We recently had a customer call asking about security guard services in Alexandria, VA. I asked them “do you need armed or unarmed service?” They replied, “How would I know?” I paused for a moment and then thought to myself, “that’s a great question.” I then engaged in an in-depth conversation helping the customer choose between armed and unarmed services. In this case, the customer and I concluded that unarmed guards were the right choice for their specific situation. After a 20-minute conversation with the customer, I knew that I needed to write an article about this. Professional security guards are often broken down into two different categories: armed and unarmed. While the difference comes in the form of legal certification from the state, does your location need an armed security guard? Security companies in Virginia, Washington DC and Virginia are permitted to offer both armed security and unarmed security guard services available to their clients. Security guards impact your business every day they are on duty. It is up to the business owner to decide whether the guards will be armed or unarmed. Each come with benefits. Understanding whether an armed or unarmed security guard is needed is an important decision for any business owner, property manager or other professional in charge of a facility’s security detail.
3 things that can help determine whether armed security is needed for your location:
1. Are there high-value luxury items present?
Criminals take risks every time that they commit a crime. The higher value the target, the more willing a criminal is to use violence to get what they want. Most thieves look for a smash and grab opportunity, quickly taking what they can before fleeing the scene. However, if there are expensive items present it is common for criminals to enter the site armed and rob the location at gunpoint. Even in the case of smash and grabs it is not unheard of for suspects to be armed with firearms or blunt objects such as hammers. The presence of an armed guard puts criminals on notice that they will be dealt with in kind if they try to rob the location with the armed guard. When faced with the prospects of dealing with an armed officer most would be robbers choose to go elsewhere.
2. Is the location in a high crime area with drug activity?
Often times, the location of a business plays a large role in needing an armed guard or not. If the business location is in a high violent crime area, having armed guards on hand to boost security is a valuable investment. Suspects in high crime areas with drug activity tend to be more desperate. They will go to extreme measures to accomplish the small gain of getting their next dose of their illegal drug of choice. Some consider a few hundred dollars in a cash a register worth the risk of committing a violent crime. In these cases, an unarmed guard is little more than another potential victim of the robber. An armed guard is the best option.
In this case, not only does it reduce the chance of a crime taking place inside of the business but it also offers guests peace of mind knowing they are protected. Performing some simple background research into a city’s crime statistics and the company’s neighborhood may point to whether are armed security guard is needed. It is also important to get the opinion of the security company you are hiring.
3. What is your budget?
A great solution that does not fit within the budget is a bad idea. Security companies charge more for armed services. The costs for armed security guards is higher for the following reasons:
Why armed guards cost more
- Higher levels of training (most have 40 hours of training)
- Tend to be more experience. In many cases law enforcement or military experience
- More certifications and specialized training
- Armed security companies have increase insurance costs
The above factors result in higher pay rates for armed personnel this results in higher costs. A business owner needs to determine what he or she can afford the increased investment required to protect their location with an armed guard. It is possible a business owner may simply not be able to afford, or be willing to make the fiscal sacrifices necessary to fit armed security in their budget.
Hiring an armed security guard is a serious decision. A business must decide what it best for their particular situation. If a location has high value luxury items, is located in an area with high drug activity and the business can fit the security cost in their budget, then armed security it the best option. In other cases, an unarmed security guard may be a great option. The decision to bring in an armed security guard is ultimately is up to the business owner or manager in charge of hiring the security detail. If you are located in Virginia, Washington DC or Maryland you may want to contact an account manager at this company for a free security evaluation.