Dec 062010
 

Shopping centers by nature present a unique challenge to security personnel, as they allow for open and unrestricted public access.  Holiday periods and other special events can be particularly challenging as shopping centers experience a greater influx of people in their facilities.  The following are key common vulnerabilities of shopping centers that could be exploited by terrorists or other adversaries:

• Unrestricted public access at most entry points does not allow for screening of individuals and their goods
• A large number of individuals coming and going allows for suspicious behavior to go unnoticed
• Multiple locations to place explosives (trash containers, planters, counters, etc.)
• Many people entering and exiting are carrying packages, making it difficult to identify potential hazards
• Vehicles routinely stop in front of entrances to pick up passengers or make deliveries so it is difficult for security to identify when surveillance of the property is being conducted
• Limited employee background checks fail to screen for potential adversaries
• Limited security force with limited training reduces the facility’s security posture and response in the event of an incident

A successful, or even unsuccessful, attack would have consequences well beyond the target facility and could result in:

• Many casualties and structural damage
• Activation of emergency services, such as law enforcement, fire, and rescue, taxing available resources in the community/region
• Jobs and businesses being lost, affecting mall owners and insurance companies
• A reduction in consumer spending and tourism if individuals do not feel safe in public venues

Security personnel are the first line of defense for a facility in the event of an attack or plotted attack. However, security officers are generally trained to handle and detect property crimes and crimes against the individual, not how to prevent and respond to terrorist-related incidents. Incorporating this type of terrorism-related training is just one protective measure that malls can take. Incident planning and preparation is also vital.

Some options for consideration are:

• Establish security procedures and a threat alert system, including a go-to person or telephone number for mall tenants to report suspicious activity
• Establish terrorism training programs for security staff
• Maintain an open line of communication with local law enforcement
• Know the delivery vehicles and staff who are routinely on the property
• Install security cameras around the property and facility
• Inform tenants and local law enforcement if there is concern about a special event that is to be held at the mall
• Maintain close liaison with tenants who might be logical terrorist targets
• Watch for people and actions that are out of place
• Make note of suspicious statements, people, items, and/or vehicles
• Eliminate any information from shopping center websites that may provide security information to
adversaries

Any suspicious activity should be reported to local law enforcement immediately.

If you have any questions about any of our services, such as Private Security Guards/ Patrol Services, Bodyguards, Executive Protection, Dignitary Protection, Church Security Training, Security Consulting, Armored Vehicles, Safe Rooms, or Firearms Training for you, your superiors, your company, your church, or someone you know, feel free to call or email Gideon Protective Services, Inc. for a free, confidential consultation. You can find us on the web. See all that Gideon can offer you.

Aug 312010
 

Unfortunately these stories keep coming into existence.

On 8-29-10, Clay Sannar, 42, a lay bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was doing administrative paperwork on Sunday between church services when a man came into the Visalia church and asked for a leader of the church.  After being directed to Sannar, the attacker shot and killed him.  After the shooting, a caller identified himself to police as the attacker. Police then responded and there was a confrontation with several shots exchanged.  The suspect was hit multiple times. He was taken to nearby Kaweah Delta Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.  No police personnel were injured. The suspect did not seem to know Sannar, and he was not a member of the church, and no one at the church recognized him.

It is not known yet whether or not that particular Mormon Church had a Church Security Ministry Team in place, or some other security awareness training.  My heart goes out to the entire congregation and to the family of Clay Sannar. 

We should learn from this tragedy so that this sort of act of violence will not happen again.  Unfortunately, I think it will only continue due to the fact that we live in a fallen world that is in a state of permanent moral decay.  We all think it will not happen to us, but we couldn’t be more wrong.  We must protect our flock.  I urge all church members of all faiths to ask their church administrators what security plans they have in place should the wolf come knocking on their door for a visit.  If your church has a security ministry team, great, keep it tuned up.  If it does not, implore your church administrators to seek out security consultants and implement a security team.  Learn what options are available.  There is a security plan that can be tailored to any church setting or function.   

If you have any questions about any of our services, such as Private Security Guards/ Patrol Services, Bodyguards, Executive Protection, Dignitary Protection, Church Security Training, Security Consulting, Armored Vehicles, Safe Rooms, or Firearms Training for you, your superiors, your company, your church, or someone you know, feel free to call or email Gideon Protective Services, Inc. for a free, confidential consultation.  You can find us on the web.  See all that Gideon can offer you.

Aug 062010
 

Shortly after 7:30 a.m. on August 3, 2010, Omar Thornton opened fire at employees at Hartford Distributors, a Budweiser warehouse in Manchester, CT.  Thornton was called in by his employer and shown video surveillance footage of him stealing beer from the facility.  After calmly signing a letter of resignation, and not contesting the accusations against him, Thornton opened fire on coworkers at the facility for a period spanning only minutes.  One witness suspected that Thornton was carrying a weapon in the lunch bag he brought to work.  Thornton shot and killed 8 employees, and wounded 2 others before killing himself.  After shooting his coworkers, Thornton phoned family members and allegedly revealed his motive for the attack. 

Before being confronted on steeling beer from his workplace, Thornton, 34, had no history of complaints/disciplinary action against him.  According to his girlfriend, Thornton possessed a pistol permit.  His relatives claim that Thornton, who is African-American, suffered from racial harassment, and finally ‘cracked.’ According to his girlfriend’s mother, Thornton said he found a picture of a noose and a racial epithet written on a bathroom wall.  While on the phone after the shooting, Thornton stated, “I killed the five racists that was there that was bothering me,” according to the uncle. However, according to a union official, Thornton never filed a complaint on grounds of racism. 

This incident suggests that active shooter incidents may involve individuals who do not exhibit traits that can signal a potential threat; such as aggressive behavior, or visible animosity towards coworkers.

This example demonstrates that security personnel (if applicable) and police may be confronted with a complex scenario; a chaotic scene at a large facility where it may be difficult to immediately identify and interdict the threat. 

If Thornton was being racially harassed, that is completely unacceptable.  Thornton should have filed a complaint with the proper authorities and the guilty parties dealt with as quickly as possible.  This incident seems all too coincidental that Thornton started shooting after he was shown video surveillance of him stealing from his own company.  Could the racial harassment have been an excuse?  I don’t know.  Either way, the Budweiser plant should have had on-site private security in place to expectantly deter and prevent such an incident.  Given the state of our economy and the slow gradual moral decline of our nation, people are “snapping” and resorting to violence like never before.  We are constantly seeing an increase in violence on all levels of society (workplace, schools, churches, shopping centers, etc).

If there would have been armed private security guards in place at the Budweiser plant, they could have assisted in the termination of Thornton just like standard practices at other corporate offices.  The terminated employee is generally escorted off the premises by security in an attempt to ensure that arguing or violence of any kind doesn’t take place.  The terminated employee is also told not to return.  If that employee returns at any time, they are generally confronted outside of the workplace or at the entrance to ensure the safety of the other employees, and to contact local law enforcement. 

Implementing private security at your place of employment, enhancing your existing private security team with current tactics and best practices could have kept this tragic shooting from happening.  Should a shooting take place, having armed security on-site could protect more lives than not and possibly stop the shooter.  History and facts have shown that active shooter incidents start and end before law enforcement arrives on scene.  

Implications of an Active Shooter

  1. Active shooter attacks continue to occur in schools, workplaces, and public venues.
  2. Disgruntled attackers may not signal their intent by openly revealing their hostility.
  3. In the first few minutes, the initial response will involve facility security personnel (if applicable) and employees.  Response procedures should include:
  • Evacuate the building if it can be done in a safe manner
  • Relocate to a safe area and secure the area to the degree possible
  • Call 911 and relay information as calmly as possible
  • In order to aid responding law enforcement, do not lock exit doors.  When approached by a responding officer, stop moving and raise your hands so as to not appear as a threat. 

If you have any questions about any of our services, such as Private Security Guards/ Patrol Services, Bodyguards, Executive Protection, Dignitary Protection, Church Security Training, Security Consulting, Armored Vehicles, Safe Rooms, or Firearms Training for you, your superiors, your company, your church, or someone you know, feel free to call or email Gideon Protective Services, Inc. for a free, confidential consultation.  You can find us on the web.  See all that Gideon can offer you.