Designing a PSP (Physical Security Program)
Most people and entrepreneurs don’t think much about security when they start a business. Other than turn the lights off and ensure the doors are locked when they leave, they don’t put much thought or effort into security, which is too bad, and they could save a lot of headaches or financial resources if they did.
What most of them, and even C-suite executives, think about is how much it will cost, not how much it will save them. They look at the immediate loss in terms of money and not at the long term prospects of loss of resources/people.
And to that end they need a good Physical Security Program (PSP). It takes a bit of time, effort, thought, and a few financial resources (most of the time) to design a good program that will resist loss and give the business owner some Return on Investment (ROI). Seems like an irony to say that security can be a good ROI, but it can be a profit center and not a cost center, if done properly.
The first thing you need to do when beginning to design your program is determine what the vulnerability is of your business. This comes in several ways, including location. You have to think about your enterprise and the crime specifications of that business i.e. pawn shops or payday loan stores. On the other hand a cookware and cookbook store could possibly be much less vulnerable to any crime, including robbery.
If your business is in a high crime area, then you’ll have to take different precautions than if your office inside of a Class ‘A’ area. If you don’t know a Class A is a very high rent area such as the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, West Gate in Glendale Arizona Or Avenue of the Americas in New York City.
What do you Need?
This is another question that will vary greatly within your business and location. If you’re in the jewelry business in a high crime or low income area then that’ll be different than being in the Empire State Building in New York.
If you are a standalone business, in a strip mall area, then you’ll probably need alarms, access control, sufficient lighting (yes lighting), landscaping, and other items that make it hard for someone to hang around to plan a robbery or other crime. And these are just as varied as the kind of business and location that you’ll have.
Other things that you need to look for when renting space, for any kind of business, are not as varied – except within the individual items themselves;
Doors – what kind & are they safe/secure enough
Locks – are they sufficient for your business?
Cameras/CCVS – Is all parts of the business covered and blind spots outside doors eliminated?
Security officers – you may need some physical protection ‘who ya gonna call?’
Cash & Inventory handling
Policies & procedures for everything
Is it absolutely necessary to think about all of these things? Yes it is. If for no other reason as to eliminate them from being used against you, and your employees, in your business. It’s always better to over protect at first and then cut back than not have enough to cut costs and get ‘bit in the butt’ from an issue!
How do I know what I need?
This is not a professional plug, but most of the time business people just don’t know what they’re doing. It’s best to call in a consultant (not a sales person) to give you an assessment of what you need. A good consultant will give you several options, from the cheap to the not so inexpensive.
A consultant is independent, hopefully, and is objective in what they report to you in the way of precautions. I mentioned not to have a salesman come to your business and give you an assessment. Not that they are dishonest, but they do need to sell their product in order to make a living. If possible you could call in someone who is well versed in security that is a friend of yours, just ensure that they are experienced in physical security.
Another good resource is calling the police and asking a Crime Prevention Officer to come to your business. They often, not always but often will perform a survey for free. They won’t give you the same information, or detail, as a security consultant, but they will give you enough to get you started. And it will also help you to prevent immediate crime in or around the business.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security field for nearly 32 years, and 24 studying workplace violence issues.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany, Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.