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The Role of Security Assessments and Risk Assessments in Security Guard Work



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We see security guards every day at our office, at the mall, or inside the bank, but do we know what their job entails? Obviously, they’re there to act as a deterrent to anyone with bad intentions, to assist in any emergency situation, and to alert emergency services or law enforcement if needed, but they also perform another very important function. They work to proactively prevent incidents from occurring by conducting security and risk assessments.

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What is a Security Risk Assessment?

A security risk assessment is a comprehensive review of a location to determine the security risks associated with it. The assessment can cover a broad range of threats such as:

  • Natural threats-tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes
  • Criminal threats-theft or vandalism of materials, vehicles, or other property
  • Violent threats-threats of violence against customers, employees, or passersby
  • Terrorist threats-active shooters or vehicles
  • Explosives threats-bombs, improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
  • Accident threats-slip and fall or other types of accidents

Once the security guard has identified the various threats, a plan can be devised to reduce the risk associated with each of these categories, to prevent incidents from occurring, and to map out procedures to follow in emergency situations.

What is an Active Threat Assessment?

An active threat assessment consists of focused observations of behaviors and actions. Here, a security guard actively observes an environment, identifying any suspicious looking individuals, and monitoring their actions to determine the threat level they present.

There are many situations where active threat assessment is appropriate:

  • Personal protection-think about the bodyguards that protect celebrities, politicians, or executives. These bodyguards are constantly on the lookout for any potential dangers
  • Security guards-examples would be professional uniformed guards patrolling stores, churches, casinos, businesses, or schools to be aware of any suspicious activities
  • CCTV surveillance-picture a security guard watching an array of monitors to detect any threats. A good example would be a loss prevention officer watching customers in a store via closed circuit TV to identify shoplifters
  • Access control-security guards posted at the entrance to a venue, a building, or a gated community. They are there not only to prevent unauthorized entry, but to respond to any incidents that may arise with assistance, or by contacting emergency personnel.

Threats of Violence

Threats of violence occur when someone commits or threatens to commit a specific attack such as a mass shooting. It could involve an employee who’s made threats against coworkers or one who’s been involved in altercations at work.

These individuals may exhibit risk factors that would include, among others, having a personal grievance, a criminal background, or a history of substance abuse or mental health problems. Many times, such a perpetrator will demonstrate a combination of more than one of these risk factors. Identifying these individuals in advance of any action they may take is an important part of risk assessment and may prevent injury or property damage.

Risk Assessments in Schools

The 2022 calendar year broke the record for the most school shootings in over four decades and marked one of the most violent years for youths ages 12-17. As of December 20, 2022, there were 300 school shooting incidents, compared to 250 in 2021 and 150 the year before. These figures include acts of gun violence on public, private, and charter school campuses, mass shootings, gang shootings, domestic violence, shootings at sporting and other after school events, suicides, and other incidents.

Reducing the risk of school shootings requires a firm but delicate approach. The threat assessment process for schools focuses on a range of factors including motive, communications, weapons access, emotional and developmental issues, and protective factors.

Security personnel identify students who may pose a threat from information and referrals. These individuals are then assessed by criteria known to be associated with instrumental violence. They can then be targeted for interventions to prevent an attack.

Cyber Security Risk Assessment

In recent years, cyber security has become an absolute necessity for businesses, individuals, and governmental agencies. A company that creates, stores, or transmits confidential data should initiate a cyber security risk assessment. A cyber security risk assessment would include the following:

  • Identification of assets within the organization. This would include networks, servers, applications, and data centers
  • Creation of a risk profile for each asset
  • Gain an understanding of what data is stored, transmitted, and generated by these assets
  • Assess the asset to determine the overall impact to business operations, including revenue, reputation, and the likelihood of a firm’s exploitation
  • Measure the risk ranking for assets and prioritize them for assessment
  • Devise a plan for mitigating controls for each asset based on assessment results

After the risk assessment, the organization will have a better idea of what controls are in place and where vulnerabilities still exist. This allows the organization to then implement security controls to minimize the risks.

Final Words

The importance of security in the workplace, in schools, or in public places like malls and stores cannot be overstated. Rather than wait for an incident to occur, security risk assessments are used to identify risks and establish proactive measures that can be enacted to prevent said incidents. There are many different approaches to identify and evaluate risks, and one or more of the methods mentioned here may be right for your particular situation.

If you feel that your organization could use a risk assessment, reach out to the security professionals at Allstate Security. We are committed to making your security simple, quick, and efficient. We work with all types of businesses including government agencies, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, banking, construction, and many others. Our adaptable on premises guard and security patrol services allow our clients to concentrate on their core business. No matter what your security needs are, Allstate Security is here to help.

For more information about the services we offer, give us a call at 888-210-7333.