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How Security Guards Prevent and Deter Crime

By Carlos Hazbun | Security Guards | No Comments

How Security Guards Prevent and Deter Crime

Today, many more private security officers patrol properties than there are local police forces. In the United States, more than 1.1 million private security officers are employed, compared to 666,000 police officers, according to Forbes. These officers are in place to prevent crime and serve the people who use the spaces that they protect, including employees, customers and visitors. In this article, we’ll look at how security guards prevent and deter crime.

Physical Security Presence

Perhaps the most significant impact of security officers is their physical presence. A person in a uniform, whether armed or unarmed, sends a message that someone is watching.

Officers observe and report, reacting quickly to the potential for crime and unwanted behaviors on a property. Their presence provides a more effective visual deterrent than a surveillance warning sign, even if the sign is posted adjacent to a camera. Passersby don’t know if the camera is monitored in real-time or simply reviewed after an incident, so they may indulge in a crime of opportunity to test the system.

Shoplifting Stats without Security or Surveillance Cameras

Essentially, people who know they are being observed tend to behave better, so the presence of a security officer can reduce the likelihood of crime or attempted crimes.

A study published in the Public Library of Science of private security agents on train platforms in Southwest England found that increased patrol visits and more time spent on scene:

  • Reduced victim-reported crimes by 16%
  • Increased guard-reported incidents by 49%.

The presence of security officers provides peace of mind to employees, customers and visitors to your property. They have confidence that the premises are safe and a trained professional is watching over things to respond to emergencies if they arise.

Monitoring and Inspection

As preventative measures, a security officer may monitor surveillance feed, check credentials for access control, inspect bags, or restrict access to authorized personnel. The officer may play a specific role in a security plan, such as opening and closing a building for the day, watching for shoplifters, or patrolling the grounds. Security officers can focus on providing monitoring services so property managers and employees can concentrate on their jobs.

Security officers bring the human element of judgment to a comprehensive security plan that encompasses both preventive and proactive security. In proactive security, the officer inspects and monitors the premises to report any problems and serves as a visual deterrent, indicating that a guard is on duty.

The officer can address situations before they lead to criminal activity, such as breaking up loitering groups, ensuring doors are locked, checking surveillance camera angles and performing access control duties. The watchful eyes of an officer can raise the odds of being caught beyond what criminals are willing to risk.

The PLOS study indicated random patrol visits are more effective than establishing a routine patrol circuit. Offenders calculate their risks based on the proximity of the security officer, so unpredictability raises the apparent risk to increase deterrence.

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Handling Crime

For armed as well as unarmed guards , their primary function is to observe and report. Responses to crimes and emergencies are coordinated with local law enforcement and public safety officials.

Security officers work with local law enforcement when an arrest is warranted or if a suspect leaves the officer’s jurisdiction on private property and enters public property. Company policies will also play a role in handling crime. Some retailers don’t prosecute shoplifting, for instance; or they may require officers to call the police to handle an arrest and investigation to reduce the potential for liability claims.

Whatever the level of response may be, crime response procedures are developed and shared with all stakeholders to eliminate any confusion when a crime does occur.

Protect Your Business with Security Officers

While the average person seems to be able to distinguish between a security officer and a police officer, the actual deterrence level is about the same, according to the study in PLOS.

Like the police officer, the presence of a security officer assists in lowering the possibility for an offender by acting as a visual deterrence. Potential offenders know that security officers cooperate closely with police, so in high-risk areas, there are usually police close by to detain or arrest suspects.

To further fortify your security plan, consider adding security officers to your arsenal. You can reduce the impact of crime and provide a level of comfort for those who use your property.

To learn more about upgrading your security strategy, contact us today.

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