5 Things Off-Duty and Prior Police Officers Can Do

police facing awayIf you’re contemplating hiring a security guard to protect you or your employees, consider this: what kind of experience do you want your hired guard to provide? Security guards can help monitor events, schools, and businesses to keep them safe from theft and vandalism. But if you want to hire a security guard because of an upcoming, high-pressure scenario at your business or home, an off-duty/retired/prior police officer may be what you need.

Off-duty/retired/prior police officers are an alternative to the traditional security guard when a higher, more experienced level of service is needed. These agents are well-trained in law enforcement techniques and practice their skills every day in their day jobs. When you need protection under pressure, an off-duty/retired/prior police officer is your best choice.

Here are five things off-duty/retired/prior police officers can do.

  1. Off-duty/retired/prior police act as a calming force during terminations.

Office firings are hard for both the employee and manager in different ways. For the firing manager, there’s always the chance the employee may react poorly to the termination. Even in situations where the employee is aware it’s happening, there’s still a chance they could cause harm to themselves or others out of anger and frustration.

Office terminations are one scenario where an off-duty/retired/prior police officer can help. They can provide a calming yet authoritative presence in the room, possibly deterring the employee from making a scene. And if the terminated employee does happen to lash out, the off-duty/retired/prior police officer is always ready to respond, just like in his day job.

  1. Off-duty/retired/prior police can protect your important executives and dignitaries.

Depending on the type of business you are in, you may have high-ranking officials that require security when they visit your location. These people don’t have to be celebrities. Anyone who has power or money can be targeted for their wealth and status and may need to be protected.

In the case that you are expecting a high profile visitor, you may consider an off-duty police officer to protect these executives, dignitaries and other people of power. Police officers train for this daily in their jobs by looking into suspicious scenarios and protecting the victims or those who are threatened.

  1. Off-duty/retired/prior police know how to handle workplace threats.                 

Beyond employee terminations, there are other threats that can arise in the workplace. An example of a workplace threat could be a disgruntled customer who keeps returning or a known thief who won’t stop lurking in your aisles.

This type of situation may resemble a typical call a police officer receives while on duty, so it makes sense that they’d be a good fit to handle these issues off duty as well. Police officers are trained to react and respond quickly, and this experience can help during high-stressful situations in your workplace.

  1. Off-duty/retired/prior police can neutralize domestic standby situations.

While domestic disputes begin at home, they have their way of entering a significant other’s place of employment. One of the four types of workplace violence is personal relationship violence. Spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends and ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriends were responsible for the on-the-job deaths of 321 women and 38 men from 1997-2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As a manager or business owner, you personally may not be threatening enough to intervene on a domestic violence dispute that has entered your workplace. That’s why an off-duty police officer can help neutralize the threat by using the law, which will have repercussions beyond the immediate incident in your workplace. Plus, depending on the severity of the situation, off-duty/retired/prior police can be hired to be unarmed or armed, which can be critical if the situation escalates.

  1. Off-duty/retired/prior police can escort important transports for your business.

So much of business these days happens online. Financials and other important business information can be scanned and emailed with the touch of a button. Deals can be made over the phone. However, there are still certain high-stake, non-digital scenarios in your business that call for a little extra protection.

For example, let’s say you ran a raffle at your business and made tens of thousands of dollars that you need to deposit in the bank. Or maybe you need to hand-deliver a piece of paper that could make big changes to your company and its financials. Both of those situations call for an off-duty police officer, who can ensure that nothing goes wrong in the transport of those items. Protecting a moving target is all in a day’s work as a police officer, and those instincts are still there, even on off-duty days.

Although you may already have a security plan in place, hiring an off-duty/retired/prior police officer for certain situations in your business can complement your existing plan. Off-duty police officers are the best fit for when a higher, more experienced level of service is requested, whether it’s ddressing a workplace threat, protecting a high-ranking executive or neutralizing domestic violence in the workplace. Check out other ways an off-duty police officer may be able to assist you.

Do you need a reputable company to handle the protection of a dignitary or executive? Have you recently experienced any threatening events in the workplace and are looking for help? Click here for a free quote!

By, Shawn Scarlata May 24, 2016

 

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10 Benefits of Video Surveillance for Your Home

outdoor-patio-security-camera-480Video surveillance is a useful security tactic for any property, including your home. If you’re a business owner, you may already have installed video surveillance in and around your location to deter and prevent crime. A comprehensive video surveillance system is fundamental to running a safe, secure business. However, it’s also a cornerstone of keeping your home safe as well.

Installing a video surveillance system in your home has many benefits. It’s the easiest way to keep your home secure. Today’s technology makes it possible to tap into your video feed from anywhere, so you’re never far from knowing what’s going on at your place of residence. Video surveillance systems are a great complement to your existing home security plan, or they can provide a great foundation for your security plan, if you don’t have one already.

The following are 10 benefits to installing a video surveillance system in your home.

  1. Video surveillance enhances your existing home security system.

As a homeowner, you may have already installed a home security system. These systems come in all shapes and sizes, from notifying you when someone opens a door or window to alerting the police of a break-in, like the SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System. A video surveillance system with features like this one can record the actual events in and around your house, acting as a second layer of information when it’s time to solve the crime.

  1. Video surveillance allows you to monitor your home anytime, anywhere.

These days, you can do everything from your banking to setting your thermometer on your mobile phone. Smartphones allow us to store our most important information right in our pockets. These days, you can also use your smartphone to watch the activity that’s happening in your house. Companies that sell video surveillance systems have features that send the video feed right to your phone, along with security alerts, so you can stay up-to-date on what’s happening with your home while on vacation or at work.

  1. Installing a video surveillance system could save you money.

According to Farmers Insurance, one of the top 5 ways to reduce homeowner insurance premiums is to make your home safer. Insurance companies define safer as “anything that can reduce the risk of damage being done to your home.” By installing a video surveillance system in your home, you’re taking a step towards making your place of residence safer and more secure. Catching any activity that causes damage to your property on your video surveillance camera is one way to positively impact your homeowners insurance rate.

  1. Video surveillance systems are easy-to-use.

It’s important to use frameworks and technologies that work for you and fit your lifestyle. Video surveillance can be a great “set-it-and-forget-it” security system for busy people. Most companies will take care of upkeep and maintenance of your system. Once installed, you’ll only be responsible for knowing how to use the software on your computer or smartphone where you can see the video feed.

  1. Video recordings are the best evidence for court cases.

One of the main reasons you might install a video surveillance system is to prevent and deter crime. If a crime were to occur at your home, you’ll need to have a record of what happened in order to solve the crime. The best way to do that is to have indisputable evidence, and video recordings are great tools for the courtroom. Although you may not use it on a frequent basis, court-ready recordings can be a real asset if you’re involved in a criminal case.

  1. Video surveillance allows you to check in on your family and pets while you’re away.

Even though you might be thinking of video surveillance as a safety tactic, it can also be used to check up on your family, kids and pets when you’re away from home. Since most video feeds can be streamed right to your smartphone, you can see if the dog is behaving or if your child made it home safely after school. Video surveillance systems work to keep your home safe, but they can also provide you with peace of mind.

  1. Video surveillance holds your household staff accountable for their work.

At your home, you may employ a variety of people to help you upkeep your home. They could work inside, like a housekeeper or a chef, or work on the outside of your property in the garden or yard. Since these people are under your employment, you are paying them for the services they provide. By using video surveillance, you can be sure your employees are doing their jobs as agreed upon. There’s little dispute on what has and hasn’t been done with video evidence.

  1. Video surveillance systems can communicate with the authorities for you.

One aspect of your security plan is how you will alert the authorities to a possible theft or crime. Depending on where you are in your home, you may not have a phone readily available when a crime occurs. A benefit to installing video surveillance in your home is that you can utilize your security company to communicate with the authorities for you, ensuring that no matter what happens inside your home, police are immediately notified of the situation.

  1. Video surveillance systems can monitor low-traffic areas in your home.

In a business, dark corners or long hallways are prime spots to place your video surveillance system. This is because these areas have low foot traffic and are hard to see, making it a criminal’s dream. The same can be said about your home in areas like your garage, backyard or other areas that are not well-lit or traveled. Installing a video camera to monitor these areas will allow you to have more eyes on your property than humanly possibly.

  1. You can use video surveillance in lieu of other monitoring systems.

Beyond a home security system, special circumstances in your life may call for other monitoring systems in your home. For example, newer models of baby monitors display a video feed from a crib to a handheld device that a parent can take anywhere in the house. Instead of adding another costly system, video surveillance can be a low-cost way to keep tabs on your baby. You can use the same system for dogs, seniors or anything else you’d like to monitor in your home.

Video surveillance systems have many uses and benefits when used in the home. These systems can double as baby and pet monitors, and can also keep you safe by alerting the authorities of a crime. Even if you’ve already installed a home security system, coupling that with a video surveillance system will create the safest environment for you and your family.

Were you thinking about installing a video surveillance system in your home? Not sure where to start or what you need? Click here for a free quote!

By, Shawn Scarlata May 18, 2016

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The 5 Components of a Comprehensive Video Surveillance System

video screens 2

As a business owner, you want to be able to find out what’s happening with your business at any time, all the time. Now that the Internet has replaced the old, standalone filing cabinet of the past, it can be easy to check in on the records of your business. You might use a service like QuickBooks for your accounting needs, or a service like DropBox for your business files. The accessibility of these files from your computer or smartphone is what makes these services so useful.

Your security plan could be this accessible, too. Companies today that offer video surveillance as part of an overall security plan have features that make keeping tabs on your business easy, affordable and user-friendly. These features usually come as part of a comprehensive video surveillance system, a multi-faceted security plan that touches multiple areas of your business. Business owners today can use a comprehensive video surveillance system to keep their entire business safe, from their budget to their employees.

Here are five components of a comprehensive video surveillance system.

  1. Financial Stability for Your Security Budget

Keeping your business secure can be costly. With new features coming out as technology gets better, businesses have to keep budgeting and financial planning in mind. According to a 2011 report by Electronics.ca Publications, a market research firm, the video surveillance market was slated to grow from $11.5 billion in 2008 to $37.5 billion in 2015 due to increased interest in video surveillance.

When considering a comprehensive video surveillance solution for your business, you’ll want to find a company where you can lock in the costs. Deciding up front what your budget is for security and sticking to it will help you keep new financial addendums to your security plan at bay with the comfort of knowing your business is secure.

  1. Mobile-friendly Features for Your Smartphone

These days, your mobile phone is likely just an arm’s-length away. Our smartphones are our banks, our mailboxes and our social networks. They’ve also become part of our business workflow. This year alone, the U.S. could see an increase of 45 million employees who use smartphones in conjunction with their work.

Your video surveillance system should work the way you work, and if you use a smartphone for business email or documents, it’s best to find a company that can utilize your mobile phone in your security plan. For example, some companies will allow you to view your property from your smartphone, or get security alerts to your phone around the clock. These features can help you stay connected to your business on your time.

  1. Complete Video Coverage of Your Business

Depending on your security needs, you may already be using a security guard at your location. Security guards can be a great option for businesses that are smaller in physical size, or in certain scenarios (like an event) at your business that require a fast reaction or a human touch. But if you’re looking to “see” every square inch of your business at all times, a security guard isn’t enough.

For the most effective 24/7 security monitoring for your business, you’ll want to either supplement your security guards with video surveillance or install a video surveillance system when you create your security plan. Video surveillance systems allow you to have “more eyes” on your business than a security guard has, and can help decrease theft and vandalism in and around your business.

  1. Quick, Robust File Retrieval of Your Video

Businesses that already use video surveillance as part of their security plan understand the benefits of having a record of all the activity in your business that’s indisputable. Video surveillance systems boast one feature that you can’t really get anywhere else: recorded proof of the identity of someone you think may have robbed or vandalized your business. In a serious situation, video recordings may be all you have to prove what you’re saying is true.

For this reason, one component of your video surveillance system should be quick and easy access to your video recordings coupled with the ability to use those files as you see wish. It’s your video and therefore your data, and you have a right to access it in a timely fashion. Plus, different companies might offer different lengths of time to hold the recordings, which could be beneficial if a serious situation involving the law does arise.

  1. The Latest Security Features and Functionality

As your business grows, so will advances in technology. As a business owner, it’s your job to ‘keep up with the times’ and know the latest offerings available to you from your vendors. Even if you don’t handle the majority of the systems maintenance on your own, it’s in your best interest to know if you’re using the right services for your business.

When evaluating systems, be sure it’s understood between you and the video surveillance company how you’ll maintain as well as update your equipment in the future. While the first purchase is important, it’s just as important to choose a company that will guide you through choosing and understanding different features and functionality, keeping your system up-to-date with the latest technologies while not sacrificing what you need from your system to meet your business goals.

Even if you’ve already start dabbling in some video surveillance equipment or techniques, creating a comprehensive plan that includes the present and future maintenance of your system can only be beneficial. Doing so will help you better plan with your security budget, unlock the features you truly need (and those you don’t) and give you the security of knowing that at least one area of your business has a stable, long-term plan. Although it’s noted that video surveillance packages can be costly, you’ll have to balance your budget with services that meet the goals you have for business. Start by researching what these kinds of companies have to offer today.

Were you thinking about installing a video camera system at your property to protect your residents, tenants, customers and employees? Do you want to talk to someone about installing a comprehensive video surveillance system? Click here for a free quote!

by, Shawn Scarlata May 2016

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5 Situations in Which Off Duty/Retired Police Officers Can Keep Your Business Safe

 

police-officersThe duties of a police officer extend way beyond your typical 9-to-5 office gig. While an office worker might punch a timecard at the end of the day and ‘leave work at work,’ police officers have a job that doesn’t adhere to a clock. People employed as police officers typically carry their police powers 24 hours a day in their jurisdiction, whether they’re on-duty or not. Since off-duty police officers still have the authority of being a police officer, they can legally stop crime, even if they’re off the clock.

Because of this, off-duty and retired police officers are often sought-after by security companies for their extensive training and knowledge of safety and security, which is a nice supplement to the traditional security guard skills they already have as part of the job. A business may choose a well-trained law enforcement officer for specific high-stakes workplace situations that involve personnel and asset protection, workplace violence or threats and employee terminations.

Here are five situations in which an off-duty or retired police officer can keep your business safe.

  • Employee Terminations

Unfortunately, one of the downsides of being a business owner is the responsibility of terminating employees who aren’t a fit for your business anymore. Sometimes these can be employees that have been with the company for a long time and may have committed a crime. Both of these situations can lead to a termination, leaving the at-fault employee feeling confused, upset, and angry.

When you think you may be facing an employee termination that may become volatile, an off-duty police officer can help. Off-duty police officers have experienced different levels of stress and many high-pressure situations as part of their everyday careers. In this situation, an off-duty police officer can create a calm while serious atmosphere, dissuading the employee from becoming violent in the face of a termination.

   2)   Workplace Threats

Workplace threats and violence doesn’t start and stop with your employees. The public can play a role in verbal and physical threats to your business. These threats are recognized by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in four categories: criminal intent violence, customer/client violence, worker on worker violence and personal relationship violence. Examples of workplace violence include violent confrontations, assaults, armed robberies, hostage incidents, property damage and sexual harassment.

It’s estimated that 85% of employees exhibit early warning signs before becoming violent. If you have an employee that has exhibited this kind of behavior, you may need an off-duty police officer to help you escort them off your property, dilute the threat or take other actions. Security companies can provide an agent that has specific experience with Emergency Services (SWAT) or hostage negotiation teams, which may be helpful depending on the issue. In this situation, an off-duty police officer can safely take care of the workplace threat without endangering other employees.

   3)     Escorting Courier Service Drivers

Depending on the type of business you own, you may be in the business of transporting your goods from place to place. You may have drivers delivering paperwork, light retail packages or edible goods, or you may be transporting high-value items like money or jewels, or even high-value medicine like medicinal marijuana, to and from a certain location. If that’s the case, you have a responsibility to yourself and your business to keep those items safe and secure during transport.

While you can take precautionary measures like well-planned routes, itineraries and scheduled check-ins, an off-duty police officer could be a good investment for your business during these important transports. If you are moving high-value items, the driver of those items becomes at risk for armed robbery, assault or other threats. In this situation, an off-duty police officer can escort your drivers to and from the destination, ensuring their safety and the delivery of your goods while preventing and deterring crime with their presence.

     4)     Domestic Standby Situations

Domestic violence is a serious issue that has the potential to spill over into the workplace. One of the four types of workplace violence is personal relationship violence. This generally occurs when an employee’s current or former significant other appears at the employee’s workplace and engages in hostile behavior. The workplace is a convenient location to find somebody, since office buildings and business property usually run on a schedule. If someone is really trying to reach you, showing up at your place of employment during your scheduled hours is likely to do the trick.

If you own a business and know an employee that is facing serious domestic threats, you may want to hire an off-duty police officer to keep your employee and your business safe. In this situation, an off-duty police officer is meant to either apprehend or deter the perpetrator from committing any domestic violence in your place of business. Since domestic violence is one of the most common assignments for off-duty police officers, you can rest assured that your officers know what they’re doing.

     5)     Asset Protection

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Some are office buildings that contain furniture, technology and your employees; other businesses may be chock-full of goods for sale, like a retail location. No matter what the makeup is of your business, you likely have assets you want to protect. Allocating part of your budget for asset protection should be akin to paying a cloud service provider to host your business data. As a business owner, you want to pay a professional to protect your important ‘stuff,’ no matter what that ‘stuff’ is.

While it’s easy to consider a traditional security guard in this scenario, there may be instances where an off-duty police officer is better suited to protect your assets. For example, perhaps you have a high-profile celebrity coming to a company event and need someone trained in executive protection detail. In this situation, an off-duty police officer is more suited to protect your business in this situation than a security guard due to the everyday nature of a police officer’s job.

Off-duty and retired police officers can be a great choice of security for your business in multiple situations. While a traditional security guard may provide your business the protection you’re looking for on a regular basis, off-duty police officers can be extremely helpful in situations including violence and threats, employee terminations and asset protection. In these scenarios, off-duty police officers bring years of training and knowledge of safety, security and the law to protect your business.

Do you need a reputable company to handle the protection courier drivers using off-duty law enforcement officers? Have you had instances of workplace violence or threats where an off-duty officer could help? Click here for a free quote!

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How to Use Security Guards and Video Surveillance to Protect Your Business

 

ops center 2The security plan for your business is one of the most important operational plans you will have. As a business owner, you have a responsibility and a right to keep the people in and around your location safe. Depending on the type of business you own, you have several choices on how to execute your security plan. Usually, businesses choose either a traditional security guard or a video surveillance system to meet their needs.

Although security guards are known as the more traditional route, it’s not uncommon for security companies to enhance a security guard’s protective reach with technology. More and more, the coupling of human intelligence and technology is becoming a popular way to protect your business, as it provides an extensive and versatile security plan. Creating an effective, comprehensive security plan requires you to consider and outline a framework where both your security guard and surveillance work together to keep your business safe and secure.

Here are three strategies for effectively combining video surveillance and the aid of a security guard for a comprehensive security solution.

  1. Assign ‘roles’ to your security officer and video surveillance system.

It’s true that there is safety in numbers when it comes to protecting your business. As a business owner, having both systems may feel like you’ve ‘got it all,’ and that’s true. Together, these systems can be powerful in preventing and solving crime. But these systems combined are most powerful when they’re each focused on an individual solution.

When creating your security plan, it’s important to know how each system will be used and what you want out of it, so when you implement your system in your business, you know it’s working for you. If you are using both a guard and video surveillance at your location, you should lean on your security guard to prevent crime, and your video surveillance to solve crime. It’s true that security cameras are significant crime deterrents, but a security guard is best equipped to stop crime in its tracks. Cameras are indisputable when it comes to the facts after the crime.

Assigning these roles to each system can help you with the physical implementation, too. For example, if your video surveillance system is present in your business to solve crimes, it should be placed where the faces of the people in and around your business are visible and clear on the video camera. If you own a retail store, you may want to place a security guard near the entrance or exit in case of a theft.

  1. Create a communication framework for your two ‘systems.’

While security officers can come equipped to provide video monitoring duties, it doesn’t mean they’ve come equipped to carry out the systems you’ve put into place for how your security guards and video surveillance system will work together. In fact, getting down on paper how these two ‘systems’ will communicate is one of the most important facets of your security plan.

It may seem strange to think about how technology and a human will communicate together, but that’s not the type of plan you need — it’s more about how one system relies on the other and how they work together. For example, when your guard is on monitoring duty, what should he do if he sees a theft? Who does he alert? How does he do it? It’s also important to consider edge cases like how your guard should report crime when your camera isn’t working, or how to troubleshoot the video surveillance system if it needs a reboot. Understanding the flow of communication from you to your security system and back is one of the ways you can be certain it’s an effective system.

  1. Train your officers and your staff on the whole process.

If you’ve taken the time to sit down with your team, create a security plan, buy video surveillance equipment, contract with a security guard, and work out all of those details in-between, then you have to get your entire staff — including security personnel — on board with the plan. Security training is vital for security personnel, but as a business owner, having your entire workforce on the same page about security can help prevent and even deter crime.

If you’re transparent about your security plan, your employees can help you spot suspicious behavior, recognize known criminals and even report a crime. Teaching them the in’s and out’s of the plan and showing them you are invested in protecting your business will likely deter them from committing crimes themselves. If they know you’re actively participating in your security plan, it may not be worth the risk for them.

While you may have exclusively used one system over the other in the past, combining traditional security guards and video surveillance equipment can create a comprehensive, effective security plan for your business. In order to maximize your benefits, make sure to fully understand how and when each system is used; create a solid communication plan between you, the security system and the authorities; and train your staff on your security plan so they can help your protect your business.

  • Have you starting working on your security plan, and now you’re ready for the next step? Are you looking for ongoing security guard service and video surveillance? Click here for a free quote!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why You Should Hire a Security Guard to Patrol Your Apartment Complex

Franklin Park for WPWith many tenants living in close proximity—and sharing any range of common spaces such as lobbies, hallways, parking garages, laundry facilities, workout rooms, swimming pools, etc.—the security of an entire apartment complex can pose unique challenges.

In order to ensure a safe and secure environment for all residents, a property manager must have a system in place that deters crime and flags suspicious activity of all kinds. These activities can range from trespassing to loitering, parking problems to noise violations, and drug activity to domestic violence.

To answer these needs, there is no substitute for having a qualified security professional on patrol. A security officer functions as a key deterrent to criminal activity, a real-time responder in any situation, and a customizable solution for property owners and managers.

The following are just some of the benefits of hiring a security guard to patrol your apartment complex.

A security officer deters crime and unauthorized activity.

The most effective way to deter criminal activity is to make a building unattractive to potential criminals and burglars. This means heightening the real and perceived risk of committing a crime. The presence of a uniformed guard—armed or unarmed—is a simple way to send the message that the property is being watched and protected.  

Criminologist Philip Cook of Duke University asserts that private security efforts are playing an important role in reducing crime, with an emphasis on security guards. He notes that as the number of private security guards employed nationwide has grown—now far outnumbering police—there has been a significant drop in crime rates.

Qualified security guards should have the training and communication skills necessary to diffuse conflict. They are also usually equipped with uniforms and patrol cars that resemble those of law enforcement officers. All of this—an officer’s physical presence, appearance and targeted skills—contributes to deterring crime and making residents and guests feel safe.    

A security officer reacts in real-time, with a professional, measured response to each scenario.

Every apartment manager should have a plan in the case that an actual situation or emergency arises. Emergency management is the building owner’s legal responsibility, and there should be someone on call to answer residents’ concerns and problems. Security officers meet these needs, as long as they are properly qualified and equipped.

Domestic violence is one example of a situation that calls for quick, measured response. Officers can step in to stop violence in the act, apprehend the perpetrator and properly document the situation for litigation. In a 2014 case of domestic violence in a Memphis apartment complex, the real-time response of a neighbor, security guard and police officers was credited with saving a victim’s life. In this case, it was the security professionals who provided details of criminal trespass and assault—evidence that was used in court.

An effective security professional is trained in observing, responding to and documenting a variety of issues. The most effective officers are also monitored, managed and supported remotely, in real-time, by supervisors.

Cutting-edge management technologies—through GPS and motion sensors—can ensure that security officers remain on patrol and safe. In addition, communication devices allow officers to make quick decisions with expert supervisory input. This also reduces any potential risk of deploying security guards, while also increasing their effectiveness.

Security guard surveillance can be customized to meet the unique needs of each property.

An apartment building’s security risks and needs will likely vary according to the time of day, week or season, and shifts can be adjusted accordingly. A building’s security needs may also vary with the presence of certain high-profile guests or tenants, such as government officials, corporate executives and diplomats.

Security professionals offer a flexible, customizable solution to a building’s security needs. Officers may be deployed 24/7, or just for one or two shifts. Guards may be armed or unarmed—again, according to need.

There also might be certain physical areas of the complex that call for extra vigilance. For example, security risks are usually higher in parking lots and garages, especially at night. A nighttime patrol may target these areas and even provide the added service of escorting residents from parking lot to building.

When it comes to the safety and security of an apartment complex, the stakes are high for property owners, managers and residents alike. It is, in fact, the legal responsibility of apartment complex owners and management companies “to protect all residents and guests legally on premises from any foreseeable harm.”

Considering security guard services for your apartment complex?

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Why Marijuana Dispensaries Need Video Surveillance

greenhouseToday, the marijuana industry represents a fast-growing group of legitimate businesses serving people that use marijuana (cannabis) for medicinal or recreational purposes. These licensed dispensaries come in all shapes and sizes, with some including a retail storefront and others touting large grow facilities. Currently, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in one way or another.

Even though only some states have legalized cannabis, they all have one thing in common: it’s required by law that a marijuana dispensary (medical or otherwise) has a video surveillance system in place. States like Washington and Oregon even have very specific requirements when it comes to the equipment used in these systems–and that’s for good reason: marijuana dispensaries are attractive spots for criminals. Here are three reasons marijuana dispensaries need video surveillance.

  1. Cameras shed sunlight on employee theft.

An interesting nuance about the cannabis industry is that, at the moment, it’s an all-cash business. It’s actually illegal due to federal banking laws for marijuana businesses to deposit their money in banks, which leaves these dispensaries flush with on-hand money. With such a cash-heavy operation, dispensary business owners are smart to invest in technology that keeps their cash where it belongs.

Employee theft is a major concern from an operations standpoint. A dispensary likely has shifts where a number of employees are coming and going, and lots of activity can cause blindness during certain times in the business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of all employees steal at least once, and that half of these steal at least twice. Using video surveillance and other security and operations measures can identify and stop employee theft.

  1. A video surveillance system can positively impact loss prevention.

Just as with employees, visitors to medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are at risk to commit a crime. Since marijuana still isn’t legal at the federal level, it’s not covered by insurance, making it an expensive, coveted asset to one’s health when used medicinally. And since it’s not approved by the FDA and deemed a Schedule I controlled substance, it’s not always easy to find. These reasons make cannabis dispensaries at risk for theft of all kinds.

Depending on the dispensary, marijuana is usually sold in one-ounce bottles, specifically medical marijuana, making it easy to conceal. Cameras that are strategically placed at exits, entrances and other high-traffic areas can help marijuana business owners monitor activity in their space in real-time, catching crimes as they occur. Knowing there’s a security system in place can stave off a criminal; just the sight of cameras can change their mind to move on to something else.

  1. Cameras are a must-have for your grow strategy.

Medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities are not always located in the same place. Actually, it’s illegal in Oregon, where medical and recreational marijuana use is legal. This means that dispensaries work with grow facilities to acquire the cannabis needed to support the demand at the dispensary.

With one of the most important metrics in a grow facility being dollar per square foot spent, every plant demands resources that can be costly. For example, the price of specific lights, cooling systems and general power your grow facility needs can run you upwards of a million dollars just to get started.

That’s a big investment in both equipment and plants, and keeping it under video surveillance can be beneficial in many ways. Using cameras in your grow facility can protect your investments by monitoring your crops, growing process, daily operations and more.

If you’re considering opening your own dispensary, find out the laws in your state about surveillance requirements for your new location. Green Rush Consulting is one resource for In-depth knowledge of all state regulatory and application processes. Although it can be a big up-front investment in your business, video surveillance can keep your cannabis secure, from seed to sale.

Were you thinking about installing a video camera system at your marijuana dispensary to protect your investments? Click here for a free quote!

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Security Guards Vs. Video Surveillance: The Pros and Cons

By Shawn Scarlata

As a business owner, one of your main concerns is safety in your workplace. However, it doesn’t matter if you own a jewelry store or an office building there are only of a finite number of tried and true options at your disposal to ensure that your property, your employees and your business is kept safe. Two of these options are security guards and video surveillance systems.

Because no one business is the same, there are times when one of these options will work better for your business setup than the other. Factors like location, size of physical space and money are all attributes to consider when choosing a security system for your business. Here are the pro and cons to security guards and video surveillance systems.

Pro: Security guards can react, not just see, in real-time

One aspect of keeping your workplace safe is the ability to react to threatening situations in real-time. It’s certainly a plus for video surveillance to have undeniable coverage recorded, but that doesn’t solve a more immediate problem: the ability to react to a situation in the moment and potentially deter crime before it happens or is happening.

Security guards can be trained to react in real-time. Security guards receive varying levels of training when it comes to actively responding to crime. Training can include exercises on how to collect information all the way through the ability to detain suspects. As a business owner, it’s up to you to decide what your needs are and what skills a security guard must have to help you meet them.

Pro: Video surveillance systems can cover more ground.

In the case that your business covers a lot of physical ground, spans many floors or is located in a space that can’t be properly surveyed by a human, you’re in luck: video surveillance systems are the answer to being able to see your whole business at once, and maybe even on your smartphone, too.

Due to their range of motion, recording capabilities and the ability to add as many cameras as your budget will allow, video surveillance systems are the best way to see the entirety of a large area at once. This could possibly include but is not limited to spaces like warehouses, parking lots, outdoor shopping areas and more.

Con: Security guards can be expensive.

There’s no denying that the presence of an armed security guard would make most people think twice before even attempting to commit a crime. But for many businesses, having security guards to patrol their property is just not in the cards — or their budget. As a business owner, the cost of paying a person(s) to keep your workplace safe must be considered. Security guards, while ensuring safety, also can incur a large cost on your business.

For small businesses, security guards can run anywhere between $20-$100 per hour depending on the type of work they are contracted to do. While an unarmed security guard typically is about $18-22 per hour, an armed security guard costs more for the same amount of time. The costs for both armed and unarmed security guards can go up during the nighttime, as risk increases during the evening hours.

Con: Video surveillance can lead to delayed responses.

When creating a video surveillance system at your business, it may be tempting to install a camera in every nook and cranny to make sure the system is working for you and keeping your business safe. However, by doing this, you’re ensuring just the opposite. The golden rule to follow when it comes to video surveillance is the more cameras you have, the more staff you must employ to monitor it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to respond efficiently and effectively to a crime in progress.

When setting up your system, don’t forget to create a plan of who will monitor which cameras and when. Doing this, paired with some investigation on exactly where the best places are to install cameras, will get you started off on the right foot. Don’t forget that video surveillance systems these days come with features like remote video feeds, different camera types and more, and these nuances need to be worked into your training so folks can properly react to what they’re monitoring.

While there are pros and cons to security guards and video surveillance systems, there’s also a third option that might work for your business. A comprehensive approach is a blend of using both security systems to keep your business safe. It’s possible that a security guard during the day adds an extra layer of protection to the cameras that already monitor your space at night. No matter what, understanding the pros and cons of both systems will help you make the best choice for your business.

Are you looking for ongoing security guard services for your commercial or residential property? Click here for a free quote!

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Why Your School Should Have Video Surveillance

Three security cameras attached on the office building corner

A growing concern among educational institutions today is safety. In America, there have been 171 school shootings since 2013. Gun violence, theft and vandalism are issues that schools deal with every day. As a result, school officials have an ongoing mission to find the best solutions to keep their schools safe and secure for their students.

For protection against these threats, schools are turning to security cameras as an indispensable aid to identifying and resolving issues. Sixty percent of US residents and 52 percent of Canadians polled agreed they would feel that their children were safer with surveillance cameras in place (Ipsos Public Affairs). Implementing video surveillance at your school can help you monitor potentially large school grounds effortlessly, impact negative activity like vandalism or theft positively, and create a more secure system for school visitors.

Consider the following three reasons to use video surveillance at your school.

  1. Video surveillance is the best solution to secure large areas.

While an average of 23.1 students fill the typical American primary school classroom, every school is different in terms of size and shape. An educational campus may house football or baseball fields, an athletic center, a library or even own the grounds around the school. When hundreds or thousands of students have access to these areas during school hours (or pay a visit to these locations during off-hours), it can become hard to manage the traffic coming in and out of your school grounds.

Video surveillance can help school officials easily maintain these areas without having to leave their offices. Today’s video surveillance technology offers IP cameras, which can be connected wirelessly over a school’s internet network. These cameras are an upgrade from older surveillance systems like CCTV, which can’t broadcast footage over the internet. Being able to tap into your video stream at any time makes it easy for you to monitor different areas of your school hundreds of feet away in seconds.

  1. Video surveillance can prevent and reduce crime in your school.

Walpole High School in Walpole, Massachusetts recently upgraded their security system based on prior violent incidents at other schools like Sandy Hook in Newton, Connecticut and recent events like the Boston Marathon bombing. Walpole High’s principal, Stephen Imbusch said that in the 1,165-student high school, the existing security cameras used to monitor inside threats and student behavior have proven useful in determining what might have happened in certain disciplinary or criminal situations.

Just as these security cameras are meant to solve crimes at your school, they can also act as deterrents for crime. Conspicuously placed school surveillance cameras have been shown to reduce threats of violence and vandalism drastically. This means that, at your school, you’ll want to install some security cameras in plain sight. Knowing that your face or voice can be caught on tape is enough to deter a student who may be considering vandalism or theft.

  1. Video surveillance can help monitor visitor activity at your school.

In recent years, schools have implemented a plethora of safety measures not only inside the school itself, but also in the processes by which visitors are welcomed onto school grounds. These measures can span from a sign-in sheet to metal detectors and body searches. The U.S. Department of Education Indicators of School Crime and Safety reported that 98% of schools require all visitors to sign or check in upon arrival. But what happens after the check-in can be anyone’s guess, if you haven’t taken the proper security measures.

Video surveillance, along with tactics like badges, sign-in sheets and other identifiers, is a great way to protect students from unauthorized visitors. It’s not uncommon for a parent or relative to visit the school for reasons like parent-teacher conferences or to pick their sick child up from school, but confirming parental rights or even the true identity of a visitor isn’t always part of the process.

And while non-students visiting school grounds is usually a daytime activity, unwanted visitors could return at off-hours, when the school is empty and the grounds are dark. In this scenario, video cameras can monitor this activity and inform school officials about exactly where on school grounds incidents are likely to happen, and can even provide information on the person(s) involved in any suspicious activity.

While school officials looking to implement video surveillance should check the laws in their state about where video surveillance is allowed (as to not infringe on any privacy laws), video surveillance can aid schools in keeping their institution a safe and secure place for student and visitors. The ability to stream the cameras over the school’s network allows for real-time monitoring, no matter where you are. And along with reducing and possibly preventing crime, video surveillance serves to protect everyone on school grounds, both students and visitors alike. Using video cameras for security purposes allows schools to easily monitor school activity and respond fast to possible security threats.

Thinking about installing a video camera system at your property to protect your students, residents, tenants, customers or employees? Click here for a free quote!

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by Shawn Scarlata, March 24, 2016

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Top 3 Reasons to Implement Video Surveillance at Your Apartment Complex

by Shawn Scarlata

As the owner of an apartment complex, you are responsible for the upkeep of your property, maintaining both the inside and the outside of your building. The amount of time and effort you spend doing this depends on the size of your property, but big or small, one of the more top-of-mind jobs to address is safety, whether that’s keeping employees or tenants safe inside, or monitoring public activity outside. If you own an apartment complex, this can be a more challenging task.

These days, apartment complexes don’t only include apartments, but also parking lots, garages, gyms, an office and sometimes even a hall or gathering area for the tenants. With so many people organized in a defined amount of space, each living on different schedules with their own personal lives, it’s important to provide safety measures like around-the-clock video monitoring for your occupants in your public spaces. Sometimes, implementing video surveillance can even help you comply with the law.

The following are the top 3 reasons to implement video surveillance at your apartment complex.

  1. Video surveillance provides safe, comfortable facilities for your tenants.

In New York, for example, there’s a tangible line between privacy and safety. The general rule states that law-abiding tenants can freely use their homes without unreasonable interference or annoyance, and rental clauses frequently cite that the occupants are entitled to “exclusive control” of their space when they sign the lease. However, tenants of your apartment complex may not want the same kind of personal privacy in your public spaces.

As a property owner, you have a duty to provide safe, comfortable spaces in the public areas of your complex. If your tenants feel unsafe around their home, it could hurt your business with a bad reputation and not enough occupants to pay the bills. Video surveillance in public areas, defined by the New York Courts as “hallways, lobbies, vestibules, public telephone booths, stairwells and any other areas used for ingress and egress where access is relatively uncontrolled,” is necessary to provide this type of environment for your tenants.

  1. Video surveillance teaches you to spot suspicious activity and prevent crime.

Even though you may have tenant turnover when leases are up for renewal, you’ll still have long-term or noteworthy tenants that exhibit certain patterns of behavior you’ll learn over time. Using video surveillance is one way to quickly get up-to-speed on the ecosystem of your complex, which could help you prevent crime before it occurs.

Monitoring spaces like the parking lot, gym, security office and other highly-trafficked public areas can help you understand when that’s a busy area, a slow area–or an area someone shouldn’t be in at all. If you’ve taken the time to learn the patterns of your apartment complex, that too can aid in catching suspicious activity. Management Enterprises, a property management company, recalled an incident when at a property they operate, staff suspicions were aroused when a visitor consistently entered the building at a particular time of the day. A current resident, who was allowing an unauthorized person to live with her, would only admit to having the guest after being told everything was logged on the apartment complex’s DVR.

  1. Video surveillance can help you easily comply with property laws.

As a property owner, you’re likely familiar with all of the rental laws that are applicable in your state. Sometimes these laws pertain to how you are allowed to rent the space within your property, the allowance of animals or smoking inside and on the premises, and a myriad of different scenarios that make up the experience of renting an apartment. If you know these laws, you’ll know whether or not your state requires you to have video surveillance at your apartment complex.

In California, the law says that property owners have a legal duty to provide a safe and secure environment for their tenants. Video surveillance technology can help fulfill this requirement. Video surveillance is a good fit for preventing theft and vandalism, actions that can breed more serious criminal activity in your complex. You’ll want to check the laws in your state, as being a crime deterrent is one of the noted benefits of using a video surveillance system.

 

Were you thinking about installing a video camera system at your property to protect your residents, tenants, customers and employees? Would you like a roving patrol officer with your video monitoring? Click here for a free quote!

If you want to first find out a little more about how our VSaaS (Video Surveillance as a Service) works you can click here to download our information sheet.

 

 

 

 

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