2020 has certainly been an interesting year for security guards. COVID lockdown requirements led to new opportunities and social distancing posed new challenges. Then waves of protests over mask wearing, police brutality, racism, statues and more swept across the nation, leading to all new security concerns.
It’s no surprise that private business owners have become more aware than ever of the chances of vandalism and property damage, especially if they have a business in a central location that’s been exposed to protests, riots or violence in the past. That means demand for property damage protection is going up: Is your security company ready to meet the new demand? We’re going through some best practices to help your firm stay prepared.
Frequent Patrols are Important (with the Right Technology)
One of the best defenses against property damage from other people is frequent, mobile patrols that can quickly cover an area, repeatedly, to check for signs of vandals. When creating security plans for businesses worried about damage, focus mobile patrols that can regularly check in on multiple areas, rather than more stationary guard positions.
The right technology is also important for these mobile patrols. Guards should have apps and platforms that can quickly capture video of vandalism and trespassers for legal/insurance purposes, and as well as the ability to instantly contact each other over two-way communication systems whenever there is a problem. The combination of this technology and frequent patrols is especially useful when protecting larger commercial buildings.
Remote Monitoring Can Cover Areas with Less Traffic
Discuss remote monitoring options with your clients and see if this could be an ideal solution for property protection. If possible, offer remote monitoring solutions of your own – such as your own security cameras – that can be set up on a temporary basis and dismantled later. This can help monitor specific high-risk areas even when a guard needs to stay a specific access point. By keeping an eye on live streams of remotely monitored areas, guards can’t watch for any suspicious activity and act when necessary.
This is a good way for smaller guard teams to cover larger areas, or for property owners to save some money while still getting the watchful eyes that they want. Another option, which may work particularly well for retail stores, is integrating your guard plans with the current security system that the store uses, so you can use remote monitoring that’s already present in coordination.
Concentrate on Areas with High Damage Potential
You may also find it useful to focus more areas at higher risk when planning patrols or guard positions. A property owner worried about riots may want a particular focus on their glass wall entryway where the potential for damage is much greater than other sides of the building. Likewise, particular landscaping, decorations, or signs may be more at risk of vandals than other spots. Recognize this and customize your plans based on individual property needs.
Keeping an Eye on Civic Unrest
If you and your client believe that there is a significant chance of property damage due to civic unrest in the area, keep an eye on the news. Riots, while dangerous, don’t spring out of nowhere – they tend to develop over time, and are concentrated in areas.
A guard paying attention to the news in their city can quickly ascertain where protests are located, where they are moving, and how peaceful they are just by keeping an eye on news updates and local warnings. Simply tuning into the right radio channel can make a world of difference and give guards time to change tactics or call for additional help.
Limit Access for Open Sites
Construction sites may be at particular risk of vandalism, especially when civic unrest makes unassociated vandals more likely to mess around. Since construction sites are naturally open, it’s important to limit access however you can. When possible, inspect the site and look for weaknesses in the perimeter.
If a private road leads to the construction site, gate it so that vehicles cannot pass through. Arrange for the frequent patrols that we discussed above to cover as much area as possible. You should also encourage owners to use motion detectors and strong lighting that can be enabled at night where vandalism is most likely.
Include Any Additional Protection Services
As fears of property damage rise, remember that there are other types of damage beyond vandalism, and sometimes nearby riots or other activity can make those problems more likely. That includes fires that could spread to the property, and damaged water mains or water pipes that can lead to flooding issues.
If your guards can offer services to help with these risks, make sure you let clients know. This can include fire alerts and ways to immediately contact the fire department, alternative plans in case of power outages, and notifications if it looks like water damage is possible. All of these can increase the value of your services!
Conclusion: Keep Your Guards Focused on Property and the Law
Clients are primarily interested in preventing property damage. Train your guards in the methods that work best to stop vandalism before it begins. Security guards should not be wasting time chasing down vandals if they are discovered, but rather securing the property, collecting evidence, and reporting incidents to the police if necessary. Master the best practices of property protection, and your services will be in more demand than ever.