The inadequacies of security -Part 2

by todaystrainingblog

Shopping Malls
Let me tell you exactly what I think of malls, in a security context. It is the proverbial barrel to keep fish in. They have security officers, cameras, control stations, and employees of all stores are trained, supposedly, for criminal activity.
But the truth is that the security officers are rarely armed with anything but pepper spray and sometimes a baton, maybe if they are fortunate enough to be armed with anything but words. And employees are like school kids with high social media demands and then having to tell their parents they wrecked the car, they generally freak out at a robbery or gunfire.
One last little note here for historical perspective; remember the terrorist attack at a Kenyan mall in 2013? It killed how many people and wounded how many more? And the damage was so extensive that it took 2 years to re-open it. That kind of incident can, and will eventually, happen here in the United States.

Office Buildings
These can be as bad as any shopping mall. They are, mostly, open to the public with no barrier to gaining entrance to the floors or employees. And even if a security officer is at the ‘welcome/receptionist’ desk, they aren’t usually trained in anything but evacuating the building.
I was an account manager at a Class A office building in Kansas City. There were 2 of us on duty at a time. We housed 3 corporate offices as well as IT centers and the like, typical tenants for such a building. But because we were not supposed to hinder anyone unless they were panhandling in front of or in the lobby, we had 3 WPV incidents, including 1 against me personally. None was fatal, fortunately, and the perpetrators disappeared.
Despite the fact we had corporate offices for a nationwide distributor of lumber yards, law offices, and a national healthcare insurance provider, none had their own security. They paid a little extra for a contractor to be there to prevent any issues with criminal activity, which was totally inadequate for the kind of tenants we had.

Sports Stadiums
Sports stadiums have become more secure, look at the Super Bowl, BCS Championship game, & other high profile events. The only saving grace with stadiums is the fact that most crime is petty theft and pick pockets. Very seldom will a WPV or other serious incident happen there.
There are reports of fights between fans and the like, but those are simple enough for stadium security to handle, usually because they are backed up by regular police. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t happen at a sporting event. If someone wanted to perpetrate an incident of major proportions look at smaller venues.
Division II & III as well as the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) could be very soft targets. They don’t have nearly as many security or police at an event, because they are so small and the ‘big boys’ of Division I of the NCAA dominates college sports. And any major league sport is just like them.

Hospitals
You go there because you’re sick & need to get better. But hospitals are also a soft target for crime. The security staffs are often very limited for the space they have to cover.
Usually, in a hospital of 600 beds they will be 1 possibly 2 officers on duty at a time. If the area is crime ridden, you can see maybe a 3rd outside in the parking lot. These officers are not well armed and not trained to confront someone.
And keep in mind, that according to the Centers for Disease Control, 85% of healthcare workers have experienced an assault while at work. And I do know that one hospital in the Phoenix area has a staffer assaulted at least once per shift.
The hospital systems fight a losing battle against being safe & secure places for visitors, patients, & staff and being open, friendly, & inviting to the public as well as those who need their services. And of course this is also because they have a duty of care to anyone who needs help, from gunshot victims of gang violence to significant others who walk in unimpeded.

These are just a few of the places where security is virtually non-existent and doesn’t do much but sooth ruffled feathers. They are not ‘hardened’ like a dedicated office building or manufacturing facility can be. The difference between a soft business target and a hardened one is the amount of money the company/property owners are willing to allocate to the security departments.
Other businesses and venues have begun to harden themselves against problems. But the truth is, if someone really wants to, and is ‘deadset’ on doing it, commit a crime they will. And WPV is among them, especially when the perpetrator can be a significant other. And unless warned by someone, significant others, as in hospitals, can, and usually do, walk about unimpeded.

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