By: Kyla Goulet, AASA Security Officer
How do privately owned security companies reduce criminal activity with residential patrols? In December of 2015, a group of private security guards from Central Protection in Seattle, WA started to perform six-hour patrols around the Magnolia residential district (Bertram, 2016). Once February 2016 rolled around, the director who hired the private security company posted results of the team’s efforts. Joe Villarino pinpointed that, in 2014, there was a 7% decrease in property crime within the Magnolia area (Bertram, 2016). In order to prevent the spread of crime and property damages in and around Whittier Heights, Windermere, and other Seattle suburbs, the goal of this residential security was to keep pace with criminal activity when the police could not (Bertram, 2016). In general, private security may be expensive in some cases, but it comes at a sensible cost.
Though a 7% decrease in crime around Seattle seems insignificant, the amount of patrols in Windermere, Magnolia, and Whittier Heights shows great promise. Security officers are responding, like police departments, to whom neighborhoods choose to hire (Bertram, 2016). Privately-hired guards are concentrating on suspicious residential activity, deterring property trespassers and other volatile activities with a foot in the social world (Bertram, 2016). Officers are careful to cease “targeting”, but handle conflicts between neighborhoods in brief conversation before pursuing further necessary means (Bertram, 2016). There are layers in order to successfully maintain privately-secured residential areas, halting present and future threats.
The effectiveness of residential security is summed up within five layers, assessments that are cost-effective, focusing on environment, in addition to crime (Stewart, 2013). Strengths and weaknesses of specific properties are evaluated by security guards, starting with the first layer of protection that is done initially by the police (Stewart, 2013). Within this initial “first ring”, security patrols are not desired but neighborhood watches are implemented (Stewart, 2013). Criminal surveillance systems are set up, and then security is called upon.
The second ring of protection revolves around property. The property line is clearly defined, and hazardous conditions are marked by security guards. Is the vicinity being protected enveloped in barbed wire? Is there graffiti around walls, ledges, or other entrances around the area? Whether the property is more dangerous than another, armed and unarmed residential officers come into play at this stage.
The third and fourth layers of neighborhood security consist of perimeters and the insides of the property (Stewart, 2013). Walls, doors, and windows are surveyed by security guards, particularly ground-floor entrances (Stewart, 2013). Locks are assessed with the precise level of protection needed, whether it be deadbolts and/or loose perimeter fencing. The major objective of these two layers of security is to survey the quality of a property’s ergonomics, and just how far the perimeter extends to and from property lines (Stewart, 2013).
The fifth and final layer of property security under scrutiny of private guards is the consideration of ultimate protection: force (Stewart, 2013). Security personnel need to understand and process the first four protective rings if they are to secure a residence with the upmost diligence. Firearms are involved at this protective stage, only in the hands of specifically trained officers (Stewart, 2013). The goal is to protect life within the property, maintaining a professional appearance and technique with the difference of captivity versus incarceration for criminals in mind (Stewart, 2013). Without such residential protective standards and these five stages, there is no use for security guards, putting more pressure on police when time is already of the essence in the criminal justice system.
Bertram, W. (2016, August 02). How Do Private Security Patrols In Seattle Neighborhoods Affect Livability? Retrieved April 29, 2019, from https://www.theurbanist.org/2016/08/03/how-do-private-security-patrols-in-seattle-neighborhoods-affect-livability/
Stewart, S. (2013, April 11). Residential Security: How to Stop Threats From the Outside In. Retrieved April 29, 2019, from https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/residential-security-how-stop-threats-outside
American Alliance Security Agency, Inc.