Security needs are an understated, yet critical aspect of running a successful business. A variety of criminal activities and safety concerns make it imperative for all businesses to consider hiring a professional security presence. While it is almost universally necessary to have some sort of security, the needs of your business will likely vary greatly from the needs of the establishment across the street. There are many factors that must be considered when determining whether your business requires an armed or unarmed security presence. Continue reading to discover more about how to make this important delineation.
The starkest contrast between armed and unarmed guards is fairly obvious just from the description. Simply put, armed guards are “armed” with firearms, while unarmed guards do not carry lethal weapons. However, don’t be fooled by the term unarmed guard; just because they don’t carry a firearm does not mean they are defenseless, but rather they carry alternative weapons like pepper spray, tasers, and a baton.
Due to these contrasts in equipment, job positions will be vastly different for armed guards and unarmed guards. Typically, unarmed guards work in low-risk environments. These jobs often include things like working at a school, conducting video surveillance, or being a physical presence at a retail store. Conversely, since armed guards have access to a lethal weapon, their positions include much higher stakes. As such, they are often employed by hospitals, courthouses, banks, and technical firms due to their high-risk nature.
When hiring security for your establishment, one of the most important decisions you will make is whether to choose armed or unarmed security. The first step to making the right choice is to assess your business’s risk. It is important to understand armed guards carry a firearm and will be able to defend your employees and business from the worst criminal activity. Although, with great power comes great responsibility.
First of all, you must consider if you are high risk, moderate risk, or low risk for serious criminal activity. In order to make this determination, you must consider factors like assets, location, number of people, etc. If you determine that your business is at a high risk or even moderate risk, it is usually best to choose armed guards.
High Risk Factors
Factors that would place you in the high-risk category include being a retailer of expensive jewelry and merchandise, being an establishment with a lot of cash on site, transporting high dollar assets, being a hotel business or similar establishment with many people coming in and out, being a business that handles top secret information, being an establishment that holds events like concerts or sporting events that attract massive crowds, or being located in a high crime neighborhood.
If your business meets one of the above criteria or something similar, it is best to err on the side of caution and allow armed security guards to protect your assets and all those inside. An additional benefit is the peace of mind employees and patrons will have knowing that they are protected every second, allowing for more efficiency in day-to-day operations.
Low Risk Factors
Your business is likely in the low-risk category if you’re not worried about the possibility of violent crimes and other serious criminal activity. In these cases, an unarmed security presence can be extremely effective in deterring crime. Even if you already have security systems and cameras, they cannot replace the keen eye of a live person. Security guards patrol areas that cameras cannot see and are always on the lookout for suspicious activity so any situation can be mitigated with preventative action.
Environments that would place your establishment in the low-risk category are settings like museums, schools, galleries, churches, pools, traffic control, parks, and recreational facilities. While these places are often targets for theft or vandalism, serious criminal activity, especially violent crimes are unlikely. Thus, unarmed security guards are often the perfect choice in such settings.
In addition to the type of business and its location, you must also consider how your clientele will perceive the presence of an armed guard or an unarmed guard. While you want to keep your business and customers safe, you must be careful to choose the right type of guard that will increase feelings of safety and not cause alarm. In some settings, an armed guard could make people feel uneasy and deter them from visiting your establishment in the future. The converse is true in other situations where clients will be thankful for your advanced security. Ultimately, it is up to you to determine where your business falls on this fine line and make the best choice after considering all available information.
When to Choose Armed Guards
With your customers in mind, it is often advisable to employ armed guards in situations where there are large sums of money present, such as in a bank or credit union. This is also true of businesses involved in the tech industry or jewelry sales as these expensive assets make these establishments hot spots for criminal activity. Thus, adding an armed guard will help customers and employees feel secure knowing that if criminal activity occurs help is on the premises.
When to Choose Unarmed Guards
In some situations, an armed guard could give the impression that patrons are in danger; thus, creating fear and anxiety that could potentially hurt your business. In these situations, it is always better to employ unarmed guards. These indispensable assets can provide a sense of security to everyone at your business without causing unease. Thus, if your business involves retail without high dollar assets or some form of recreational activity, an unarmed guard is usually sufficient to monitor small issues like vandalism and shoplifting.
When making your final decision, you should also note the differences in cost between armed and unarmed security. Generally speaking, you can always assume armed guards will cost exponentially more than unarmed guards due to their more extensive training and the need for liability insurance (due to their deadly weapon). The additional cost means armed guards should only be chosen when they are essential to your business and its location.
After considering the need for armed verses unarmed security guards, select the right option for your business and secure your peace of mind today!