The holiday season is great for retailers. It is the time to increase sales and make those numbers. As a security professional servicing retailers, protecting our customers’ assets is constantly on my mind. Even on Christmas Day, security personnel dedicated their holidays to make sure that the buildings were protected in preparation for when businesses opened. While I enjoyed time with my family, in back of my mind I was thinking about Boxing Day and how we needed to be prepared to mitigate all risks. For ASAP, we had to formulate back up plans to ensure our services for our retail clients during one of Canada’s busiest retail days. Malls were going to be swamped with customers getting great deals. Security needed to be in full deployment. Traffic control, crowd control, and loss prevention are all required key elements. In additional to these security concerns, is the possibility of an active shooter. The reality is, Canadians are now exposed to terrorism as well, and security needs to be ready to identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk.
At ASAP, every manager across the country, including our president Han Koren, is provided a zone on Boxing Day to support the security personnel on the field. We are up at 4:00am to get to the malls to ensure that all is going smooth.
Prior to Boxing Day, we connect with our clients to ensure that we are there to support and provide the security program our customers expect. Mall security needs to focus on all common spaces, manage traffic control, crowd control as well as criminal groups of any kind as a possible threat to the retailers. Security personnel at the stores need to watch for theft, credit card fraud, and counterfeit cash.
Watch this interesting video on organized retail crime coming into Canada targeting specifically the high-end jewellery retailers.
A good friend of mine just spent a week with his family at a sunny place in the Caribbean. Although he had a good time it did not start very well. He told me that he had been to this country many times, but wanted to visit another part of the island. He went on the Internet and reviewed several potential hotel options. He wanted a peaceful and quite place and finally decided on a property that advertised beautiful pictures of the beach and their hotel rooms. The hotel was midsize, close to the beach, not too expensive and all rooms had ‘ocean view’. After a long car ride, flight and bus shuttle they arrived at the hotel. The disappointment was huge; the hotel was not as close to the beach as portrayed in the pictures. The beach was quite dirty and the view did not exist unless you were brave enough to lean far out over the balcony. They checked in for the night, as they were all tired. The next day they decided to move to another hotel that was more to their liking and enjoyed the rest of their vacation.
Sometimes what is shown in brochures and on websites can be deceiving. For example, a security company recently released a marketing package focusing on the mining industry. It contained a glossy brochure, several articles with expert opinions, and sell sheets with an overview of their corporate values. It was well laid out and formulated and gave the impression of a professional company that will offer the best service possible, but in reality, the results can be very different. We must be careful to not be drawn in by the nice website and abundance of marketing material to later find out that there is no ‘ocean view’.
I suggested that my friend utilize review websites to check the validity of a hotel’s claims in the future and speak with others that have visited the region they are traveling to, etc. I always like to encourage clients to do the same thing when selecting a professional security provider. Check references and know what you’re getting before getting it.