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  • Is Security just a scam?

    Major aggravation...I work security for a security company. The account we work involves dozens of sites across three counties. There are stationary guards at some of the sites, a mobile patrol that tours all of the sites, and mobile supervisors that supervise both the guards at the sites and the mobile patrol.

    Prior to six months ago, the customer was dealing with a serious security problem, hundreds of thousands a year in theft, multiple severe safety issues- some of them resulting in fatalities. High insurance premiums, high liability. Expensive legal defense, expensive settlements etc etc.

    Six months ago two new people started working the site on the mobile patrol, quickly moved up through the ranks and now one of them is site supervisor and one of them second shift mobile supervisor. As we moved up and were given more and more control and responsibility, security improved exponentially. Theft is virtually zero, safety issues are resolved immediately, and there has not been a single fatality in six months. Much of this can be attributed to simply taking pride in our jobs, providing excellent and ongoing training, and combating the culture of complacency at every step. We took shoe string security and made it actually effective.

    I find out today that the security budget has been cut dramatically because the customer sees no need for this much security when there are no real security problems! We lost half of everyone. Half the guards, half the mobile patrol.

    The account manager for our security company tells us that we are doing too good a job! We were actually scolded about this.

    Now it all makes sense. That the security company always nurtured a culture of complacency, hired crap guards, and seemed to favor and encourage incompetence wherever it showed its head.

    To the security company, it is no good when the customers property is actually SECURE because the apparent need for security seems to fade. Of course the customer doesn't want to see the obvious fact that the reason why theft is almost zero, why the sites are safe and why liability is no longer an issue is BECAUSE security is actually doing its job and their investment is paying off in spades.

    My job is actually safe as is that of a handful of others. But now my workload is increased dramatically. No raise.

    Makes me think that private security altogether is just a scam. If the place is actually secure they don't need you anymore. So it is in the best interest of the private security guard, supervisor and company to make sure security is not all that great. Otherwise the workers lose their jobs and the company loses the contract.
    formerly C&A

  • #2
    Congrats on keeping your dignity and providing good work. Sure, there are companies out there like you have found first hand, maybe one day you can find one that works out better for you.

    As you stated, good security and fewer problems do not just happen, but when things are going well, because of a good team and possibly policies, someone notices. In this case, the wrong someone did. Why do the bean counters not see the correlation.... good security = reduced liabilities + better worker conditions / morale.
    Last edited by Eric; 07-20-2007, 03:44 PM.
    Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
    Groucho Marx

    Comment


    • #3
      Along the same lines...do you think that the public police really want to win the "war on drugs"? Imagine how many police, emt's, correction officers, clerks and attorneys to name a few would lose out. Its all about money.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by talon View Post
        Along the same lines...do you think that the public police really want to win the "war on drugs"? Imagine how many police, emt's, correction officers, clerks and attorneys to name a few would lose out. Its all about money.


        The "war on drugs" doesn't bring in money, it costs money to fight. All the fellow police officers I know are out there busting their butts day in and day out and are happy to get drugs off the street. Believe me, there are more than enough other crimes occuring that are non-drug related to keep all the people you listed employed for a very long time.

        Comment


        • #5
          To respond to the initial post in this thread... I'm sure there are contract security companies out there who do good work. However, I never found one. During my time in security, I worked in-house plainclothes loss prevention and in-house uniformed school security. Both of these departments took security much more seriously than any contract company I ever saw. Contract companies exist as a business. Many in-house security companies exist because the company actually has a strong interest in securing itself.

          Comment


          • #6
            Cocknaces there was a leadership problem by both sides, the client and your company. The client does not appreciate the ROI factor. Your company just rolled over without presenting this factor to the client. You can bet your last dollar the insurer will not be too happy when claims start coming in. Perhaps at that time the insurer will drop this dead head.
            Enjoy the day,
            Bill

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by LPGuy View Post


              The "war on drugs" doesn't bring in money, it costs money to fight. All the fellow police officers I know are out there busting their butts day in and day out and are happy to get drugs off the street. Believe me, there are more than enough other crimes occuring that are non-drug related to keep all the people you listed employed for a very long time.
              The so called war on drugs does in fact make money for the Govt my naive friend. Imagine the money and property that are seized every year, it numbers in the hundreds of millions and is what keeps many if not most small departments going.

              While I will agree that most of your "fellow police officers" don't look at it that way, just because they can't see the forest for the trees still doesn't change the fact that thats the way it is.

              Trust me, take away drug related crimes and injuries and you would cut the public saftey agencies in half because you wouldn't need them.

              So you see the Govt does have a large stake in not winning the war.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bill Warnock View Post
                Cocknaces there was a leadership problem by both sides, the client and your company. The client does not appreciate the ROI factor. Your company just rolled over without presenting this factor to the client. You can bet your last dollar the insurer will not be too happy when claims start coming in. Perhaps at that time the insurer will drop this dead head.
                Enjoy the day,
                Bill
                Bill,

                I have been preaching the folowing for years now: It is the insurance industry that should be setting the standards for private security, not the governments.

                Neil
                Last edited by HotelSecurity; 07-21-2007, 01:59 AM.
                I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by talon View Post
                  The so called war on drugs does in fact make money for the Govt my naive friend. Imagine the money and property that are seized every year, it numbers in the hundreds of millions and is what keeps many if not most small departments going.

                  While I will agree that most of your "fellow police officers" don't look at it that way, just because they can't see the forest for the trees still doesn't change the fact that thats the way it is.

                  Trust me, take away drug related crimes and injuries and you would cut the public saftey agencies in half because you wouldn't need them.

                  So you see the Govt does have a large stake in not winning the war.
                  I honestly don't buy into conspiracy theories. It is what it is, and thats about it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's all math. A $3.00 tube of tooth paste is boosted. Our LP guys make $14.00 per hour. That LP will spend an average 3 hrs in court. Meanwhile he will need to be replaced for 3 Hrs. So far our security company has to spend $84.00. The defendant will get off with a misdemeanor slap on the wrist. Just one of our locations is catching an average of 12 boosters per month. 70% are repeat offenders. The truth is after all the math is done and the non existent SOs that replace the ones in court you can see why not many even see the inside of a court room. I'm not sure if scam is a fair term as I think most security companies start off with good intentions. It's just an oxymoron that is what it is.
                    THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A 911 CALL IS FOUR MINUTES
                    THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A .357 MAGNUM ROUND IS 1400 FEET PER SECOND?
                    http://www.boondocksaints.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cocknaces View Post
                      Major aggravation...I work security for a security company. The account we work involves dozens of sites across three counties. There are stationary guards at some of the sites, a mobile patrol that tours all of the sites, and mobile supervisors that supervise both the guards at the sites and the mobile patrol.

                      Prior to six months ago, the customer was dealing with a serious security problem, hundreds of thousands a year in theft, multiple severe safety issues- some of them resulting in fatalities. High insurance premiums, high liability. Expensive legal defense, expensive settlements etc etc.

                      Six months ago two new people started working the site on the mobile patrol, quickly moved up through the ranks and now one of them is site supervisor and one of them second shift mobile supervisor. As we moved up and were given more and more control and responsibility, security improved exponentially. Theft is virtually zero, safety issues are resolved immediately, and there has not been a single fatality in six months. Much of this can be attributed to simply taking pride in our jobs, providing excellent and ongoing training, and combating the culture of complacency at every step. We took shoe string security and made it actually effective.

                      I find out today that the security budget has been cut dramatically because the customer sees no need for this much security when there are no real security problems! We lost half of everyone. Half the guards, half the mobile patrol.

                      The account manager for our security company tells us that we are doing too good a job! We were actually scolded about this.

                      Now it all makes sense. That the security company always nurtured a culture of complacency, hired crap guards, and seemed to favor and encourage incompetence wherever it showed its head.

                      To the security company, it is no good when the customers property is actually SECURE because the apparent need for security seems to fade. Of course the customer doesn't want to see the obvious fact that the reason why theft is almost zero, why the sites are safe and why liability is no longer an issue is BECAUSE security is actually doing its job and their investment is paying off in spades.

                      My job is actually safe as is that of a handful of others. But now my workload is increased dramatically. No raise.

                      Makes me think that private security altogether is just a scam. If the place is actually secure they don't need you anymore. So it is in the best interest of the private security guard, supervisor and company to make sure security is not all that great. Otherwise the workers lose their jobs and the company loses the contract.
                      Being a "victim of your own success" is a real problem in this business.

                      Why?

                      Because it butts up against the "Civilian Mentality" (with the Client being the "Civilian" in this matter).

                      Most people work and live in a world where they are expected to PRODUCE results ie some tangible commodity of some sort. The job of a protective service worker (police, security, risk managment ect ect) is to make NOTHING happen, which is the exact opposite of what most people (ie "civilians") do. So they have no real frame of referance for what we do.

                      Because you can't physically prove a negative (you really can't prove something didn't happen, because it didn't happen), you can't prove how truly valuable you are to the protected. If enough "Nothing" happens, the civilian mentality dictates that they start to think "nothing bad ever happens here, why are we spending money for protection we don't need". And blam, they cut protection to save costs, and later on the WILL pay for it, way more than they would have paid if they left things alone.

                      Not trying to make it an "us vs them" thing, but thats what it is. You won't see a protective service worker with half a brain say "well, i've went all these years without gettng shot, I must not need this vest" or something like. Because to work in this kind of job, that knid of non-sense gets drilled out of you.

                      The "Civilian" never goes through that process, which is why private security sales people (and public police administrations dealing with their civilain authority) have to do so much tap dancing and educating them about the risks. And still if falls on deaf ears sometimes.

                      Nothing to be done for it except wait for the Wheels to fall of and try to NOT say "I told you so" .
                      ------------------

                      Edited for typos....Friends don't let friends post drunk .
                      Last edited by Black Caesar; 07-21-2007, 01:32 AM.
                      ~Black Caesar~
                      Corbier's Commandos

                      " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Black Caesar View Post
                        Most people work and live in a world where they are expected to PRODUCE results ie some tangible commodity of some sort. The job of a protective service worker (police, security, risk managment ect ect) is to make NOTHING happen, which is the exact opposite of what most people (ie "civilians") do. So they have no real frame of referance for what we do.

                        Because you can't physically prove a negative (you really can't prove something didn't happen, becaise it didn't happen), you can't prove how truly valuable you are to the protected. If enough "Nothing" happens, the civilian mentality dictates that they start to think "nothing bad ever happens here, why are we spending money for protection we don't need". A blam, they cut protection to save costs, and later on the WILL pay for it, way more than they would have paid if they left things alone.

                        ....

                        Nothing to be done for it except wait for the wheels to fall off and try to NOT say "I told you so" .
                        Well said.
                        "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                        "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                        "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                        "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                          Well said.
                          Ditto. It's the way it has been, and will be, for a long time. The only thing you can do is make every attempt to educate the client. Some will understand, some will not.
                          "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill." Sun-Tzu

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks allot for the responses, I've read all of them and there is much to think about. What my gut tells me is what a few of you have said- in a few months there will be major problems. Unfortunately I'll bet we get heat over this for "not doing our job". The element that we are working against monitors us and our movements. We've been able to mix things up enough to keep them away. But as stretched as we are now, things will become very predictable. The weird thing is that I still feel personally responsible for securing our customers property and making sure that "our piece" of national critical infrastructure, is secure and is able to continue to provide the essential service it provides without interruption.

                            When you hear about cascading blackouts taking out sections of the national power grid, underground transformers exploding and catastrophically taking out other physical working pieces of infrastructure (etc) consider one missed hole in the fence line, one missed open control building door, and a few drunk teenagers getting in and throwing switches "just to seek what happens", consider conditions unsafe because they are unsecured, consider a crackhead
                            climbing a transmission tower and cutting a 345kv line (to get the copper) just enough to cut power to that line before he gets vaporized. When you hear about all of those things, consider "security was doing too good a job so we had to cut their budget".

                            I want to comment more on the specific responses in this thread when time allows. To me, this situation is a good example of how the free market doesn't necessarily always naturally work out the best solutions.
                            formerly C&A

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I hapened to be watching "COPS" one Saturday night.
                              The show was being tapped in Cleveland

                              The police officer on the passenger side said
                              " 90% of the people in this city, are good ,decent people caring people, it is the 10% of the bad guys we have to deal with. Ger rid of the 10% of bad
                              people in Cleveland, and the Cleveland police will go out of business"

                              I am sure the same holds true for police in Dallas, Atlanta, Montreal, and
                              Boston.

                              I agree that we come in and clean up Dodge city. Securitas, Wackenhut,
                              Guardsmark, Allied/Barton beef up extra patrols, more Guards at entrances, Guards at parking lots. And when everything is peacefull and quiet, some bean counter in Accounting looks around and sees all is peacefull and quiet, and half the Guard force get laid off. This twit does not think, that all is quiet because of the good job the Guard force is doing.
                              http://www.laurel-and-hardy.com/ Greatest Comedy team ever!

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