on a daily basis. For most citizens, it exists in the background, something taken for granted and assumed to always be available. But our infrastructure is much more vulnerable than people realize and securing these sectors will require ongoing measures.

Are you looking for ways to keep your property and employees secure? Call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585 for answers.

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.

Violence in Healthcare

violence in healthcare is on the rise

It’s a sad fact but violence in healthcare is growing.

Health.USNews.com tells the story of Cynthia Palomata. She was a nurse at a county detention facility in California. In 2010, an inmate faked a seizure and was moved to the nursing station. Once there, he killed Palomata by striking her in the head with a lamp.

Workplace Violence in Healthcare

This tragic event might be an extreme example, but it illustrates the danger that healthcare workers are in when they go to work everyday. In January 2017, healthcare workers attended a meeting at the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Capitol Hill. They described experiencing incidents of verbal abuse, and injuries from physical assaults such as scratching, biting and pushing. Most of these assaults come from the very people they are trying to help, their patients.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that there were nearly 17,000 incidents reported in 2014. There were 154 injuries for every 10,000 workers in public hospitals. Workers in nursing home experienced a higher rate: 228 per 10,000 workers.

According to OSHA.gov, “From 2002 to 2013, the rate of serious workplace violence incidents (those requiring days off for an injured worker to recuperate) was more than four times greater in healthcare than in private industry on average.  In fact, healthcare accounts for nearly as many serious violent injuries as all other industries combined.”

The Causes

Of course, a natural reaction to violence in healthcare is to ask why this is happening? Why are good people who have dedicated their lives to helping others being mistreated? Some believe it might be cultural. What’s happening in healthcare, for instance, is just a microcosm of what’s happening in our larger society.

Healthcare workers are seeing patients when they are not at their best. When they are stressed and their tempers may be short. Thus, if it is an angry world outside, that anger will be carried into the healthcare facility and be amplified by the stresses presented inside.

Healthcare workers also work daily with patients whose minds could be clouded by drugs or dementia. These people don’t intend to harm anyone, but are acting out to inaccurately perceived dangers.

The Bottom Line

The world seems to be evolving into a more dangerous place everyday. With that realization must come the idea that no place is safe and that includes our healthcare facilities. Steps should be taken by the proper professionals to resolve security lapses and to create protocols in advance of incidents. Only then will we be able to reduce the present level of violence in healthcare.

If you want to learn more about how to secure your facility and protect your employees, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585.

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.

Critical Infrastructure: Protecting These Vital Assets

Critical infrastructure protection initiatives are now underway

We tend to take the modern world in which we live for granted. Clean water, electricity, communications and even our food arrive to us without delay and we expect it to be there. In the past we did not give much thought to protecting the parts of our country’s critical infrastructure. But that’s changing.

The Department of Homeland Security explains that there are 16 critical infrastructure sectors. These include assets such as energy, transportation, dams and financial services. They are so important to the United States that DHS states, “their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”

In an effort to protect these assets, the Obama Administration issued Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21).

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience

The intent of PPD-21 is to, “…strengthen and maintain secure, functioning, and resilient critical infrastructure…against both physical and cyber threats.” The new policy redefined the functions and roles across the federal government.

It also set out to enable better information exchange between the parties involved and set up an integration and analysis function that would aid in planning and decision making. 

The Sectors Involved

The challenge will be securing the 16 sectors while not disturbing the delivery of services and goods to citizens. Yet the sectors involved touch all of us in some way on a daily basis. They include the following:

  1. Chemical
  2. Commercial Facilities
  3. Communications
  4. Critical Manufacturing
  5. Dams
  6. Defense Industrial Base
  7. Emergency Services
  8. Energy
  9. Financial Services
  10. Food and Agriculture
  11. Government Facilities
  12. Healthcare and Public Health
  13. Information Technology
  14. Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste
  15. Transportation Systems
  16. Water and Wastewater Systems

The job of securing these sectors will not be easy. PPD-21 explains, “Critical infrastructure must be secure and able to withstand and rapidly recover from all hazards. Achieving this will require integration with the national preparedness system across prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.”

The Bottom Line

Many of these assets are privately owned and may need additional security. As experts in securing and protecting facilities and personnel, American Security Force can consult with your team to create a plan that secures your business, its resources and your employees.

Call us at 877-722-8585 for more information.

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.