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Month: November, 2016

Fewer posts during the holidays

Just a little warning for the month of December about posts that may disturb the Christmas season for you. I will be posting very few of these here for that reason.

Christmas is a season for giving and bask in the glow of friendship, fellowship, with family and friends. Therefore will be few posts this month. While security is an important item not to overlook at this time of year I don’t want to intrude too much on your warm and fuzzy feelings during the season.

There will also be a big announcement in the next couple of weeks as well so please be watching for it. Until the next post… have a great and wonderful Christmas season and be safe, secure, and aware of your surroundings at all times.

 

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

The holidays, stress, and workplace violence. Be Careful, it will kill you

We have all heard the news reports from the various media outlets that are available to us, including the dwindling number of printed papers. I think we can all agree that the amount of personal stress is extremely high over the holiday season. For some people it will be harder on them than others, which can lead directly into workplace violence (WPV).

So you say “How can there be stressors during the holidays? It’s such a joyous time of the year!” Here is a small list of the ones I came up with, in less than 2 minutes:

  • Trying to find money for gifts-difficult if you’re out of work or very low income
  • Find a gift for a special someone that has the WOW factor-see the first one it gets magnified
  • Company parties
  • Decorating the house or apartment
  • Finding time to actually enjoy the season
  • Finding time to do everything necessary in this season of light speed movement. Sometimes it seems that time gets compressed and you can’t even find the time to breathe!
  • Family, friends, co-workers, and employers demanding your attention and time
  • In the northern climes snow, ice, and cold

 

But the question is what does any of this have to do with WPV? Actually a lot. And much of it depends how well you handle stress of both a personal and professional nature. Then there is how well others are handling it. And of course how much time compresses for you, your employees/co-workers and your family.

We’ve all heard the expression, especially around the holidays, “ARRGH, I could kill that (insert whatever expletive and gender you wish)!” Not that we really mean it, but the stress gets to us and we have the need to explode at something…or someone. Therefore, that certain disliked someone pushes our buttons in the wrong way at some point and…

For some people, it’s just too much. The fuse gets lit and suddenly BOOM, WHOOSH, KABLAM! They then, literally in an emotional sense, explode and take aggressive action against that someone. Whether that is a verbal dressing down or an actual assault, we won’t know until the fuse burns down to the powder and goes kaboom.

Being honest, it may not be the exact person or objects that has been pushing the buttons and getting to the individual. It could be a random shopper in the mall who accidentally nudges them, think you, and they stumble. Or it could be the clerk who has had a long and harried day. But whatever it is, you, or the individual is ready to explode. And sometimes they do with deadly results.

The following is an excerpt from a blog post by a friend that illustrates this perfectly and what could happen:

To me there is a double meaning to the term of black Friday. In literary terms something that is black is insidious and evil or possibly something bad is going to happen. Black is what widows and those in mourning wear. Simply put the term black Friday, to me, means possibly death and destruction.” Look at the results of Black Friday shopping in the past few years…

Thousands of people assaulted both verbally and physically in fights over various electronics toys, and even dinnerware. Hundreds of thousands injured, distressed, and otherwise traumatized by other kinds of assaults. Fists, trampled, punched, gouged, kicked, and it goes on and on and on.

Studies have shown that the best deals of the Christmas season are usually on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That means one thing to me… Shop early and don’t fight everyone looking for a .99 cent television. Do your work, go home, have a shot of whiskey, vodka, or wine and listen to some good Enya or Barry White music. Or if this doesn’t work for you do what  you have to do to relax and ignore everyone else out there acting like fools fighting over saving a few pennies over the latest electronic gadget or toy, in this happy joyous season of goodwill to all.

As I recently told a friend about stress and getting upset, she’s blind also, ‘you’ve got to let others hostility roll off your back. Like water rolls off a duck, you’ve got to let the anger and stress of others just run off your back. You’ll take less Tylenol, tums, and you will have less stress in your life. Learning what relaxes you and sticking to it will help you and your employees avoid incidents of WPV

Will it prevent all of it, especially for your employees who are in the mire of customer enraged WPV? Not at all. But it can help in several ways.

 

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

Is our security so tight that violence is moving outside our facilities?

One of my news feeds came across with a headline from Jamaica. It stated that the schools are experiencing lower rates of violence than in years past. Yet at the same time it is also seeing an increase in violence among students away from school campuses. Is there a correlation?

Jamaica has increased school security in the past few years, as have the United States and countries across this blue marble.  Since we started tightening and getting serious about security in our businesses and schools (since the early 90s for businesses and Columbine in 1999) have seen a decrease in school violence but it is moving into the communities instead.

Therefore the question I asked above… Are we forcing violence away from schools, and consequently businesses, only to have it increase within our communities? While I’m talking mainly about school violence and workplace violence (SV/WPV) it should also be expected for domestic violence (DV).

But if we are forcing violence away from schools and businesses are we really doing our job in preventing it? If we are forcing it away from schools/businesses then is it moving into the community in an effort to get away from school and workplace violence (SV & WPV), and consequently security and possibly being caught?

As with many other problems we encounter within our society is it just possible that as security and business professionals have we done a better job or just shoved it to another site? We’ve done this for decades and centuries pushing problems to another area to get away from us and say we’ve done our jobs.

But who are we saving and ‘rescuing’ from the tragedy of SV/WPV? Are we just saving ourselves and businesses from embarrassment or lawsuits or are we truly making a difference in the greater community?

If the trend in Jamaica is true for the rest of the world then we are not taking care of our communities as we say we are. All we are doing is pushing our problems onto society at large. Therefore the community and not the business or school district (college and universities included) are avoiding the innumerable issues of violence.

Consequently it is pushing it into the communities and causing more upheaval there. All the while we say “Look at us we’re doing our part as a good neighbor! Buy from us! We’re community friendly!” The issues of counseling, policing, searching, and all of the other assorted costs of SV, WPV, DV are left to governments to remedy, which of course they can’t do until a comprehensive approach can be achieved by everyone.

But the key question remains, are we lowering violence, of all kinds, within our schools and businesses by tightening security? I would say, as a 33 year veteran of the security field that our efforts are paying the dividends as we intended. We are lowering rates of violence against students and employees, from most causes, tremendously.

Security professionals have been working diligently in attempting to find the right solutions to correct this growing phenomenon. Most of it may be cookie cutter based, which is not always the better option…, but it is working to lower the number of incidents. We could do more but that would put schools and businesses into the red nearly every single fiscal year.

Some of the solutions we have implemented have worked very well. Others…eh not so much. But the rate of harassment, vandalism, violence (of all kinds), bullying, and so on are on the decline across the nation. Even the number of weapons being found on school campuses is down except in a few large cities (those with the most restrictive firearm laws).

One thing to keep in mind with this, and yes it is kinda psychological, is that matter will flow to the easiest exit point. Hold a handful of water or sand. How fast does it drain out? If you grip it tight does it not find different more efficient ways to escape your grasp? Of course it does, as does all matter.

So then the question would be, why would violence against students, employees, customers, or anyone else within your campus or business be any different? If the ‘noose’ is tightening and stopping violence within the school and business it has to go somewhere, dudnit?

If it can’t happen in your business or on campus because of the tightening noose, did it just disappear? Or is it going someplace where it is less likely to be observed and escape from that noose? And of course these incidents are never reported because they never happened on grounds now did they!

Before any of us can look at the statistics of prevention when delivering our budgetary requests we need to look outside the property line and take notice of what is happening outside of the sequestered world of the campus or business. Are we doing all we can to prevent SV, WPV, or DV outside the business? What else can you do?

Of course your C-suite will tell you, with complete assurances from legal, that there is nothing else you can do to help the students or victims, including families. But I will tell you right here and now…they are absolutely 110% wrong! You can, and should, do more. However you can do it you should explore the options.

So what is it you should be doing? I have no clue. Now you’re gonna say “Well that certainly helps a lot!” But each and every situation will have subtle differences in what is happening. Therefore each and every situation calls for a unique solution. Which can only be answered by a professional who knows your region of the country.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

Staying safe & secure during the holidays-Part 2

This is the 3rd, and last, part of my attempt to keep you safe and secure during this upcoming holiday shopping season. So without any further ado:

Check your rear view mirror frequently:

Again, I will admit this may seem a tad bit weird and unusual during the holiday season, but the reasoning is just as simple. Having a car load of gifts, the criminals may not assault or rob you in the mall parking lot. They’ll follow you home and take what they want when you’re most vulnerable, while you’re in the driveway, garage, or parking lot unloading them.

If you’ve spent a hard day or night, shopping and you have your shopping done, what’s the worst that can happen? Especially if you’re on a limited budget. All of those gifts that you shopped for, budgeted for (possibly for months), coveted, and thought is perfect for the receiver will be stolen. That means that your entire season will be spent with anguish and anxiety and you will miss the joy of giving to your closest loved ones!

 

Always check for frayed cords on your lights or other appliances and never put them under rugs:

This may seem a bit obvious to everyone, but it really isn’t. Christmas is when a lot of house fires occur. And because of this you have to be more careful than normal when plugging in those lights and novelty items in the yard. Fire hazards can, and will, happen if a cord is the least bit frayed and placed under a rug to prevent people from tripping on it. Inspect the cords and plugs carefully before utilizing them. If they are the least bit frayed, then use them away from other flammable items. But you really should throw it away and buy a new set of lights or a new cord.

Going along with this is ensuring that your outlets aren’t overloaded with all those pretty lights and other items. While the multiple outlets extensions say they’re safe…

Take care to ensure your tree is well watered and the lights are out. A tree can literally go up in flames within 30 seconds. It becomes a torch if ignited and will turn your home into a training exercise for the local fire department, and none of us wants that. So ensure that you use an artificial tree or that the tree you put up in the window is fresh and well watered every day to prevent it from drying out. And always turn out the lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

 

LOCK THE HOUSE INCLUDING THE BACK GATE & WINDOWS:

          Again, you may think this is a duh! Thing, but it isn’t. People have to be constantly reminded to lock their windows, doors, & back gates to try and keep criminals out of their homes. Because our minds are on other happier subjects, sometimes we forget to lock the house. And if a door, window, gate, or even doggie door is otherwise left unlocked, and then a criminal can…

 

Wrap those pretty packages and place them in a closet:

Sound a little weird? Well it is. But you can imagine the surprise on a criminals face when they open them! Did you realize that it’s not unusual for a thief to break in thru the front window and take the packages from under the tree? Despite the racket it makes, criminals will do most anything to give gifts they didn’t work, shop or pay for!

Soooo, make it hard for them! If they do break in and steal your packages, then they’ll be sorely disappointed when they open them and find…nothing! And the person the present was intended will, hopefully, be greatly surprised, excited, & grateful!

 

I hope these blogs have given you some tips that you may utilize and that hey help keep you safe and secure during the holidays. I sincerely hope that this upcoming holiday, whichever one you celebrate, will be happy, joyous, and full of the heart-warming love that it deserves.

 

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 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

Why not defy CW?

(This may seem like a political post but it is not)

Most people will then ask me, why not? What works better? Conventional wisdom is full of tried and true ways of getting the job done correctly, both effectively and efficiently. So why not follow Conventional Wisdom in solving problems and issues?

The recent presidential election I think has answered that quite succinctly… Donald Trump won when he didn’t follow the CW of politicians and candidates. Going along with that were these points he didn’t follow and was behind in virtually every single poll during the primaries and general election.

  • No ground game. He didn’t have half the offices he was supposed to have had to win.
  • He didn’t have enough money. They said he would need a Billion dollars…he raised less than half that.
  • He was too bombastic and blunt. Obviously it is what the electorate wanted to hear.
  • You can’t treat voters like they have intelligence. He did.
  • You can’t run a totally negative campaign and win. He did pointing out the hypocrisies of the oppositions fallacies.

           Should I go on? I think that these are just a few of what marked his successful campaign for President. Whether you like him or not, you have to admit that President-elect Trump was totally non-conventional and didn’t follow conventional wisdom during the campaign.

In my younger days in the security field I towed the corporate line. I did what I was told blindly and without regard for alternatives. I believed that was the way to do things and get ahead. At the time, 33 years ago, I was with Wells Fargo Guard Services, now a part of Securitas.

I firmly believed in what Major Frank Burns, Larry Linville of M*A*S*H fame, stated “If we don’t blindly follow our leaders and act the same, we can’t be independent and free”. It is unfortunate but I thought that way. And probably because the company encouraged it, as do too many security, and innumerable others, companies still do.

I did learn, usually the hard way, as I pursued my career that this wasn’t the way to get things done. Nor was it the way to improve things and the conditions that security was under. So I started to change and have kept changing, much too the chagrin of many people, including myself as well.

At this point I can say that I don’t follow CW, and haven’t for more than 3 decades and I hope I never will. CW is constraining, restrictive, doesn’t allow for creativity or originality. I’ll continue to think out of the box. After all that’s where the best ideas come from, ask history books about Nicolai Tesla, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, & Steve Jobs.

Not following CW has been considered counterproductive by my former employers& others. But it has served to problem solve many complicated issues not to mention serving my clients and employees. It was counter-productive only to the company. Despite what my employers thought, or wanted, I earned several commendations for my CW defying thoughts and ideas.

Several years ago I came across a discussion that seemed to speak to me. Here is a small excerpt; “If you’re not up for being a creator, at least be willing to put yourself out there to support and defend new ideas. Don’t simply follow the crowd and their Opinion of something. Form your own independent thoughts and stand behind those beliefs. Don’t bow to the criticism of other critics who might criticize you. Leadership is about being out in front and taking others to new places. You can’t lead if you simply follow the conventional wisdom because it’s safe.”

That statement tells me that by not following CW, I can do well enough. And I can do that without following everyone else and sometimes this means ignoring standard & best practices within the security field and others.

I firmly believe that CW can be moldy, smelly, & totally & completely useless in a world where things change as fast as   lightning. So thumb your noses at CW and try something creative and innovative that hasn’t been tried before.

If it fails…so what? If you get disciplined …so what? If you get fired…so what? You will have the satisfaction of knowing you did what was necessary for the client, employees, and the company. You will also know that this wasn’t the first time this has happened to someone…remember Steve Jobs? He was fired from Apple before being rehired to save it.

Don’t act like a horse or dog performing for its treats or dinner is what you need to do in defying CW. Nothing says you can’t be the one to push aside all of the old rules and create new ones that work better, is there? Throw aside CW like Donald Trump and you can make a splash bigger than anyone else. That splash may make your company more profitable and your clients and employees happier and satisfied. You never know until you try…and potentially fail.

 

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

Staying safe & secure during the holidays

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” A Christmas classic since Andy Williams sang it more than 50 years ago. And for nearly everyone who celebrates this time of good will, fellowship, and peace it is wonderful…even those who want to take it away from you.

There are innumerable hooligans, ner’do wells, and just plain out and out criminals out there that wish to rob you of your holiday spirit. These 3 posts, including this one and the previous on porch pirates, will be in an effort to prevent them from taking your fellowship, safety, and security from you:

While you’re out Shopping:

           You must be aware of whom and what is around you at all times. This sounds simple enough to do, but during the holiday season, it really isn’t. And the first unusual thing you’ll read here is that it really helps you to be a tad bit paranoid, or as some call it, hyper-vigilant, and watchful of, literally, everything and everyone around you & not just the special sales and gifts for Mom, dad, significant other, or that lil one.

While not being pessimistic and suspicious of people, you definitely need to take care and be wary of potential scammers and those following you. Those stalking you may want to take advantage of you and you not being aware– in more than a few ways.

Carry only 1 credit/debit card and NEVER, absolutely never, flash a wad of cash. Use your wallet instead of having the cash in your pocket, unless you have a bodyguard. Criminals, if they are stalking you, will watch how you pay for your purchases. If they spot numerous credit/debit cards or a huge wad of cash in your wallet, it makes you an obvious and easily spotted target. And if you’re not aware of that person constantly following you around the store or mall…

Know where you are, also at all times. This goes along with the first tip. You must be constantly aware of where you are and how you got there. Wandering mindlessly around the mall, like you’re in a daze – which is common during this happy-go-lucky season, you may forget or overlook some little issue that may become a bigger problem when you try to leave with that special gift.

Carry your wallet in your front pocket, and this goes for the ladies as well. This is weird tip #2 but stop and think for a moment. Which pocket is closer and harder to get into, your rear or front pocket? If you carry your wallet in your front pocket then it is less likely to draw the eye of a potential pocket picker.

Ladies, if you’re not wearing pants with pockets, place your purse around your neck and shoulder and wear it on your chest. This will make it harder for someone to steal or open it up. You never want to make yourself an easy target. Therefore make those pick-pockets find an easier person to ‘pick’ on.

 

Make frequent trips to your car:

This goes along with the last tip. Especially if you’re in the middle of ‘Black Friday’ or other shopping frenzy. If you plan on shopping til you drop then make sure that you don’t drop from being robbed! Make a purchase or two and take it to the car. Then go back to the next store or bargain special. This will allow you to keep your hands free and you are able to pull out your keys quickly, just in case you perceive you are being watched or followed.

Never, carry so many packages that you can’t see well or your hands can’t move freely:

If your hands are full and you can’t reach your keys easily or you can’t see what is ahead of you clearly, you make a very easy and inviting target to a criminal. Whether they assault you while you’re moving towards your car or after you’ve reached it and have to put your packages down. As with the first tip. ALWAYS be aware of what’s going on around you.

 

Another lil tip that may help during those Christmas shopping outings – keep your keys poking out between your fingers.

They make a wonderful weapon to slash a criminal who tries to accost you. And it also helps you to save time in unlocking the car, so that no one can pounce quickly.

Watch for the 2nd part of this post soon. Look for it so you can stay safe & secure during the traditional holiday rush.

I certainly hope that the Christmas and holiday season will be wonderful. And I ask of you, those who celebrate, please remember the reason for the season. If someone is rude and surly to you, remember that that they may have had someone be rude and surly to them earlier (even if they just started). A smile and few kind words may go a long way in the warmth and fellowship of the season.

 

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 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

Detroit, MI. October 1                                1w

Phoenix, AZ. October 3                             0

Prescott, AZ. October 4                            1w

Phoenix, AZ. October 8                                     1d

  1. Palm Springs, CA. October 8     1w       2d

Lakeland, FL. October 9                 0

Bloomington, MN. October 9              2w

Boston, MA. October 12                         11w       1d

Hillsborough, NC. October 15      0

Fairbanks, AK. October 16                      1w

Casa Grande, AZ. October 16                    1w

Vallejo, CA. October 16                           1  w

Phoenix, AZ. October 17                               0

Richardson, TX. October 17          0

San Francisco, CA. October 18                4w

Phoenix, AZ. October 19                               1w

Peoria, AZ. October 21                   0

Brooklyn, NY. October 21             0

Christiana, DE. October 22                  0

Mesa, AZ. October 24                           0

Baltimore, MD. October 24                  2w

Ranoke, VA. October 25                        3w    2d       

Scottsdale, AZ. October 26                 2w

Phoenix, AZ. October 29                    2w      2d

Ladysmith, WI. October 30                  1d

Phoenix, AZ. October 30                     0

Scottsdale, AZ. October 30                 0

October:  28 incidents 8 dead  34 wounded

 

Year-to-Date incidents: 266 Arizona: 101

132 Dead   274 wounded

If you are worried about workplace violence… Part 2

This is the 2nd of this series of posts on the 4 groups of people to watch out for. The last post focused on violence that occurs because of another crime within the business and employees, current or former. Now we continue with the last 2 sets to give attention to.

  • Domestic violence:

This is one that isn’t as well known, or even acknowledged as other forms of WPV. However, it is getting more attention each and every year with October being named Domestic violence Awareness Month. Approximately 48% of WPV incidents begin as domestic violence of their partners. Domestic violence doesn’t only relate to physical violence but can also be mental stress, and emotional abuse by the partner. Or even a child, although that is much less likely.

Usually the abusing partner becomes so upset over their spouse having an affair, working outside the home or another perceived, see how that word keeps creeping in, problem that it magnifies their anger. Worse is that it may have no facts to support the accusations just suppositions of supposed facts.

They can come to the workplace to physically or verbally abuse their spouse. Even to the point of bringing a weapon and killing not only their partner but anyone else who may get in the way. People who they perceive, once again…, as getting in the way and pushing a wedge between the ‘loving couple’.

The victim may have been advised by friends that they need to get out of their abusive relationship. Human resources may have referred them to an employee assistance program, which in turn referred them to a shelter. The abusive spouse then feels threatened that these people are trying to take their ‘property’ away from them.  It can also result from bitter divorces involving innumerable issues, including child custody.

Child custody can be very contentious during, not to mention before and after, a divorce. Unfortunately it can lead to the murder of the child (ren) involved and not the significant other. In either event it can be a tragic affair that will affect the survivors with guilt for decades.

  • Customers:

Yet another group that is rarely discussed as being a perpetrator of WPV.  But why would a customer turn to violence against you? They become dissatisfied with something you have supposedly, perceived (once again) to have, done. This group most likely will be the 79% – 85% of those committing other crimes on your property i.e. armed robbery. However, sometimes they commit WPV in the traditional sense, albeit it is never reported as such.

Generally they will commit it for some of the same reasons an employee, or former, turns to violence. They perceive, there is that word once again, that they receive disparate treatment and the company is treating them differently from another customer. The fact that another customer had a different issue doesn’t matter.

All disgruntled individuals who come back into your business need to be treated differently, albeit fairly. The customer who comes into your business in a rage, yelling and screaming, demanding their money back or to see the manager is different than the one who comes back politely and requests the same thing.

Therefore it is preferable the customer that is dissatisfied, is dealt with away from others. Whether that is in a conference room, break room, or similar doesn’t seem to matter, as long as they believe they are getting preferential treatment for their issue. They want to be heard and feel like they are the only ones that do matter to you and the business.

Customers can also perpetuate violence against each other or children while in your business. When that happens it should also be considered WPV. Is it a classic incident? No. Is it violence inside or on the business property? Yes. Would it normally call for police interdiction? Yes, so it needs to be considered as WPV as well.

So what else have you personally witnessed with customers committing WPV? You say you haven’t? But undeniably you have. Watch the evening news for anyone who rams their vehicle through a store front because they are upset. How about the customer who begins, for lack of a better phrase, throwing a hissy fit inside the store because they are mad?

 

You will never be able to prevent all incidents of WPV without turning people into automatons, blindly following a computers instructions. That being said, how can you lessen the liability and reduce the risk of an incident? There are numerous other resources available for you to get and train employees on, and your security officers as well. And you really should consider including even contracted officers in that training.

Some of these resources that are available include your own human resources and security departments. Of course there are also consultants, DV shelters, mediators, and mental health services that can give presentations or information to hand out. Avail yourself of every resource you can lay your hands on to safeguard the people under your watch.

 

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 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… porch pirates

It doesn’t matter what you call them, miscreants, hooligans, thieves, villains, scoundrels, or rapscallions. They are the Grinch personified because they will steal those one-of-a-kind packages meant for your someone special.

With all of the delivery services available, they will all be playing Santa Claus for millions of us by delivering those special packages. FedEx estimates that they will deliver in excess of 700 million packages and UPS more than that and with the postal service delivering even more, nearly two and a half billion packages, all for that one special person.

Now imagine the look of disappointment, instead of joy & delight, on the face of your special someone, when on Christmas morning when that special gift they envisioned isn’t there. And it’s all because some porch pirate stole the gift and enjoyment from getting/receiving it.

Still worse, is that a thief breaks your front window and takes them right out of your home. This will generally occur the week, albeit weekends are worse, immediately prior to Christmas. And why do people do this? It’s usually fairly simple to explain.

They are generally too lazy to work for what they want. And what they can’t give as a gift they can pawn. Then they have money for the necessities in their miserable existence. Yes I know the argument of pressure to give a gift and etc. but that just doesn’t hold water to those who lost the joy of giving to their special someone.

So in an effort to alleviate this kind of holiday heartbreak for you and loved ones, I have a few tips for you. Hopefully this will allow you to avoid these pirates who want to ruin your Christmas by helping theirs, and breaking in to take them as well;

 

  1. Instead of placing wrapped gifts under the tree put them in the closet. Wrap and place fake gifts under that tree. Put rocks or other heavier stuff in the boxes so they appear and feel real.
  2. Have your packages shipped to your work address. This may not be possible, but it never hurts to ask. Just be sure to have a place to put them and take them home very night in case you have a ner’do well at work. Better would be if you could take them to your vehicle whenever they arrive.
  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 by yourself… 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… just remember not to close it too early, because some items may not arrive until well after Christmas, 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 special someone’s gift and how lazy they are. Cameras are relatively inexpensive any more so ensure if you utilize this option that you get one that is hi-def. so facial features are easily recognizable. And another place to put a camera is focused on the street for vehicle description. Additionally, there are features in certain smart phones that allow them to be used as surveillance equipment.
  6. While you don’t necessarily need someone like a Mrs. Kravitz, of the 60s TV show Bewitched, have your neighbors be on the lookout for anyone or anything suspicious cruising 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. All package delivery services will take the money for the recipient to sign for the 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 their denials, I’ve experienced this first hand-several times).

 

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 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

If you are worried about Workplace Violence…

You need to look at these 4 groups of people who are the most likely to perpetrate an incident within, or in some instances outside of, your business. Some of these may surprise you and the company you work for as to them being considered workplace violence (WPV).

But I can assure you that they are in fact real threats that can, and possibly will at some future point, be perpetrated on your business, customers, and against you, even away from the business at your home. And you have to remember this little cliché of mine: It can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason

But before we can prevent, or lessen the risk, of any WPV incident we must first know and understand where the threat comes from. There are four groups of people in which WPV originates from;

  • Violence as a result of another crime:

Roughly 79% – 85% of all WPV falls into this category. And it really depends on where you get your statistics from as to which number is correct. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, FBI, OSHA, and others all have differing numbers to reflect on for them. Only the security professional, or consultant, within your business can help to prevent these kinds of incidents.

These incidents come from normal crimes that result in violence within a business such as armed robbery, vandalism, regular theft which goes wrong and etc. Whether your employees attempt to prevent it or not won’t have any effect on if they get injured or threatened. Some hooligans will kill or injure them to keep them from talking or reiterate their point. However, it doesn’t matter if they are physically injured or not, they will all feel threatened.

  • Current or former employees:

The most commonly reported form of WPV is the current or former employee. Keep in mind the statistics above of 79% – 85% resulting from another crime and you’ll see the disproportionate way it is reported within the media. That is probably because of the sensational nature of this kind of incident.

Usually the violence is caused by the perceived negative treatment, or some other supposedly disparate treatment, by supervisors or co-workers. And keep in mind whatever they perceive is going to be their reality, it doesn’t matter what the real truth of the matter may be, their Perception of events will be the trigger for the incident.

However, there are two things that will help your company avoid any wrongful disciplinary action or dismissal lawsuits if you need to terminate a current employee. These need to be followed up on by human resources, security, or upper management at all times to ensure that it is done, and done correctly:

Training your supervisors on recognizing warning signs and the most effective and, efficient ways of confronting the employee before placing it in their records. This would probably be best handled by a combination of security and HR or a certified mediator.

#2 is the value and power of documentation. It is one of those vitally necessary things to prove in a court of law that you followed every possible recourse and that the employee was following the path towards being terminated. All incidents involving employees all the fights, arguments, and so on must be documented every single time, including the derogatory comments, swearing, & otherwise distasteful words. And these words MUST be spelled out in their entirety to prevent any lawyer from saying you didn’t get it right with the f*****g ‘censoring of the words.

If you feel threatened by a former employee, then you need to do a little more than just the above steps. It may be necessary to hire security officers for a period of time and increase the vigilance and surveillance of the business. Keep in mind that some former employees have come back years after their firing to injure or kill their co-workers, manager, or business owner.

It is not realistic to keep extra officers on staff for an extended period, unless there is a verifiable and credible threat, which can be extremely subjective. Therefore to avoid expending financial resources, your business may not have, you need to perform a threat assessment with someone who knows how to conduct one. Yes a consultant can be expensive, but less so than years of extra security measures.

You will also notice that I didn’t mention lessening the existence of surveillance measures. A wise precaution would be to continually keep surveillance, and vigilance, for a longer period. This will ensure security for this potential incident and anything that may occur in the future.

(Look for the 2nd part of this post next week)

 

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 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