Which would you choose in the following scenario? You have a retail store with receipts totaling $10,000 to be deposited into your bank account, in bills and checks. Business has been good, and you’ve kept the cash in a safe in the office, overnight, and you and 3 other employees are in the store right now. The cash is in 3 bank bags for pickup, and the day is barely starting to take shape and already there are twice as many customers as there is staff in the shop.
Option 1 – A gentleman in a uniform stops in and says “I’m here to pick up the receipts.” His neatly pressed, freshly laundered uniform looks impressive. You see his vehicle just outside the door to your shop, and a canister of mace in his belt loop. There are no other weapons on his person. No holsters or signs that he may be wearing protective gear, such as body armor. He is an unarmed security guard.
Option 2 – A clearly marked security vehicle pulls to your entrance, and two armed guards get out. One stands post at one end of the vehicle, while the other exits the vehicle, security bag in hand. Both men are well armed and appear to be well trained and confident, aware of their surroundings and assured of their procedures. The first officer enters your business, and his eyes immediately do a sweep and threat and vulnerability assessment of the customers in your shop including their proximity to him, as well as identify some blind spots where someone could be waiting. Meanwhile, the other guard outside, scans the street and sidewalks as he waits.
Which person do you feel is the best choice to receive your money to take to the bank? For most of us, the decision is easy – choose the one that looks like it can protect your assets and ensure their safe delivery the best. Guards with weapons, while initially foreboding, convey a powerful message of persons and property that are being protected. If you have items of very high value, or your loss potential is very high, an armed guard is a powerful deterrent. If you have customers who are vulnerable to opportunists, an armed guard sends the message that, force to protect lives persons and property may be used to ensure the safety of all. Guards, convey the message of alertness and readiness to protect us. That’s why the majority of us would not entrust the money back to an unarmed guard working alone.
Armed security is not a decision to be taken lightly, some may feel nervous that the need for armed presence even exists. However, armed security most often acts as a deterrent to incidents happening in the first place. If you were a robber, which place would you choose? One where well equipped vigilant trained and armed persons were there to engage you if necessary or one where there was no security and items of high value? Armed guards, serve as reminders to your staff and customers, that you take personal safety seriously. Places with high risk and history of incidents, including assaults and the like, should really consider the benefits of armed personnel. Studies have shown that areas of high loss and increased risk are drastically improved with the inclusion of one of more armed security guard. Not everyone needs an armed guard, but for most, the peace of mind and the reduction in incidents is well worth the cost in bringing armed security into their overall security plan.