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

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.

Oct 212010

Have you ever thought about the fact crime happens all the time, all around us, whether were at work, at home, traveling in a vehicle, or even on vacation.  What would you do if the unthinkable happened at your place of employment?  Has your current employer taken the necessary steps to ensure all of its employees are safe?  Most people from all walks of life and most businesses have the mindset “it will never happen to me”.
The auto parts giant AutoZone has taken a proactive step to implement a security plan for all of its employees, regardless of location, rank, or status in the company.  AutoZone has identified survival rooms and emergency teams for an active shooter program in case violence comes to visit them while at work.  AutoZone didn’t want to have an active shooter program for managers, an active shooter for senior managers, an active shooter program for other ranks and files.  We wanted it to be universal and something that could be applied and shared with everyone.  The company also wanted to personalize the training and provide its employees with information they could use at work as well as in their personal life.  Doing so meant changing the mindset of personnel and getting them to constantly prepare for an incident at any moment.  A big part of this is playing “the what if” game.  “Where you’re sitting right now, what if you heard shots fired down the hallway?”  AutoZone encourages employees to always know where the nearest exit is as well as secondary and tertiary exits.
The company has also trained its employees about “survival rooms” in the building.  These are rooms that can be locked from the inside and have no windows.  The company stores medical supplies, food and water in these rooms. “This is for people who have to evacuate, but can’t get out of the building. They can get into a survival room and barricade themselves in there.”
AutoZone has also trained employees about what to do should an incident occur. “Don’t expect law enforcement to be there to rescue you.  You are on your own.  They’ll be there probably when it’s over.”
What do you do when you’re at home?  The same came be applied.  Play the “what if” game.  Change your mindset. Apply the fight or flight concept.  If you can’t escape your residence and need to “hold up,” what about the concept of a “survival room” or “safe room?”  Safe Rooms aren’t just for the wealthy and influential anymore.  People across the board, including some corporations, are recognizing we live in uncertain times and we must better prepare ourselves for our own self defense until the professionals arrive.  We all know the Police cannot be everywhere all the time.
A safe room can be as basic as a closet or an ordinary room in your residence or place of business, all the way to a self contained fortified room complete with its own electrical source, water, food, surveillance/ counter surveillance equipment, medical supplies, extra cell phone, and even weapons to defend you and your loved ones.  The Safe Rooms can also be built to withstand harsh weather conditions. Check out two examples of Safe Rooms down below.

If you have any questions about Safe Rooms, Security Consulting, Work Place Violence, Church Security Training, Armored Vehicle, Executive Protection, or Firearms Training for you, your superiors, your company, or someone you know, feel free to call or email Gideon Protective Services for a free, confidential consultation.  See what Gideon can do for you. Check us out at  or our blog at

Nov 112009

Again we hear in the news how another celebrity is in court trying to obtain a restraining order to keep a crazed fan away who was stalking Justin Timberlake.  Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III on Monday ordered Karen McNeil to stay away from the Grammy-winning singer for the next three years.  Unfortunately, more and more we see people who have high public exposure levels are increasingly harassed, some to the point of stalking.  Harassment and stalking is not limited to just Hollywood figures.  Business Executives, Dignitaries, Religious Figures, CEO’s, and Politicians are becoming targets of harassment, stalking, and criminal activity. 

 Paris Hilton had to relive her traumatic experience of being burglarized.  Ryan Seacrest also recently had a stalking case.  In all these types of cases, and to ensure these acts do not happen to you, a professional Security Consultant and their advice need to be sought.  Services that one might want to enquire about would be a security survey/ risk analysis of their residence, place of business, vacation destination, and travel routes.  Background checks on all new employees and clients that the high profile figure may do business with.  An analysis and live test of the current alarm and surveillance systems that include implementation of a new system or just enhancements to the current alarm and surveillance system.  Threat Assessments should also be identified and validated if applicable.  Last, but not least is determining whether a 24 hour physical, close-in, security detail is warranted, in other words determining whether to hire Bodyguards and Executive Protection professionals.  Bodyguards and Executive Protection services can also be scaled back to only be used when entering the public eye.  This and other factors should be determined between client and the protective agency as part of a comprehensive security plan.  High profile individuals and their families should consider all or part of these as viable options in keeping themselves and their loved ones safe, so in case you develop stalkers (or worse) like Justin Timberlake or your residence is burglarized like Paris Hilton, you will have a detailed security plan in place.

If you have any questions about Bodyguards, Executive Protection, or Security Consulting for you, your boss, your company, or someone you know, feel free to call or email Gideon Protective Services for a free, confidential consultation.  See what Gideon can do for you.  Check us out at or our blog at