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Is your home protected while you’re on vacation?

With the summer right around the corner, many homeowners will be leaving their home and heading out on summer vacation getaways.

Whether a homeowner plans to be away for a day or several months, ASAP security personnel will ensure that the home is secure and complies with any insurance policy rules for vacant property. Many homeowners are not aware that standard home insurance frequently does not cover damage incurred while a home is vacant if it is not inspected on a regular basis. ASAP security personnels will visit the residence on a predetermined schedule to monitor all plumbing, electrical, and mechanical components of the home. During each visit, they look for unusual activity or suspicious persons in the area as well as functional problems such as water leaks or damage. This ASAP service is also a vital option for individuals with seasonal residences.

For more information on Residential Watch services click here.

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10 Suspicious Behaviours Associated with Retail Theft

Are you aware of the suspicious behaviours associated with retail theft? See our list below of the 10 Suspicious Behaviours Associated with Retail Theft!

  1. Suspect(s) carrying empty and/or large shopping bags.
  2. Suspect(s) entering stores with backpacks or duffle bags.
  3. Suspect(s) taking merchandise to restrooms.
  4. Suspect(s) dressed in heavy clothing and unseasonal attire to help conceal stolen goods.
  5. Suspect(s) shopping with strollers and/or carts.
  6. Suspect(s) piling stacks of merchandise.
  7. Suspect(s) looking at ceilings and cameras.
  8. Suspect(s) overly friendly and asking a lot of questions as a distraction tactic.
  9. Suspect(s) paying more attention to staff and their location then the actual merchandise.
  10. Suspect(s) moving merchandise from it’s original area to a lower visibility area of the store. Typically a less travelled or low visibility area of the store.

Learn more by watching our retail theft webinar, click here. To learn how ASAP Secured can help fight retail theft visit: www.asapsecured.com

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Ontario Minimum Wage Increase and the Security Industry

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Ontario’s pay rate increase is legislated to take effect January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019. Maybe this is perfect timing to discuss the security industry. The goal of all security companies is to recruit best in class security guards. I think it is time for the industry to get the opportunity to re-define the security profession. Back in 2002 when I started in the industry, I recall there used to be a line of candidates in the office wanting to become security guards. Today this does not happen anymore! The ministry has changed the licensing requirements. So, to even be considered, the ministry has mandated that applicants invest 40 hours of training, pay to register and get their security licence.

This can cost a perspective security professional in upwards of $350.00 to get licensed. In addition, if the applicant is currently employed in a different sector, the candidate would have to take numerous days off for training to qualify for the license. What would motivate someone to invest in this process? Maybe it is time for security services to take a hard look and re-evaluate its process and pay grade and collectively set the benchmark for the industry to bring back applicants knocking on our doors.

Please comment on this post as I welcome any feedback.

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Re-evaluate and Reset

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Time and time again, I hear how a building was broken into, how a retailer got their windows smashed in overnight or is suffering from shrinkage.

In the security industry, this is a bittersweet situation because we know we can be there to provide security services during these times.

Companies need to truly assess – re-evaluate and reset. What is the right procedure – preventative or proactive security? Many industry associations can provide a lot of support in identifying best practices. Reach out and see if any of them have had a risk assessment and what the outcome was. There are industry, brand, and geographical implications to review as well as a corporate security program.

It is a tough one because companies need to weigh the costs of security vs. no security. When there is security, it is difficult to justify the cost when nothing is happening. This becomes a vicious cycle. If you have a security program and are still experiencing theft, maybe it is time to re-evaluate the entire plan. Quality checks in your security program are essential. Most security companies can support and assist you with a quality audit.

Companies have a responsibility to look at industry trends. Are you taking a hit more than your competitors? There are risk assessments that include brand perception that needs to be evaluated along with a holistic security program.

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Nice Guys Finish Last

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Nice guys finish last is a saying you have probably heard many times throughout your life, but is it true? I’d love to know who comes out with these types of sayings.

Recently I was lucky enough to meet former NHL player and 2016 NHL All-Star MVP John Scott in Toronto. He was open, honest and didn’t try to tell me what I wanted to hear or talk himself up. We talked for about 20 minutes about each other’s families and our lives, inside and out of our professions. Even though John was able to move his way up the hockey ranks, he had to deal with many hurdles and fight to overcome them. He told me that he was able to do this by being true to himself, being a nice guy and doing the best he could.

This is similar to the way I like to live. I am an easygoing guy but know when to be firm and to stick to my beliefs. I never want to burn any bridges and have been able to grow strong relationships with co-workers as well as my clients. Recently, I met up with an old colleague for lunch to catch up and see how he was doing. He had found a great new job and wanted to partner with my company for some upcoming jobs. He said that he was comfortable partnering with me because I was a nice guy and we had always worked great together. This was not the first time something like this has happened. I believe that it’s because of the relationships I have made by being an honest and kind person.

Hopefully this is true for other people who are similar to John and myself and proof that nice guys don’t have to finish last.

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Missing a Load?

A truck with a trailer full of avocados from the southern US was expected to arrive in Brampton, Ontario on Saturday. When the trailer did not arrive on time, the receiving party started calling the supply chain partner to find out where the trailer had gone missing. This disrupted the delivery to one of the largest grocery chains, leading to unhappy customers.

Cargo loads go missing on a regular basis, specifically in the corridor between Windsor and Montreal. The missing goods are usually high value, easy to sell electronics, pharmaceuticals, and clothing but in the last decade, we have seen it change to include vegetables, fruit and baby formula to name a few. There seems to be a buyer for every type of product.

The MO varies widely from breaking into a parked trailer to taking a trailer or even the truck and trailer completely. Smashing through a fence of a trailer yard and using a cab to hook up the trailer is a common occurrence. Most often the criminals know what trailer to take as they have acquired inside information.

Another way of getting the wanted product is stealing the cab and trailer when left unattended by the driver. Many trucks are left idling when the driver gets out at a truck stop. The thieves quickly drive to a predetermined location to hook the trailer to another cab and then drive off to a warehouse or a dealer that will buy the stolen goods.

The consequences are serious as thefts can result in a financial and reputational loss. Also disrupting the supply chain may lead to empty shelves. Since a company’s reputation is on the line, there is a high rate of unreported thefts.

Several steps can be taken by the trucking, insurance, and logistic industry to help prevent these types of crimes.

  1. Review of the supply chain security

To secure cargo, supply chain partners should employ a multi-layered approach that incorporates the latest technology and fine-tuned basic practices, such as extensive staff training

  1. Do a site risk assessment

One of the most obvious steps for a company to take is to have a site risk assessment done. Even if the security situation is being assessed by an in-house security professional, a second pair of eyes always seems to lead to increased insight. The findings presented in a report can then be used to improve the security situation to reduce cargo crime.

A proper assessment includes a physical inspection, review of procedures and interviews with management and front line staff. The findings will then be discussed with management and recommendations will be formulated. In most cases, the recommendations consist of physical security enhancements (access control or CCTV), development or update of procedures and training of staff. Making front line staff aware of the risks and teaching them how to act in various circumstances will have a positive effect. Not only will it help reduce theft, but it will also boost morale.

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Post Order Confusion

shutterstock_172646537Everybody in our industry can explain the importance of post orders as a means to clarify roles and responsibilities between parties involved. The most commonly used definition is: Post orders are written documents that clearly outline duties, responsibilities, and expectations of security guards. The client, service provider and security professional fulfilling the role can find out what is expected by looking at the post orders. Often the post orders become extensive and complex. Some sections can be used as a manual in non-urgent situations, while other parts are essential and describe actions that need to be taken in emergencies. To ensure guards know what to do, they should be trained and quizzed regularly. The use of quick reference cards has proven helpful and can also be used as instructions for short term assignments. It is also important to explain the logic behind the procedures. If it makes sense to someone, it is easier to follow and remember.

Even when guards are well trained and know the post orders, they can fail. Specifically in situations when instructions are not fully detailed in the post orders or when it differs from the normal course of action.

On December 19th, 2016, an unexpected tragedy shook the diplomatic world; Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov was assassinated at an art gallery exhibition in front of several TV cameras. Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer, shot him. Although the post orders apparently outlined how to act in a situation like this, the security officers got confused. They should have refused access and inquired with managing authorities before letting the off-duty police officer in. Instead, they were intimidated by the police badge and let him through.

Another example is seen in the film Snowden, when Edward Snowden makes copies of confidential files and exits the CIA building with the files. At the risk of a “spoiler alert” I will refrain from revealing further details, but the post orders were not followed thus leading to an international scandal.

In short, post orders are essential and should be followed to the letter. Training and testing are essential to keep security officers on their toes. Moreover, when in doubt, no access should be given until further verification has been confirmed.

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Loss Prevention Investigations; Should Training be Standardized?

Over the years, I have seen the role of a loss prevention investigator change dramatically. There are so many variances to the job description that to find a loss prevention investigator to support your needs of the client is becoming more and more difficult.
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All loss prevention investigators follow the same five steps to apprehend a shoplifter. However, due to all the liabilities associated with the role, the requirements of how to mitigate these risks have altered the duty to whether a loss prevention investigator should apprehend or deter. Some are being asked not to arrest, wear a uniform, and work with store associates to have the suspects ‘customer serviced’. This new approach to loss prevention is making it more and more difficult to find loss prevention skillsets.

When I interview for loss prevention positions, many of the candidates have loss prevention experience but no formal training or certification. Even at a provincial level, there doesn’t seem to be a training model on consensus or requirements.

We need to evaluate a standard, ensuring that all loss prevention investigators are properly trained. With such a highly liable roll and no standard of training begs the question if this should be a focus for the industry?

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Bags Will be Filled

179-015‘Tis the season for families and friends to get together. For some, this means travelling to loved ones or taking a vacation. It is also the time when bags get packed with gifts and goodies, but not by Santa Claus. I am talking about criminals who are waiting to find empty houses and take advantage of the holiday season. Here are some ways to protect your home and yourself over the holidays.

  1. Secure Your Valuables

If you are leaving a car parked on the street or driveway while you are away, make sure you remove all valuables from plain sight. This includes any clothing, electronics, bags, etc. Even if you leave your car in the garage, you should also remove all valuables to make sure they remain safe if someone breaks into your garage. It is also wise to place any important documents and jewelry in a safe inside of your home, a safe deposit box or a hidden secure location.

  1. Don’t Post Your Travel Plans Online

Although you might be excited about your vacation plans and want to share them with friends, it could end up being an invitation for thieves. This is especially true if you do not have strict privacy settings on your social media accounts. You are sharing this information with people you do not know. That is why it is important to be aware whenever you are posting your travel plans and location online.

  1. Have a Family Member, Friend or Neighbour Check In

Tell someone you trust — such as a family member, neighbour or friend — that you will be gone so that they can be on alert for any suspicious activity. Give them a spare key so they can go to the house daily to make sure everything is OK and bring any mail or packages inside. Mail piling up is a dead giveaway that no one is home.

  1. Hold Mail and Deliveries

If you cannot have someone you trust stop by your home to check the mail every day, call the postal service and request a hold on your mail until you are back home. You should also consider holding any deliveries or regular subscription services you receive at home, like newspapers and magazines.

  1. Make It Look like Someone is Always Home

Keep all blinds and curtains closed when you are not home. Have your lights set on a timer or solar switch while you are away, to make it appear as if someone is always there. This could help to ward off any would-be invaders.

  1. Lock All Doors and Windows

This one is a given, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure all your doors and windows have working locks and remember to remove all spare keys to your house or any keys sitting in locks throughout your home. This is important because someone could get into your house, steal these keys without you knowing, and then use the keys to gain access to your home again in the future. Also, it is important to remember to not run any extension cords through windows for your outdoor holiday lights. This prevents the window from closing properly, and burglars will see this as an easy entry point.

  1. Install a Home Security System

Whether you are home or away, a home security system can give you the peace of mind in knowing your home and valuables are secure.

 

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