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When to Use Armed Security vs. Unarmed Security Guards



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Security guards are a necessary part of operating many businesses. Security guards focus on safeguarding property, products, customers, and employees from a variety of threats. By having security guards on premises, you can focus on the operation of your business, and you can be secure in the knowledge that someone is watching out for you.

If you have reached the point in your business where you feel the need for security guards, there are several decisions you need to make. One of these decisions is whether to hire armed security guards or unarmed guards. Whether you’re going to need armed or unarmed security guards depends on your budget, the type of business you’re in, and what specific challenges you face.

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Armed Security

Armed security simply means that you have one or more guards who have been trained in safe weapon handling and carrying. If many cases, they receive the same training as law enforcement officers. In addition to their firearms training, they undergo extensive background checks, refresher training, and periodic drug screenings. They will defend and protect your employees, your customers, and your inventory from bad actors and may use lethal force, if need be, to perform their duties.

Situations Where You Might Need Armed Security Guards

  • If your business is in a high crime area
  • If you deal with high value products like jewelry, artwork, or high-end fashion products
  • If your business is one that deals with large amounts of cash. Examples would be banks, credit unions, or check cashing services
  • If want the mere sight of an armed guard to be a deterrent at your place of business. This would apply to hospitals, government buildings, airports, or grocery stores
  • If you’re in the business of transporting cash or other valuables
  • If you host large events such as concerts or sporting events

Unarmed Security

Unarmed security guards don’t carry firearms, obviously. Unarmed guards receive specialized training in mediation to deescalate dangerous situations. In some instances, unarmed security guards may carry non-lethal weapons such as batons, pepper spray, or tasers. In addition to providing protection, unarmed security guards can make arrests if necessary.

Unarmed guards are usually hired for jobs that are low risk, such as video surveillance positions, retail store security monitoring, or jobs inside schools. In many low-risk situations, the mere presence of an unarmed security guard may be an effective deterrent.

When to Use Unarmed Security Guards

  • If your business in inside a mall, the mall may use armed security guards, but may prohibit individual tenants from having their own armed guards.
  • If there’s a police presence nearby, you may not need armed guards. This would apply in situations where law enforcement can respond quickly to a call for assistance.
  • If your business is located in a low-risk area, unarmed security may be right for you.
  • If your security guards are located inside an office building, and their primary purpose is to limit access, unarmed guards are usually the best choice.
  • In a situation where the public might feel unsafe or intimidated by the presence of deadly weapons, such as schools, churches, or museums.
  • If the guard’s primary responsibility is providing information to visitors.
  • If you have a limited budget. Armed security guards are generally more expensive to hire than unarmed guards.

Uniforms or Not

When you make the decision to hire security guards, whether armed or unarmed, you may be offered the option to request uniformed or plain clothes guards. While the mere sight of a uniform can provide a deterrent to criminals, you may prefer to have your security guards in plain clothes to better blend in with the general public while still protecting your property, people, and assets.

The Choice is Yours

To make the right decision, you need to consider your business needs, the security risks, and your budget. Once you’d done that, you’ll be prepared to make the right choice. If you’re still not sure, you can consult the experts at Allstate Security Services.

Allstate Security is 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.