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Security cameras vs. armed security guards

Security Cameras vs. Security Officers

Many times decision makers are faced with making choices during security planning between investment in security officers or Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems.

It is easy to understand that with today’s competitive environment, organizations seek to save money any way possible.  Emerging developments in camera technology, combined with inexpensive high speed internet connections, makes CCTV coverage better and less expensive technology than ever before.  While wages and bill rates for guard services have remained fairly consistent over the past few years, a camera is still cost competitive especially when compared to high quality security staffing.  With the new artificial intelligence, the surveillance camera system software can even effectively interpret motion, sound alarms, alert remote monitoring stations, play messages over a loud speaker, turn on lights, etc. This makes them a real alternative in many ways. So those are the pluses, what about the down side?  While it may be true that CCTV has come a long way, it still has its limitations. Can it hear glass breaking, can it smell smoke from a fire, can it get that “feeling” a good guard gets when someone or something “just isn’t right”, can it tell a slow driver from one who’s “casing the joint”?  No of course not.  Can it help a customer, answer a phone, wave (or not wave as the case  may be) to the passing police vehicle to signal everything is OK, or not OK
 as the case may be? No certainly not. Cameras do deter some small percentage of criminal activity, but many crimes are committed on camera.  Cameras can not escort unauthorized parties from the premises, or take notes from a witness. Perhaps most importantly in higher risk areas, a camera can not stop a violent criminal act before people are harmed. A highly trained professional security officer can intervene to stop criminal activity, and in the case of Paladin Security’s past performance this has benefited our clients on many occasions.

CCTV is a very valuable tool in many security applications. However, it can not be considered as a replacement for capable “live” security staff on site protecting locations, assets, people, and the interests of the client. Cameras are good for documenting event that may assist in the prosecution of criminals but they cannot provide protective services.

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Court case underlines value of using security guards

Florida Appeals Court Ruling on Apartment Shooting Liability Case Underlines Value of Security Officers

In many cases, it is in the best interest of the owners of multifamily real estate assets to take measures to control access to the property and to curtail unauthorized persons from entering or remaining on the premises, including the common areas. There are multiple ways in which owners benefit from making these efforts, but one important reason is illustrated by the decision handed down on January 7, 2015 by the DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA FOURTH DISTRICT in the case of  DENISE NICHOLSON v. STONYBROOK APARTMENTS, LLC.

 

In this Palm Beach County case, the plaintiff was shot by an unknown third party while attending a party in the apartment complex’s common area. In the ruling, the court makes clear that “
negligent security cases fall under the auspices of premises liability as opposed to ordinary negligence.”  Additionally, the opinion of the court points out that  a negligent security case is dependent on the injured party’s relationship to the land. In this case, the landowner’s duties were very limited because the person who was shot was known to be trespassing on the property.  The fact that the injured party was a documented trespasser limited the liability of the landowner for the harm that was suffered by the plaintiff while on the property in an unauthorized status. In the end, the court ruled against the plaintiff and the landowner was absolved of fault for the injuries sustained by the person who was shot on the property.

 

One of the benefits landowners achieve when they utilize high quality security officers at apartment complexes and condominium complexes is the increase of access control and the ability to detect, deter, interdict and document cases of criminal trespass on the premises. As the Nicholson v. Stonybrook case points out, If a person is injured on the property by a third party criminal after they have been determined to be trespassing, the liability of the landowner is limited. If you have questions on how your organization can better control its risks Paladin Security experts are able to assist with current and relevant expertise in the deployment of security officers.

 

Reference: http://www.4dca.org/opinions/Jan%202015/01-07-15/4D12-4462.op.pdf

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Police officer apprehending Darious Petress

Local Media Reports Another Armed Robbery at Marquee Apartments near UCF

“The victim was robbed in the complex parking garage after being confronted by two males with a handgun, said Capt. Angelo Nieves, Orange County Sheriff’s Office media relations spokesman, in a news release.”

UCF area apartment communities continue to be the scene of violent criminal behavior. Local media reports indicate that a man was viciously attacked and robbed on Saturday, May 16, at the Marquee Apartments. The assailants reportedly struck the victim in the head with a pistol injuring him. Fortunately, the victim’s injuries were not life threatening, and he was released from the hospital.

This same location has been the scene of other incidents of violent criminal activity over the past year. In November 2014, 22 year old Darious Petress, a boyfriend of a tenant, (see photo) was arrested for armed robbery and aggravated battery in connection to his robbing people at gunpoint on the premises of Marquee apartments. At that time, after three armed robberies in just a few months at the complex, social media exploded with complaints from residents and parents of students about the management company not taking strong enough measures to reduce the risks.

One measure that was taken was to change management and the name of the complex from Sterling Central to the Marquee as the reputation began to suffer from the repeated incidents. Still, customers were not happy.

“I wouldn’t renew my lease. I’d rather be in a safer environment so I don’t have to worry,”

armed-robbery-ucf
Darious Petress being arrested for armed robbery with a firearm November 2014

At that time, Sheriff’s Office Officials were quoted by local media:

“I wouldn’t term [the complex] as being targeted. Three robberies over the course of months isn’t something we’d term as being targeted or a crime wave or something of that nature,”

Well, now after the May 16 incident, there have been four violent robberies in less than one year on this apartment complex that serves UCF students. There is clearly a serious problem – bad guys are targeting the young people who are living in the area apartment communities near the UCF campus. This robbery is just the latest in a string of violent incidents in the area in the past year. In addition to the armed robberies, local media has reported that official records indicated 7 cars have been stolen, 27 apartment burglaries, and 30 car burglaries at this complex.

We recommend that this apartment complex and others in the area that have been subjected to increased risk from crime seek the services of professional private security providers. Private security companies can coordinate with the owners and management officials that are responsible for the safety of the residents and guests at the complex to develop a plan for increasing safety and security on the property. Paladin Security offers teams of armed uniformed security officers who can patrol the property to detect, deter, and defeat the criminals and lower the risks from crime.

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Security guard apprehending a criminal

Apartment Complex Crime

In an apartment complex, crime touches residents, staff and the surrounding community. Anytime you suspect that a tenant is breaking the law — using your property for an unintended purpose — owners and their management agents should take steps to end the tenancy. If they don’t, they are putting the property owner and/or management organization at risk for lawsuits should anyone be injured. So get help. Call the police. Report any crime that you are aware of. Hire a qualified security provider who is experienced with residential security and will work with the management team.  Leverage the security service to write daily reports to create a paper trail that demonstrates only breaches of the lease, community rules, and violations of the law before terminating the lease. Documentation will help you make your case. Using a security service on the premises will send a strong message to the criminal element that the owner and management are not going to tolerate continued criminal activity.

A landlord’s liability for criminal activities varies depending on the state. In Florida, the law demands that landlords evict lawbreaking tenants or they are subject to possible civil liability, fines and other sanctions. In an apartment complex, crime affects the lives of tenants, owner liability, and the surrounding community.

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Police body worn camera

Body Worn Cameras in the Public Safety Space

New technology often changes the way we do our jobs. The examples are all around us. One can look at the way digital communications have empowered medical providers to efficiently coordinate treatment across the city or the world offering patients new options and lowering costs. Companies like Google have built entirely new business models on the rapidly evolving advances in information technology that touch virtually every sector from education to agriculture. The public sector and the private sector as well as non profits have all adapted and adopted to keep up (or catch up).
 
The 2014 United States Department of Justice study “Implementing a Body Worn Camera Program : Recommendations and Lessons Learned
 
is a strong resource for understanding how body worn digital cameras that record and store video and audio from a first person point of view as seen by a public safety worker (police, fire, security etc.) are impacting this line of work.  Many of us have watched the videos that were shot using one of these body worn cameras. One security officer who used a body camera to record the actions he took in the day to day performance of his duties in downtown Atlanta, Georgia shopping mall became an overnight sensation as his videos went viral on Youtube.
 
See: http://abcnews.go.com/US/mall-cop-turned-viral-sensation-doesnt-regret-tasering/story?id=21276078
 
Many police departments have deployed this technology, and the Justice Department Study goes into detail using case studies to document the various ways that the use of these cameras has impacted the job and the way the public perceives public safety personnel. In many cases, police and the public perceive a benefit from the use of these body worn cameras and the documentation of incidents including incidents involving the use of force.  In the report, police have related how in many cases the cameras cause the public to be much more cooperative and less combative. Here is an example:
 
 
“In the testing we did [of body-worn cameras], we had a number of tenured officers who wanted to wear the cameras and try them out, and their feedback was very positive. They said things like, ‘You’ll be amazed at how people stop acting badly when you say this is a camera, even if they’re intoxicated.’ And we also know that the overwhelming majority of our officers are out there doing a very good job, and the cameras will show just that.”
– Douglas Gillespie, Sheriff, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
 
 
According to the study, there has been a trend of lower use of force incidents and greater public trust when these body camera systems are deployed with police officers on patrol. Both the police and the public seem to be a bit more civil when the interactions between them is being recorded. Evidence of misconduct can be used to remove bad cops, and evidence of criminal activity can be used to prosecute criminals.
 
As the cost of this technology is reduced and the use body worn cameras becomes more widespread, users of private security services may consider requiring the use of these systems for uniformed security officers while on duty at their locations. The information that is captured using these cameras is sometimes key to achieving outcomes in criminal and / or civil proceedings that can emerge involving private security officers in the performance of contractual duties. Armed security guards should consider the personal benefit to documenting situations that can involve the use of lethal force. Paladin Security teams have used information captured by cameras worn by our officers to assist in the successful prosecution of individuals involved in criminal activity that our officers encountered and detained to be turned over to law enforcement.
 
 
Overall, the use of these cameras seems to be helping the professionals who protect our communities. Agencies, both public sector and private sector are adopting these systems. The US Department of Justice has committed resources to studying the issue, and this report is very interesting. Policy makers, officers, and the community are all adjusting to this new reality. If used correctly if can save lives, preserve public trust, and allow for greater accountability from the people we place our trust in to protect us all.
 
Source: http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/472014912134715246869.pdf

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Shootings near University of Central Florida (UCF)

More Gun Violence on UCF Student Housing Apartment Complex Grounds

Cops: Shots Fired Amid Argument at East Orlando Apartment Community

April 2015 is ending with an alarming level of violence and gang related activity near Florida’s largest University located in East Orange County. The University of Central Florida Community is talking about the latest shooting incident at a residential area where students live. Several shootings have now taken place in the area and the level of concern is growing along with the level of risk.

According to local media reports, on the evening of Thursday, April 23, sheriff’s deputies were called to a complex near the UCF campus to respond to reports of gunshots on the property.

“Shots were fired near Red Iris Lane at Campus Crossings Thursday night, deputies at the student-apartment complex said. UCF student Stephanie Smith told KnightNews.com she heard arguing, then four or five shots from her apartment. Two shots pierced a door at the complex, allowing a clear view into the apartment. Deputies said no one was hurt in the incident and no one has been arrested. “

Fortunately, in this shooting incident nobody has been reported to have been injured. Stray bullets ripped through the door of a nearby apartment. People in the area were lucky not to have been hit by the gunfire. In this case, local media reports indicated that the witness to this attack was unwilling to cooperate with police, and so far there have not been any arrests made. The frequency of violent incidents on or near residential properties where University of Central Florida students reside has many people wondering what can be done to protect themselves. Local media has reported on the list of incidents that have occurred recently. Also according to reports, controversy has arisen from the lack of notice to new prospective students who are moving into apartment complexes that have been the location of violent criminal activity.  Parents of students have complained about the problem. Paladin Security has reported on another recent, similar incident of crime in this area in this blog. Click here to see the other post.

This problem has been escalating over the past year and now local authorities are moving to stem the violent crime in the area.

“Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said his department is about to go public with a series of crime-fighting initiatives with UCF police to fight off-campus violence, including targeted enforcement in off-campus complexes.”

(Source: http://www.wesh.com/news/new-crimereducing-efforts-coming-to-ucf-area-orange-county-sheriff-says/32646008)

We will all be standing by to see what new initiatives the Orange County Sherriff’s Office is going to implement. They are a very effective agency and are sure to provide enhanced enforcement efforts. However, law enforcement agencies cannot be expected to tackle this problem by themselves. Property owners are responsible for the residents safety in the face of these risks and with the rising levels of violent crime they have choices to make. There are solutions available to the owners and managers of these residential communities.  Many times, it takes proactive measures to control the risks from violent crime at apartment complexes. When teams of well trained, armed security officers are actively patrolling a property, criminal activity and incidents like these decrease. High quality security companies can work with both the local law enforcement agencies and with property management authorities to identify and then remove problem residents and control access to the property. We hope that the operators of these apartment communities will take the measures that will cut down the risks and make these places safer to live in order to protect lives.

 

Sources:

http://knightnews.com/2015/04/cops-shots-fired-amid-argument-at-campus-crossings/

http://www.wftv.com/videos/news/controversy-over-crime-plagued-apartment-complex/vCBWX/

http://www.wesh.com/news/new-crimereducing-efforts-coming-to-ucf-area-orange-county-sheriff-says/32646008

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Are off duty police officers better than private security guards?

Off Duty Police Officers vs. Private Security Officers

For many years, the debate over whether it is more beneficial to hire off-duty police officers or private security guards to provide optimum security services has been a contentious debate. The primary issues revolve around legalities, effectiveness and affordability of these types of protection measures.

It is important to understand that organizations and individuals who seek private security are usually looking to protect property (money, facilities, etc.). Police officers have little if any training in the protection of property. They are trained to protect life and liberty. When there is a gray area regarding the capacity in which the police officer may be working, their ability to perform private security responsibilities can sometimes be comprised. Here are some issues to consider if you’re deciding between off-duty police or private security officers.

Stopping and Questioning of People

When a police officer stops and questions someone without cause, that is a civil rights violation. Private security guards are allowed to freely question all individuals who may be considered suspicious or a perceived threat. This is especially important in controlling access in residential areas such as multifamily residential communities or gated housing communities.

Primary Employment versus Secondary Employment
For private security officers, the job as a security officer is most likely their primary source of employment and income. They are more apt to stay focused and take the job seriously. While this is not to say that off duty police officers don’t take the job seriously; however, these “extra” private security responsibilities may come after already working a normal shift with their respective law enforcement agency and, therefore, they may not be quite as alert.

armed security guard

 

Civil Law
There is a huge distinction to be made between criminal and civil law. Police officers deal largely in criminal matters with little expertise in (and sometimes prohibited from dealing with) civil matters. Private security officers are trained to focus on civil laws (property rights) with a little exposure to criminal procedures that may crop up while performing their duties.  In a way, off duty police officers may be a bit handcuffed by their lack of knowledge when it comes to handling the day-to-day responsibilities associated with the responsibilities of private sector work.

Financial Considerations
Generally, off duty police officers charge more for security services than a private security firm will on an hourly or contract basis. Also, the question of liability comes into play. Private security firms are required to carry liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance, removing your financial burden in the case of any guard injuries. Off duty police officers aren’t likely to purchase such coverage. This may create issues for the client when civil lawsuits pop up.

Organizations and individuals who seek private security on an ongoing basis will most likely find they are better protected by private armed security guards who are trained specifically to perform the services needed. The highly professional security officers employed by Paladin Security have the training experience and know-how to protect your assets and your people, providing you with the best of both worlds all for an affordable price. Please reach our consultants at 407-218-6528 to explore your options.

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Should there be armed security guards in schools?

Armed Security Guards in Schools?

In the wake of multiple shootings that have occurred on school campuses, policymakers are searching for ways to enhance the security of schools. One measure that has been adopted in a growing number of jurisdictions is the use of specialized armed security guards. Here are two recent news stories- one from Chicago, IL and one from Woodstown, NJ that cover the moves towards this practice.

http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2015/03/nj_school_district_gears_up_with_armed_security_in.html

http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/district-considering-armed-security-for-campuses/31993490

And here is a 2014 story from Oregon where an armed security guard stopped a school shooting. Here is a quote from the story:

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,’ the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said at the time. And he’s right—just look what happened in Oregon this week.”

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2014/06/11/armed-guards-ended-oregon-school-shooting-n1850413

Here is Florida, many schools utilize uniformed security guards to keep students safe. Here is a story from January of this year featuring former Paladin Security officer Mark Nelson who was awarded 2015 Support Person of the Year for the Orange County Florida district.

nelson

“Colleagues say Nelson is personally committed to the safety, well-being and success of the school’s students, and is always willing and ready to help. He in his second year at the school, which he joined after a 25-year career in the military. He spent 10 years in the Navy and 15 in the Army, retiring as a Sgt. 1st Class.”

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/school-zone/os-acceleration-academy-security-guard-20150122-post.html

We salute all security officers who put their own personal safety at risk to keep students safe at school. We also commend the courageous policy makers who take this step to reduce the risks to our young citizens.

 

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Suing over premises liability

Premises Liability Overview

Often times the subject of premises liability comes up in discussions about physical security in commercial settings. Owners and operators of commercial properties have differing levels of awareness of this topic. It is a fact that premises liability claims are on the rise across the nation. Paladin Security staff members are focused on delivering value to our clients by reducing risk. There is no way to remove 100% of risk, but putting a quality security program in place provides strong risk mitigation in most cases. Sometimes, when the risk of crime is statistically high in the vicinity of a commercial property, making the investment in Top Tier Uniformed Security is the best way to control these risks.

We are providing a link to a very good basic introduction to the topic of premises liability for reference purposes.

Source: InjuryClaimCoach.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLIvJYttP_M#t=84

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Orlando gang activity

Gang Related Double Shooting Near UCF marks 2nd in 2 weeks

“Witness told deputies double shooting near UCF may have drug ties, report says”

Local media reports of a 2nd shooting near off campus housing for the University of Central Florida area have increased concerns among parents and university leaders . Observers point to gang related incidents as an ongoing concern. Here are some quotes from the coverage by local media outlets.

“The UCF-area shooting that left two men critically injured Thursday night has raised more concerns about student safety and gang activity in the neighborhoods bordering the campus off Alafaya Trail.”

“It was the second shooting in less than a month linked to possible gang activity in the area near off-campus housing, including a row of University of Central Florida off-campus fraternity houses.”

“
Orange County deputies confirmed that the 59 Brims — an offshoot of the national Bloods gang — are active and living in the neighborhoods bordering UCF
”

“Someone yelled “Brim Blood,” a reference to the 59 Brim gang, right before gunfire erupted March 19
”
Residential communities in this area may consider increasing their security posture in light of the recent increase in violent gang related crimes. Paladin Security is able to provide our customers highly trained armed security staff to patrol communities to detect, deter, and defeat these threats. Armed security is used by many apartment complexes to reduce the risks of violent crime and send a message to criminals that the community will not tolerate the sort of activity that is being reported in the area of off campus housing where students and staff of the University of Central Florida live. Paladin Security specializes in providing high quality armed security services for residential communities. Paladin Security is different from the typical security guard company. Paladin Security is focused on providing armed security and our organization has a proven past performance record of decreasing criminal activity in the communities we patrol. Our demonstrated and proven ability to generate quality outcomes in very dangerous and risk filled environments gives our customers the confidence to trust our armed security officers with the task of reducing risks in their locations.

 

Sources:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-ucf-shooting-gang-crime-20150403-story.html

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-ucf-area-shooting-possible-drug-gang-20150412-story.html

 

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