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Archive for October 2019

Tips for Halloween Safety

Tips for Halloween Safety

When you think of Halloween, what comes to mind? Spooky costumes, bags full of candy, or maybe even that Halloween bash you are throwing for friends and family. With all of the spooky fun, how much thought have you put into Halloween safety?

Halloween can be a fun night for kids and adults alike. It can also be a dangerous one. The statistics show that children are more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal car accident on Halloween night. The National Highway Safety Administration has found that Halloween is one of the top three days of the year for pedestrian injuries and deaths. These statistics are alarming. Parents and anyone celebrating Halloween should take their safety and that of their children, seriously. 

At Off Duty Officers, we care about the safety and security of the communities we serve. As you prepare for the Halloween festivities, we urge you to take five minutes to review the safety tips below. If you plan on driving, take note of the tips for motorists since traffic incidents are so prevalent on this holiday. Parents, prepare your children before they head out for trick-or-treating, so they know how to stay safe and what to do in case of an emergency.

Tips for Staying Safe on Halloween

Trick-or-Treaters

Excited children pay more attention to the candy they are collecting than on traffic safety and being aware of their surroundings. Trick-or-treaters can follow these safety guidelines while out on Halloween to protect themselves, their siblings and their friends.

  • Always go out in groups. Use the buddy system, so no one is ever walking alone.  
  • Never enter a stranger’s home or car.
  • Do not eat any candy until an adult has inspected it.
  • Do not eat homemade treats.
  • Bring a flashlight. It will make children more visible to drivers and help them avoid tripping hazards.
  • Only cross streets at crosswalks or other designated crossing areas.
  • Do not run into the street at any time.
  • Wear bright colors and add reflective tape to costumes, so children are more visible to drivers.
  • Stay on sidewalks if they are available.
  • Decide on a trick-or-treating route and stick to it. If there is a change in the route, contact a parent beforehand.
  • Walk in familiar neighborhoods and avoid dark alleys.
  • Watch out for pets. Sometimes, animals become scared of the costumes and activity, making them more likely to act out.
  • Avoid long costumes that can be a tripping hazard.
  • Avoid masks that obscure vision.
  • Only go to homes that have their lights on.

Motorists

  • Avoid using smartphones to talk or text while driving.
  • Be overly alert and ready for pedestrians who are not following the regular rules of the road.
  • Be aware that pedestrians may be more difficult to see in dark costumes.
  • Reduce your speeds in busy trick-or-treating areas.
  • Be cautious at alleyways and driveways.
  • Always keep your headlights on.  
  • Scan a larger area to watch for children who may run into the road.

Parents

  • Purchase fire-resistant costumes, wigs and props.
  • Buy non-toxic makeup and be sure that it is all removed at the end of the night.
  • Accompany younger children on the trick-or-treating route.
  • Inspect all candy before allowing children to eat it.
  • If older children are going out alone, agree to a route and return time.
  • Track children on an app like Life360.
  • Review emergency procedures several times before Halloween night.
  • Put emergency contact information in your child’s phone or pocket.
  • Use neighborhood apps such as Facebook or NextDoor to track criminal activity or post emergency information.

Protect Your Home on Halloween

Children and pedestrians are not the only ones at risk on Halloween. Homes can become the targets of criminals who want to steal or vandalize. We’ve compiled some of the best tips to help you keep your property safe and protected during the holiday.

  • Make sure all yard lights are turned on to increase visibility for pedestrians and trick-or-treaters.
  • Remove any tripping hazards such as electrical cords, yard tools or Halloween decorations.
  • Set up motion detectors to alert you to anyone approaching your home.
  • If you leave your house, keep the lights to give the impression that someone is home.
  • Use battery-operated candles instead of real flames.
  • Make sure your pets are secured.
  • Be sure that party guests are sober or have a safe ride home if they have been drinking.  

Halloween Safety is Up to Everyone

We can all do our part to keep our communities safe during the Halloween holiday. Being aware of the safety threats that exist is just the first step to keeping you and your family secure. Parents, pedestrians and motorists are advised to take extra precautions on Halloween to keep it a safe and fun evening for everyone involved. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

6 Ways to Improve Hotel Security

6 Ways to Improve Hotel Security

Hotel owners and operators know that managing the security of a busy hotel is a challenging task. Large numbers of guests and visitors come in and out of hotels at a near-constant pace. Staff is unlikely to know who is supposed to be there, and who is looking to make trouble. The sheer volume and unpredictability of visitors make hotels a target for crimes such as theft, vandalism and violence.

As someone responsible for the welfare of your guests and employees, you must take precautions to reduce the chances of a security threat on your hotel's property. There are many steps that hotel operators can take to stay ahead of potential crimes, including hiring professional security guards to monitor the premises. Start by considering some of these tips to avoid security issues at your hotel: 

Why is Hotel Security a Concern?  

Travelers expect that their safety and security is a top concern when staying at a hotel. In fact, many travelers don't even think about security until after an incident occurs. Hotel operators who do not focus on security risk more than just the safety of their guests and employees. 

After a crime has occurred on the property, law enforcement may require that the hotel shut down temporarily. Depending on the nature of the incident, your business may experience downtime that not only inconveniences your guests but loses you revenue. In our world of social media and review sites, even one crime could result in serious damage to your reputation. Lawsuits could destroy a business if someone were to become the victim of a crime on your hotel's property. 

How to Improve Hotel Security

Provide exceptional customer service. 

Outstanding customer service is the cornerstone to any successful business; but, did you know that it can also be the foundation for an effective security plan? Employees should engage guests from check-in until check-out. When employees take the time to get to know their guests, it is easier for them to identify when an individual seems out-of-place or is acting suspiciously.

Get a thorough risk assessment.

Hotel operators are not necessarily experts in security. Before purchasing equipment or hiring additional staff, obtain a risk assessment from a reputable private security company. A risk assessment can alert you to your most significant security threats and vulnerabilities. Then, the security company can suggest the best tools, processes and staffing to address your unique security needs.

Invest in security technology.

Obsolete or broken technology might as well be an open invitation to a criminal. A professional security company can direct you to the latest security technologies that will address your vulnerabilities. CCTVs, security cameras and other motion-detecting software can alert you to suspicious behavior and prevent a crime before it occurs. Access control systems help you monitor entrances and exits and control restricted areas. Video footage can also assist law enforcement in finding a perpetrator after a crime has been committed.

Train and empower your employees.

Security should be a topic that is addressed in all new-hire training and regular staff meetings. Training your employees to know the signs of a security threat can go a long way in protecting your guests. Further, employees who are treated well, receive continuing education and are offered paths to move up in their careers have a greater sense of empowerment. Empowered employees are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and commitment to you and your business.

Monitor parking areas.

Parking lots can be hotbeds of crime in businesses like shopping centers and hotels. Theft and vandalism are common, especially during off-hours, when thieves are less likely to be seen. In uncontrolled lots, it is common for non-guests to park their vehicles or even sleep overnight. Hotel operators can avoid many security threats by controlling access to parking lots and garages and installing security cameras.   

Hire professional security guards.

In many cases, hotel operators choose to hire private security guard companies to assist in keeping their guests, employees and property safe. Trained security guards will have a comprehensive understanding of your security threats. They know how to spot a crime before it happens and handle suspicious individuals with authority.

Roles of Hotel Security Guards

Security guards can take on many roles at a hotel. Some of the most common jobs that professional hotel security guards can take on include:  

  • Mobile patrol of parking areas and perimeter of the hotel property
  • Visual deterrence to criminals
  • Monitoring CCTVs and security cameras
  • Checking guest credentials upon entering the property
  • Liaise with law enforcement after a security threat has occurred
  • Handle unruly guests or noise violations
  • Escort guests that need assistance getting to their rooms or vehicles
  • Assisting employees in handling angry guests
  • Escorting employees to their vehicles at night

With the busiest travel months ahead, hotel operators should take the time to evaluate their current security plans. Employee training manuals should be reviewed to make sure that they have the most up-to-date information on hotel security protocols. Finally, consider hiring a security guard company for trained, professional guards who know how to protect your guests and your business. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

3 Reasons Retailers Should Hire Private Security Guards for Black Friday

3 Reasons Retailers Should Hire Private Security Guards for Black Friday

According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales this holiday season are expected to exceed those of last year. Reports indicate a 3.8 to 4.2 percent increase resulting in sales of around $730 billion. Although online shopping numbers have continued to grow, that does not mean that shoppers are avoiding the brick-and-mortar stores altogether.

Many still enjoy the thrill of the in-store experience and the hunt for bargains. However, crowds of frenzied shoppers can lead to dangerous safety and security issues. Emotions run high as large groups rush to be the first to grab the best deals. Stories of people being trampled, seriously injured or even killed while Black Friday shopping have made headlines over the years. 

As a retail store owner or manager, the safety and security of your employees, customers and property should be a top concern this holiday season. Retailers across the country face unique security challenges from Black Friday through Cyber Monday as shoppers converge on retail establishments in droves. Some of the most prevalent security issues retailers face include:  

  • Shoplifting by thieves and employees  
  • Vandalism and destruction of store property
  • Parking lot related incidents including car accidents, arguments and traffic jams
  • Fraudulent use of credit cards
  • Unruly crowds and the threat of trampling
  • Customer-on-customer violence
  • Customer-on-employee violence

How Do You Protect Your Business?

With these kinds of security challenges, retailers need effective solutions to keep their employees, customers and merchandise safe. In addition to hiring professional security guards during the busy holiday shopping season, retailers should reassess their current security systems. Faulty or outdated systems can leave your business vulnerable and your employees at risk.

Speaking of employees, the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday represents some of the busiest and most taxing workdays of the year for retail employees. Many of them will be faced with situations that they rarely encounter other times of the year. Retailers should prepare their employees for the rush by providing additional training on theft prevention, handling angry customers and emergency procedures. A little preparation can go far in helping your employees to feel confident and able to act in the face of a threat. 

One of the most effective ways to protect your business during Black Friday is to hire temporary, professional security guards. Private security companies can dispatch trained security officers who understand your security risks and have the knowledge and skills to keep your business safe and secure.

3 Reasons Retailers Should Hire Private Security Guards for Black Friday

Are you wondering if you need private security guards for Black Friday? If you plan on being open for business, you should plan on hiring a team of professional security guards to keep your retail store protected.

There are many advantages to hiring a private security company for the holiday shopping season. Here are 3 of the top benefits for your business:   

Receive a comprehensive risk assessment

Working with a private security company offers more than just trained guards. Security professionals can help you assess the risks that are unique to your business and property. They can identify potential vulnerabilities in your systems and processes and provide practical solutions so you can be prepared. Black Friday is unlike most other shopping days. Security professionals can give retailers peace of mind in knowing that they have covered all their bases when it comes to protecting their business.

Deter thieves and catch shoplifters  

Crime is high on Black Friday. From pickpockets to shoplifters, theft rates rise at retailers across the country. Thieves take advantage of the large crowds, distracted shoppers and the overall chaos of the day to perpetrate their crimes. Security guards act as a visible deterrent to would-be criminals. Guards are also trained to identify suspicious behavior, so they can prevent a theft before it occurs. As an extra set of eyes on your merchandise, retail guards can act fast to protect your property.

Keep people safe and secure

You’ve probably seen videos of shoppers rushing through the gates of a retail establishment as soon as they open. People push and shove their way through the crowd to be the first one to score the deal of the day. Imagine if one of your employees or customers got caught under the crowd or pushed into the chaos. Serious injuries occur when crowds get out of hand. Security guards act as gatekeepers, controlling crowds to ensure that people enter and exit your store in a safe and orderly fashion. They are also on hand to intervene in the event of a fight or other type of altercation.

Off Duty Officers: Your Partner in Security for Black Friday and Beyond

For over twenty years, Off Duty Officers has provided top-notch private security guards to businesses across all industries. As one of the premier security guard companies in the nation, retailers have trusted us to provide reliable temporary security officers when they need it most. Our guards can help you prevent theft, violence and injury so that your customers can shop with ease and peace of mind this Black Friday.

Learn more about protecting your business during Black Friday by contacting our team of security professionals today. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

How to Spot a Shoplifter

How to Spot a Shoplifter

Shoplifting is not a new concern for retailers across the country. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention notes that shoplifting is one of the most frequently occurring crimes, averaging about 550,000 occurrences per day. Shoplifters are often hard to catch, and many of them repeat the crime time and again. Because it is so common, the far-reaching repercussions of shoplifting in our communities often go unnoticed.

Why We Should Care About Shoplifting

Shoplifting means more than taking unpaid-for merchandise from a store. It can also include having the intent to steal merchandise. What does that mean? Intent to steal can consist of things such as swapping price tags or removing security sensors or product packaging. Research has shown that 1 in 11 Americans have admitted to shoplifting. The numbers are even higher for young people under the age of 16. 

With other, more dangerous crimes occurring every day, you may wonder why we should care about retail fraud. The truth is that shoplifting not only costs retailers money, but it drains communities of resources as well. According to the NASP, shoplifting crimes cost retailers about $50 billion every year. Stolen merchandise results in loss of tax revenue for communities. Those convicted of the offense continue to cost taxpayers money as they enter the justice system. Additional studies have found that retail theft is often a precursor to more serious crimes that could put community members in danger.

6 Warning Signs of a Shoplifter

Shoplifting is a crime that occurs throughout the year and shows a significant increase during the busy holiday shopping season. For retail store owners and managers, it may be impossible to stop theft altogether. However, there are many security precautions that retailers can take to protect their businesses. Perhaps one of the most important ways to prevent shoplifting is to know the warning signs. While there is no standard profile of a shoplifter, there are some telltale behaviors that can give them away.

We have gathered 6 of the most common signs of a potential shoplifter. Hopefully, you can use these clues to train your employees and reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a crime. Be on the lookout for these indications of a potential shoplifter:

Oversized Bags: You might not consider it abnormal to carry around a large purse, backpack or reusable shopping bag. But as a savvy retail employee, this should be a red flag. Thieves want to steal as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Large bags can help a shoplifter conceal a lot of merchandise fast before they make their getaway.

Baggy Clothing: Another way that shoplifters conceal merchandise is under large or loose clothing. Oversized sweatshirts, coats and pants can easily hide stolen goods. Employees should also look out for people who are wearing more clothing than makes sense for the weather. Coats in the summertime should raise a red flag. 

Frequent Visits and Loitering: Is there a customer that has visited your store numerous times but has never purchased anything? Or maybe they appear to be waiting for something or someone that never shows up? Shoplifters often scope out the store and monitor the employees before attempting their crime. They may be loitering as they wait for the perfect opportunity to take your merchandise.

Distraction Techniques: To have a better chance of pulling off their crime, shoplifters may use several distraction techniques to divert your employees. Some common examples include requesting out-of-stock items that are located in the back storeroom or asking questions about a product to keep your employees in one part of the store. Shoplifters often work in groups; beware of large groups or groups that split up upon entering the store.

Nervous Mannerisms and Behavior: There are often physical signs that someone might be about to commit a crime. Train your staff to look for excessive sweating, fidgeting or the inability to make eye contact. The shoplifter may also show signs of being hyper-aware of their surroundings, like constantly looking around or scoping out the security cameras. 

Abnormal Dressing Room Conduct: It is common for shoplifters to use the dressing rooms as a base to perpetrate their crime. Retailers should recognize when a customer spends an excessive amount of time in the dressing room. They should also be aware of people who exit the dressing room with fewer items than they entered with. 

Prevent Shoplifting at Your Retail Establishment 

In addition to training your employees to recognize the warning signs of a shoplifter, retailers should take other security measures to protect themselves. Installing up-to-date cameras and arranging your store to improve visibility and security are two very effective ways to prevent retail fraud.

Retail Security Guards with Off Duty Officers 

Hiring professional retail security guards to patrol your store for suspicious behavior is another highly successful method of deterring shoplifters. When you want to protect your business and employees, you need a team of experienced retail security officers to do the job. To find out more about the retail security solutions at Off Duty Officers, contact our team to get a free quote and learn how we can help you prevent merchandise loss at your business. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

The Roles of a Bodyguard

The Roles of a Bodyguard

Bodyguards are familiar figures in television and movies, characterized by their sunglasses, cropped haircuts and dark suits. They have a no-nonsense attitude that makes it clear that they are not the type of people you want to mess with. But bodyguards are much more than imposing presences. They are highly skilled security professionals who are trained in the personal protection of individuals or groups of people.

Bodyguards are often responsible for the protection of VIPs such as celebrities, politicians, executives and other noteworthy individuals. These kinds of VIPs face unique security challenges and risks that require high-level skills in personal security protection. Like other security professionals, bodyguards act as a visible deterrence to crime. But their roles go far beyond that.

What is a Bodyguard?

Unlike commercial or residential security personnel, bodyguards have much more direct interaction with their clients. They are often a member of a security detail that may be with the client 24/7. Bodyguards know the ins-and-outs of their clients’ schedules and are frequently privy to confidential business and personal information.

Bodyguards typically have extensive and specialized experience. Many are ex-military or special forces with unique skill sets that allow them to provide exceptional security services to their clients. 

Clients who hire bodyguards do so for a reason. Individuals in the public eye face a variety of unique security risks. Stalkers, thieves, overzealous fans and others who want to take advantage of a VIP’s wealth or position are constant threats. Bodyguards must be ready for these unique challenges so their clients can have peace of mind and go about their personal and professional lives safely.

While most people who hire bodyguards fall under the category of the rich and famous, bodyguards may be required for average citizens under certain circumstances. In fact, their services can benefit nearly anyone who feels that their personal security is threatened.

The Primary Duties of a Bodyguard

Bodyguards are skilled in assessing threats and implementing strategies to prevent threats from occurring. While they do need the skills to react in the face of danger, the bodyguard’s work really takes place before a threat even occurs. Whether you are interested in becoming a bodyguard or considering hiring one for your security needs, you might be curious to learn the roles and responsibilities of a bodyguard. 

In general, a bodyguard will assess potential security issues, develop appropriate security strategies and competently react to threats as they occur. 

Specifically, the duties of a bodyguard include:

  • Securing public locations before a client attends public events such as award shows, conferences or other public appearances
  • Performing background checks for new employees, staff or vendors
  • Escorting the clients in public settings
  • Managing large crowds
  • Identifying suspicious behavior or unauthorized people
  • Driving the client and safely fleeing the scene of a security threat
  • Checking for vulnerabilities at the client’s home and public venues

Special Skills for Top-Level Bodyguards 

With all of these high-level responsibilities, personal bodyguards are some of the most highly trained security professionals available today. Often, prior military, special forces or law enforcement professionals will seek bodyguard positions. These professionals have a unique set of higher-level skills that will allow them to succeed in the role.

Many bodyguards have formal personal protection training including firearms training, drive training and medical training. In addition to these skills, other qualities make a bodyguard successful, some of which can’t always be taught. The job of a bodyguard requires someone who has the intellectual and analytical abilities to assess situations and quickly formulate solutions. 

Other skills that the most successful bodyguards have in common include:

  • Excellent judgment
  • Common sense
  • The ability to work alone and with a team
  • Physical health
  • Sound decision making
  • Physical combat and defense skills
  • Firearms training
  • Evasive driving training
  • High levels of discretion and confidentiality
  • The ability to maintain a professional relationship with the client
  • Excellent communication skills
  • The ability to mentally and physically handle long hours and dangerous situations

Like all security personnel, bodyguards take on a huge responsibility. When a client hires a bodyguard, they rely on the guard’s professionalism and unique skills. A client wants the peace of mind in knowing that they are safe. The best bodyguards have well-rounded experience in personal protection as well as intelligence, intuition and quick-thinking. 

Do you think you have what it takes to become a professional bodyguard? Learn more about personal security services at Off Duty Officers.

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

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