Swine Flu? No thank you.

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Aug 27, 2009 11:21:00 AM

I was standing on the train during rush hour this morning, packed in like a sardine, when the gentleman next to me sneezed.  Ughhh!  I can't blame a guy for sneezing, but when you're sharing a pole for stability with two other people, it's simply bad manners to cover your mouth, catch your sneeze in your palm, and immediately place your slobbery hand back on the pole.  I couldn't help but imagine little germs flying through the air and sticking to me, slowly infecting me and potentially chaining me to my bed with chicken soup for several days.  My train experience only reinforced the value of the antibacterial hand gel I carry in my purse.

Preparing for the Upcoming Flu Season

Nothing says 2009 like the Swine Flu, so it's no surprise my colleagues at Securitas have responded to client and employee concerns with this month's Security Spotlight, titled "Preparing for the Upcoming Flu Season".  The article discusses the flu pandemic, preparedness planning, how to receive the most current and accurate information should an influenza pandemic take place, flu-like symptoms and preventative measures.  According to Security Spotlight, "The most fundamental ways to limit the spread of germs and help lessen the impact of seasonal or pandemic flu are to wash your hands often and practice respiratory etiquette (cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, elbow or sleeve-not your hands)." I may start handing out this month's issue of Security Spotlight on the train. Click here to read the full article.






Tags: Security Trend Alert, safety tips

Security Trend Alert: Top Threats for Manufacturing

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Aug 25, 2009 12:26:00 PM

According to Securitas USA's 2008 Survey of Fortune 1000 companies, the top concern among security directors at manufacturing companies was Business Continuity Planning, with Workplace Violence Prevention/Response being second.  These threats were reversed compared to the overall respondent base.

Business Espionage/Theft of Trade Secrets moved from 13th in 2003 to 3rd place in 2008.

  1. Business continuity planning
  2. Workplace violence prevention/response
  3. Business espionage/theft of trade secrets
  4. Intellectual property/brand protection/product counterfeiting
  5. Cyber/Communication Security: Internet/Intranet security
  6. Travel security
  7. General employee theft
  8. Employee selection/screening
  9. Cargo/supply-chain theft (logistics)
  10. Unethical business conduct

To download Securitas USA's full report which includes top security threats by industry, security management issues, organizational structure and strategy, budget funding, methodology and sample distribution and emerging trends, click here.

Tags: Security Trend Alert, Announcements

Top 10 Security Threats

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Aug 21, 2009 3:13:00 PM

Securitas USA surveyed a wide range of security managers and directors, facilities managers and others responsible for the safety and security of corporate America's people, property and information from Fortune 1000 companies. The objective was to identify emerging trends related to perceived security threats, management challenges and operational issues. This has created a reliable data-driven tool for security professionals to apply as they define priorities and strategies, develop business plans, create budgets and set management agendas.

The 2008 survey drew 250 responses from corporate security directors and other executives with primary responsibility for their companies' security programs, yielding a 26.3% response rate.

The study revealed the issues of greatest concern to corporate security directors in rank order.

2008 Top Security Threats

  1. Workplace Violence Prevention/Response
  2. Business Continuity Planning
  3. Cyber/Communication Security: Internet/Intranet Security
  4. Employee Selection/Screening
  5. (tie) General Employee Theft
  6. (tie) Property Crime
  7. Terrorism
  8. Fraud/White-Collar Crime
  9. Unethical Business Conduct
  10. Crisis Management and Response: Political Unrest/Regional Instability/National Disasters

Click here to download Securitas USA's complete report.

top security threats

Tags: Security Trend Alert, Announcements

Security Trend Alert: Is it more economical for police or private companies to respond to burglar alarms?

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Aug 20, 2009 3:37:00 PM

When a security alarm is triggered, alarm companies or business owners typically have the option of having local law enforcement or a private security company respond. As I've talked about in previous posts, municipalities are continuing to cut budgets, implement and increase false alarm fines and in some cities, refuse to respond to any alarms until they've been verified.  This leaves alarm companies and burglar alarm users with fewer options.  On the one hand, they can continue to have police respond and cross their fingers there are no false alarms.  Of course, the odds are against them.  Or they can pay a private security company like Securitas to respond if their burglar alarm is triggered.   

Let's take a look at how this would work in a city like Chicago.  Chicago Police respond to 300,000 burglar alarms each year, 98% of which are false alarms.  As a result, they too have implemented false alarm fines for businesses.  If I am a business owner and my burglar alarm is triggered, I am allowed 3 false alarms at no charge. After the first three, I will be charged $100-$200 per false alarm by the City of Chicago.

Now, if I decide to have Securitas respond to my alarms, I will pay approximately $45/month which includes 1 free alarm response/month at no charge and $45 for any additional responses.  In most cases, this will prove to be the more economical option.  Visit your local police department website to determine what types of fines apply in your city.

For more information on Securitas alarm response, visit our website.

Tags: Security Trend Alert, Alarm Response

Security Trend Alert: Employee Escorts for a Safe Workplace

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Aug 13, 2009 11:03:00 AM

When we talk about workplace safety, we often ask the following questions. Do I have locked entry ways and rooms with sensitive materials?  Are there security guards or patrols on the premises?  Do I have access control, cameras or alarm systems in place? Are safety measures and programs adequately encouraged and communicated to employees and customers?

But how does this apply when your employees are working alone, maybe not even on the premises? Perhaps you're in the business of home healthcare and have employees treating patients that live in a rough part of town.  Maybe you work for a gas company that sends maintenance people out 24/7. Or maybe you manage a retail or restaurant operation and have store clerks or servers closing up shop by themselves in the wee hours of the morning. How do you ensure their safety?

In Chicago, a quickly growing trend in workplace safety is employee escorts.  Employers want their employees to feel safe operating in some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods, specifically on the south and west side.  In some cases, case workers need to get by loiterers outside apartments and get to and from their car safely.  In the home healthcare field, there are situations where caregivers are working in volatile home situations and need to feel safe.  Securitas Mobile offers its clients the ability to empower their employees to request safety escorts in various situations.  In some cases, the patrol officer will be instructed to wait outside while the employee is inside so they can immediately respond in cases of emergency.  In other cases, the patrol officer need only walk them from their car to the workplace and return when the individual is going back to their car.

Tags: Security Escort, Security Trend Alert

Security Trend Alert: Municipalities Issue False Alarms Fines

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Aug 11, 2009 3:43:00 PM

In cities like Kansas City, 97% of triggered burglar alarms turn out to be false alarms which might be tolerable if there were just a few.  Instead, there are a staggering 20,000 occurring annually!  This means that Kansas City police are responding to 19,400 false alarms each year.  In an effort to reduce the number of false alarms and save the city time and money, Kansas City now requires alarm permits and after a designated number of false alarms, begins charging up to $250 per false alarm response.  In Omaha, after only 1 false alarm, fines range from $50-$200 per false alarm. In Phoenix, after two alarms, companies are charged $85 per false alarm.

This is a growing trend that doesn't appear to be stopping any time soon.  If you're municipality doesn't fine for false alarms now, there's a good chance they will in the future. 

In the meantime, we recommend taking the following precautions:

  • Familiarize employees with alarm system operations including how to cancel accidental alarm activations
  • Secure doors and windows before turning on your system
  • Be aware of changes in the environment or items that may falsely set off motion detectors
  • Notify monitoring facility if any changes occur such as a change in pass code
  • Equipment should be routinely inspected, and maintained
  • Explore opportunities for more cost effective response

Tags: Alarm Response

Security Patrols Help Reduce Panhandling

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Aug 6, 2009 2:18:00 PM

Six Corners is a Special Service Area (SSA) located on Chicago's north side at the intersection of Irving Park, Cicero and Milwaukee Ave.  In the past, panhandlers were often found in the street and on the corners begging for change.  To combat this issue and also add a security presence within the neighborhood, Six Corners partnered with Securitas Mobile.

Beginning in April 2009, Sgt. Gary Coles Officer Marquita Graham, and Officer Ernest Dawson began patroling the area during rush hour and evening hours.  They are the eyes and ears of this business area assisting local police by watching for unusual activity and reporting emergencies as soon as they are identified.  Besides monitoring the major intersections, Securitas officers also check parking lots and alleys to deter tresspassers, theft and vandalism.  Reports are provided to the Six Corners SSA after each patrol.  Area businesses and residents have noticed a dramatic difference and are pleased with the results. 

Securitas was recently featured in Six Corners News, the SSA's newsletter. You can also visit their website at www.sixcornerschicago.com.

Tags: Announcements, Community

Security Trend Alert: Verified Alarm Response

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Aug 4, 2009 2:13:00 PM

As the average number of false burglar alarms continues to climb to nearly 95%, municipalities across North America are looking for ways to reduce expenses and the amount of time police officers spend responding to false alarms.

One trend we're continuing to see is Verified Alarm Response.  Verified Alarm Response requires alarm companies to have a third party first responder verify that a triggered alarm is indeed an emergency.  In cases of emergency, the responder must contact local law enforcement from a secure location.  More than 30 cities including Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Winnipeg have already adopted verified response policies.

Tags: Security Trend Alert, Alarm Response