My thoughts about the above article…
Pharmacy robberies and financial institution robberies are similar in the mentality and criminal demeanor of the suspect. As such, the prevention and preparedness should be similar. While preparedness or safety training is critically important for the survival of the employees faced with an armed criminal, it does little to actually prevent the robbery from occurring in the first place. Safety training is important because it teaches the employee how to properly react, however, the most valuable component of critical incident response training, scenario “reality based” training, has been overlooked. Businesses frequently “train” their employees in a sterile classroom environment, hoping for “the best” should “the real thing” occur. In my experience, the most crucial element of any training program for individuals that may have to make life or death decisions under extreme stress, is scenario based training.
In addition, businesses frequently develop security policies that they believe will deter crime and are directed at protecting the company’s assets rather than protecting the lives of the employees. For example, the “no hats, no sunglasses” campaign has been in place for years in the banking industry, yet we continue to see a rise in bank robberies, and very frequently, no disguise was utilized. It was a noble endeavor on behalf of the financial industry at large in an attempt to “do something” but it has not stopped the crimes from taking place. The criminal mind does not obey laws, much less security policies, of the businesses they intend to victimize. Security policies such as these give employees a false sense of security and does nothing to prepare them for the level of violence and stress that they will experience in the event of an armed robbery.
Another issue with common security practices is that of the “security camera” level of protection. In my consulting, I often find camera systems that are frequently utilized in an ineffective method. While I believe that a camera security system serves as a deterrent to criminals, the vast majority of security camera systems are installed by technicians, rather than tacticians, with little regard to quality images or evidentiary value. Placement of the cameras and monitors are typically based around employee theft or misconduct and the ease of the installation itself. Properly placed security cameras have the ability to provide excellent evidence to police, after the crime has occurred, but does not greatly minimize the robberies from taking place either.
The MOST effective method I have found (and what I provide for my clients in addition to safety training and camera systems) to prevent a robbery is to utilize off-duty police officers at high risk locations. Most jurisdictions (municipal, county, state) allow their officers to work extra security jobs in their official department uniforms and some allow the use of the marked vehicles, as well.
It’s important to understand that we are not talking about “security guards”! Security guards are not the same as an off-duty police officers working an extra duty job in a department uniform. Although, security guards are sufficient in the capacity of protecting property, they would not be recommended in the role of protecting people. My opinion is that it is not a matter of the individual, but a matter of experience and training the police receive that makes the huge difference, as well as the obvious authority represented by the law enforcement uniform and the respect/fear most criminals have towards facing an official representative of justice.
Citadel Intelligence has been protecting many different types of businesses around the country for several years with full time law enforcement and not one of our clients has ever been robbed while our police officers were on site. Several of our clients experienced multiple acts of violence or robberies at their location and it completely stopped once law enforcement security began. There is no question that off duty police officers working security is very effective and truly the best deterrent to any type of crime, in every business setting.