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Month: November, 2015

Paranoia, Vigilance, & terrorism

 This is a repost from August 17. I thought in light of the attacks in Paris on Friday the 13th and the threats made against America by ISIS recently, it seemed appropriate.
The United States, and most of the western world, is becoming paranoid and scared about terrorism. We defeated a few Islamic extremists but then that just gave rise to ISIS. So should we be scared or terrorism? Or should we not be frightened and just remain as vigilant as we can in our snuggly warm sequestered lives?
I am paranoid. I make no bones about it. I will admit that being paranoid about a great many things has kept me safe from being injured or assaulted. And it has kept clients of mine from being robbed or suffering losses for whatever the reason.
I always stress the importance of being a tad bit paranoid! It is a trait that has served me well over the past 32 years and I have been told by more than a few that my instincts were correct. I’ve been asked by many how I knew something was going to happen. The simple truth is I didn’t, I’m just cautious and paranoid, therefore I always think, and walk, on the ‘dark side of the street’ and therefore life. My instincts are so on target I scare others around me. Other times, ehhh, not so much.
Being vigilant means you know what is going on around you at all times. Paying attention to anything & everything. You might only notice something peripherally out of the corner of your eye and it doesn’t concern you at the time. But you have to file it away for future reference.
Now with radical Islam utilizing the internet to radicalize young unsuspecting people to do their bidding. Add threatening us from all sides and parts of the world, we need to become vigilant, and a bit paranoid as well.
Terrorists can use toys to threaten aircraft. Drones have been sighted over every major airport in the country. From New York, Newark, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, & even Kansas City. They have threatened firefighting craft in wild fire areas. And these drones can be used for more than irritation and ‘sightseeing’.
There are videos on Utube that show drones with firearms attached. From your standard 9mm pistols to actual machine guns, capable of blasting through any bullet resistant glass. Then you can add unexplained explosions on the beach and other places as a possible dry run to kill us or drive us into submission?
People taking pictures of critical infrastructure, airport terminals, financial institutions including Wall Street, sports arenas, as well as bridges and highways. Many states have heavily overloaded highways that can be easily obstructed by any number of reasons.
For those that live in California, you know how bad it can be. One minor accident could prevent innumerable people from either getting away or getting help. How many remember the wildfire incident in San Bernadino a month or so ago. Traffic was at a standstill, cars burned and people were hurt because they couldn’t move fast enough to get out of the way – because the highway was too congested and overloaded.
Do I want you to be as paranoid as I am? Of course not. Leave being paranoid to the professionals (security and law enforcement). What I want people to do is to watch for those warning signs of terrorism. The ones that people ignore so well, especially with their own love ones. Look and watch for them and if you see anything beginning to happen and they start to pile up, then tell someone.
But being paranoid and being vigilant are 2 different things. You have to be vigilant in today’s violent world. It does no good for anyone to sequester yourself away from the world and believe everything will be all hunky dory in the morning. Therefore being vigilant is the best way to protect both yourself and your family.
And I’ll add that being just a tad bit paranoid isn’t necessarily bad either. It’ll help keep you on your toes and hopefully fine tune your own gut instincts to be more vigilant. And if you can become more vigilant hopefully you won’t get caught in a cross-fire or other crime.
But no matter what we can’t sit and sequester ourselves away and cover our windows with plastic wrap and duct tape. If we do these kinds of things then we might as well bow down to ISIS and convert to their form of Islam!
By conforming to what they want to fear them and for our own lives, then they win. I don’t want them to win and I would be willing to project that 99% of Americans don’t want that either. Therefore we have only one course of action.
Be vigilant and paranoid. Pay attention to people doing weird things and spouting off the Islamic propaganda of extremism. If someone is acting furtively and sneaking about, then say something. Don’t wait and be the one on the evening news that says in amazement “I didn’t think they’d do that. I didn’t think about that sort of thing in my neighborhood!’
NOTE: not all Muslims are or have been radicalized. Most are kindly citizens and only wish to live peacefully with everyone else.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page,
Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

Security is useless…”

“Security is useless. The only reason we have security around is because they are constantly scaring us into believing that we need them. If we didn’t have security around us, what’s the worst that could happen? If we didn’t spend money on that garbage, we’d have more money to grow our businesses!” A direct quote from a successful Phoenix area entrepreneur.

“Why the hell do we have to do that s***, it’s useless. Besides why do we even need to be here?” This from a sekurty gard (misspellings intentional) I once managed. It was this attitude and other security blunders that forced his termination from my account several months later.

Is security really that important to the success of any business? Do we really scare people into having security in their businesses, just so we can have a paycheck? Is it true that cybercrime, theft, violence, & robberies really aren’t that important to the business? What’s the worst that could happen without us?

Many people believe that security isn’t important and it’s only a cost center. It holds people back from doing their jobs more efficiently. It costs money and doesn’t give anything back.  And the worst of it… Nothing will ever happen here so why spend the resources and trouble us with that garbage?

Many business experts/consultants are quick to dismiss security as a cost center that doesn’t do anything to move the business forward and thrive. And besides, should it be taken lightly & not have the resources spent on it that could be spent on growing the business, refer to the opening statement.

That is until something happens and then it’s security’s job to stop it, even though the financial resources wasn’t given to them. And then everyone asks “why did this happen?” And the finger pointing at the security officers and managers starts, which of course we are used to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter whose fault it was, it will fall upon the head of security as to the blame.

Specifically discussing Workplace violence (WPV), it is a very real possibility in any business. All sizes of businesses will have such an incident at some point. I’ve stated it before but will reiterate it here. 100% of all businesses will have a WPV incident. It may not be fatal or even injurious, but a bomb threat, hoax, or verbal assault can easily occur to any business or owner.

Now, looking at some problems that plague business. Theft, most are committed by employees. This accounts for roughly 81% of all losses. And those losses in the retail sector are over $150 BILLION per year. And how much larger can you grow your business if that money didn’t fly out the door? This is just theft of merchandise not money or robberies.

With cybercrime becoming more prevalent in today’s world, how long would any company stay in business without investing in security software for their electronic devices, both mobile & stationary? And once again, employees ignoring or bypassing the security systems, whether intentionally or for convenience, accounts for more than 80% of information lost by cybercrime. Billions will be lost by businesses in one way or another to hacking, loss, or theft of information. How much larger could your business grow with those green backs in the bank account?

In a perfect world, there would be no need for me & the millions of people who provide protection for the world & its companies. And that would be okay by me if my job was to go the way of the Dodo bird. But that’s not liable to happen anytime soon. Security, when done right and with professional diligence, are vitally important to everyone we’re around. In financial and physical terms we need to be here to safeguard businesses and employees.

Where would we be without the police, highway patrol, border patrol, and the many other agencies involved in law enforcement? Far up a creek and headed to the ends of the Earth because we don’t have a paddle. We need them to help protect the public, as security professionals protect businesses and employees.

So it is up to us as security professionals to prove ourselves, every single day that we are important to the businesses and employees we serve. From the ‘lowly’ security officers (or as the derogatory sayings rent-a-cop, guard, or Barney Fife), to those of us in the professional ranks. We need to show that what we do is important by taking an active role in the security of our company or clients.

It’s not easy to prove that we are ‘indispensable’ to them. As the old saying can be paraphrased “If we stop a crime from occurring, how does anyone know? “Therefore, we must all be proactive and learn to do what we can to prove to them that we are important to the success of the business, and not for our own ego.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                              I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Get the zero out of your policies

One of my biggest pet peeves within the security field, and consequently the educational and corporate environments as well. There are innumerable people out there, consultants, the C-suite, lawyers, & innumerable others, who will tell you that you, with an absolute certainty, have to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to…everything!

But is that really true? Of course it isn’t. How can it be? Having a zero tolerance policy and following through with it can lead to embarrassment & futile efforts to back-track. It can, in the extreme, certainly lead to a possibly violent incident, one of the things it was meant to avoid!

There are innumerable reports of a zero tolerance policy going awry in its use and enforcement. Schools especially are the culprits that get the most attention on the use of this policy. They suspend, and placing a black mark on a student’s record, for chewing their breakfast pastry into the design of a pistol.

And then there is the animal rescue who found a duck wandering on a sidewalk? It wandered away from an assisted nursing home where it was being kept as a pet by the elderly residents and had been for years, and after building a fenced in area complete with pond and waterfall. The rescue can be forced, by federal law, out of business and criminal indictment if they give it back.

And then there is the workplace. If an employee wanders by and picks up a partial conversation from others about using drugs or shooting up the business, they should turn it in. But should the employee who spoke it be suspended or terminated immediately upon the report being turned in to the supervisor?

By enforcing a zero tolerance policy, they should be. But what’s the context of what they were they talking about? Were they joking about drugs or discussing a different WPV incident? Without common sense and investigation you’ll never know. And by not knowing and doing the, too common, knee-jerk reaction you will get plenty of negative fall-out.

One way to look at that conversation is within the context of the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution. That amendment assures everyone the freedom of speech no matter what it may be, with extremely few exceptions. Therefore, unless it’s a real and valid threat, a zero tolerance policy goes too far.

Does it mean that the individual can’t be counseled or otherwise disciplined by reprimand or a note placed in their file? No, it doesn’t. And 99% of employees will be horrified enough by this not to do it again, which is what we want the end result to be.

A zero tolerance policy, by necessity, has to be tempered with common sense & investigation, not a knee-jerk reaction. And in most cases it isn’t. Every time it’s enacted, it should be after an investigation, preferably immediately after the incident. And tempered with common sense.

As kids, most of us went around shooting and killing each other in frontier, war, or sci-fi games. Now kids can’t play games like that. Nor can adults in the workplace or in public many times, utilize their 1st Amendment rights without being threatened with being fired or disciplined and losing money because of the loss of their job.

We are so scared of being sued for having a ‘hostile’ learning or work environment. We don’t want to take the time to try and look at these things without passing summary judgment. With the attitudes in society today you would think we could be a little more tolerant and discerning. But we can’t.

We all need to be hyper vigilant, not hyper sensitive, about such things because of the world we live in. And we have to ensure that the policy is flexible & isn’t handed out in an unequal fashion. A zero tolerance policy has to have the one thing that it doesn’t. common sense.

We need to be paranoid or hyper vigilant. We need to look into and investigate these incidents that cause the zero tolerance policy to be enacted on an incident. Therefore should we automatically pass summary judgment and suspend or terminate someone for those incidents? No, absolutely not. We need to have the good judgment, common sense, and time to properly look at these before just passing the buck and blaming the policy.

We need to get rid of the zero tolerance policies in our schools and businesses and go back to the days of years gone by, utilizing common sense and not be hyper sensitive over small issues. Yes, we didn’t know a lot of things back then, but on the other hand we were also more intelligent about these things.

Can we use zero tolerance policies in our schools & businesses? Of course, they have their place. But they have to be tempered by the common sense, sensitivity, compassion, & investigation before any discipline is delivered.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                            I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Do you want to keep up-to-date on workplace violence incidents?

I’m sure that you do for the sake of your clients or company. After all it is the security professional’s responsibility to protect the company/client employees, isn’t it?

One way to do that is to visit the Facebook page I set up for my book last year. If you go there, you’ll discover several things;

  • A helpful, or inspirational quote or 2
  • A list of incidents as I have heard & collected them
  • Article briefs, with attribution about security issues
  • Links to my blog posts
  • Links to my posts on Silvertrack Software

Now you’re asking “Are you ginna give us the web address or not?” But of course I will. The address is And of course you have to have a Facebook account to access it, but that I can’t help you with.

As a final few words; If you go there I would certainly appreciate it if you would like the page. #2 is pass it around to your colleagues if you do like it, if not let me know what’s missing. #3 just wanted to say thanks to any and all who do those things.

And of course my blog site is at and my twitter handle is @robertsollars2.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

‘Tis the season for…package miscreants

Whether you call them miscreants, hooligans, thieves, villains, scoundrels, rapscallions , assholes, or bastards (there are a million adjectives to use) your special Christmas packages are open to being stolen. It is especially prevalent this time of year, simply because everyone is shopping on-line.

And with all of the delivery services available UPS, FedEx, USPS, & many others will be playing Santa Claus for millions of people. FedEx estimates that they will deliver in excess of 315 million packages. And USPS will deliver more than that and FedEx almost as many, nearly a billion packages. That is a lot of packages that could cost thousands. All for the one special person.

Now imagine the look of despair, instead of joy & delight, on the face of your child when on Christmas morning when the special toy they envisioned isn’t under the tree. And it’s all because some rapscallion stole it off of your porch.

Or worse even still, is that a thief breaks your front window and takes them from under the tree. This will generally occur the week immediately prior to Christmas. And why do people do this? It’s usually fairly simple

They are too lazy, not always but generally, to work for what they want. And what they can’t give as a gift they can pawn. And by pawning your gifts, they will have money for cigarettes, booze, drugs, or other such ‘necessities’ of their miserable existence.

So in an effort to alleviate this kind of holiday heart-break for you and loved ones, I have a few tips for you. Hopefully this will allow you to avoid these rapscallions;

  1. Instead of placing gifts under the tree put them in the closet! Wrap them up and put them in the closet while wrapping and putting ‘fake’ gifts under the tree. Put rocks or other heavier stuff in the boxes so they appear and feel real. Then if a hooligan tries to steal the gifts…
  2. Have your packages shipped to your work address. This may not be possible, but it never hurts to ask the boss. Just be sure to have a place to put them and take them home every night in case you have a ner’do well at work.
  3. Ask a friend or relative to either stay at your home while you work or have the packages shipped to their address. If you live in a city alone, then possibly getting a box at the nearest UPS Store or similar place may be of benefit, even just for the couple of months of Christmas. But remember, some items may not arrive until well after Christmas, for whatever reason, so you’ll want to ensure nothing gets sent back by mistake.
  4. . Possibly a trusted neighbor could sign for your packages instead. But get their permission to ship the packages to their address. Leaving a note for the delivery person isn’t good enough; most are either unwilling or too busy to back up to deliver a package, in addition to thieves putting up false notes.
  5. Set up a surveillance camera on your front porch. This will show the criminals face and what they did to steal your child’s, or other special someone’s, gift and how lazy they are. Cameras are relatively inexpensive these days so make sure if you utilize this option that you get one that is high definition so facial features can easily be made out. And another place to put a camera is trained on the street, so you can get a description of their vehicle.
  6. While you don’t necessarily need someone like a Mrs. Kravitz, of the 60’s TV show ‘Bewitched’, have your neighbors be on the lookout for anyone or anything suspicious ‘stalking’ the streets. Strange cars, people (walking the dog or new to the neighborhood), and delivery trucks without any markings of a service, and literally anything out of the ordinary.
  7. Try to install an alarm sensor that alerts you to someone on the porch. Whether you are at home or not, if it alerts you then you can slip on the camera and see who is there. And if you have a microphone as well, scare them away. There are several of these devices on the market and they allow you to answer the door bell or alarm from anywhere with cell phone coverage.
  8. Don’t fall into a false sense of security of utilizing the package delivery companies to actually ensure the proper recipient signs for the package. It may not happen, even if the sender paid for the service.

USPS, UPS, FedEx, and others will all take the money for the service for you to sign for a package. But in the end they are within their rights of just leaving it at the front door or on the porch if they can’t get into the building or no one is home to sign for it (and yes despite what they say I’ve experienced this first hand-several times).

  1. And a last tip; be aware of door-to-door salesmen, they are few and far in between any more. So few people will buy its not profitable for these companies to do this. And we won’t go into the numerous scams that have been perpetrated.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Workplace Violence incidents for October

I have learned of another workplace violence (WPV) incident at the end of august. I have listed it here and updated the numbers for both August & year-to-date.

Pasgagoola, MS. August 31          1d

August: 25 incidents    15 dead  17 wounded

Roseburg, OR. October 1 (school) 10d 7w

Tuolumne, CA. October 3(school) 0

Gila bend, AZ. October 4              0

Dothan City, AL. October 6          1w

Flagstaff, AZ. October 9 (school)               1d3w

Baltimore, MD. October 9            5w

Houston,TX. October 9 (school)                1d1w

Pittsburgh, PA. October 11          0

Scottsdale, AZ. October 15          0

Aitkin, MN. October 18                 1d

Los Angeles, CA. October 18       1w

Chandler, AZ.October 20 (school) 0

Paradise Valley, AZ. October 20 (school) 0

Surprise AZ. October 20 (school) 0

Phoenix, AZ. October 20                               0

Nashville, TN. October 22 (school)  1d 2 w

Chicago, IL. October 23                  0

Fredricksburg, VA. October 24 (school(0

Talking Rock, GA. October 24      1d 2w

Phoenix, AZ. October 26                               1w

Boston, MA. October 28                                0

Indianapolis, IN. October 28       3w

Phoenix, AZ. October 29               0

San Diego, CA. October 30           2w

Winston-Salem, NC. October 31 (school) 1d 1w

October:   24 Incidents     16 dead     29 wounded

Year-to-date incidents: 165 Arizona 61

118 Dead  199 wounded

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear