Is Hiring Security Guards Worth It?
Of the 6.9 million reported cases of property crime in 2019, the FBI reported that 73.4% were larceny/theft, 16.1% were burglary, and 10.4% were arson. These crimes amounted to $15.8 billion in estimated losses. So what does that mean to business owners? Property crimes are prevalent and costly. If you own a commercial property, you need to protect it. Perhaps you’ve considered hiring security guards. But before you make such a significant investment, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons.
The Case FOR Hiring Security Guards
You might think your business can’t afford a security detail. While that’s possible, hiring security guards might end up saving you money in the long run. Whether it’s office security guards, a business security service, or professional monitoring, extra eyes on your property can prevent, record, and report any crime that takes place. But that’s not all.
Crime Reduction and Prevention
It comes as no surprise that the presence of security guards has a positive impact on reducing crime. Increasing the number of guards on train platforms in England, for example, saw a 16% reduction in victim-reported crimes.
It makes sense. All of us—criminals or otherwise—behave better when we know or even think we’re being watched. Would-be thieves don’t want to be seen or caught, and the presence of a security guard increases the chance of both. Criminals are frequently opportunistic. Security guards ensure your property is not the opportunity they’re looking for. A uniformed guard or security camera with professional monitoring is a tangible deterrent to stop criminals before they even attempt the crime.
Increased Peace of Mind
You’ve invested time, energy, and money into a business, and you want to know you’ve done everything possible to protect it. If you have employees, you want them to feel safe and appreciated. That’s especially true if you deal in high-end inventory like cash, jewelry, cannabis, and electronics, or if you’re in an area with a high crime rate. Secure employees are willing to stick with you.
Your customers will appreciate it, too. Hiring security guards for your business tells them you care about their safety and have done everything possible to ensure a pleasant experience with you.
Faster First Response
Of course, nothing in life is foolproof. You may still experience crime, unruly customers or staff, medical emergencies, natural disasters, and more. Most security guards go through additional training—medical, crowd, de-escalation techniques, and so on—so they can better provide whatever kind of support is needed. And because they’re already on-site, they can respond faster than anyone else. A great security guard can be like getting five or six useful employees in one.
Often stationed in the lobby or near the entrance, security guards are typically the first individual that a customer or guest encounters. Guards can welcome and check people in, issue security badges, provide directions, and answer basic questions about your business. They can possibly even assist and escort to their car both staff and customers leaving late at night. A security guard can function as a gatekeeper, greeter, information booth, and first line of defense all at once.
Your regular employees are not security guards. They don’t have the same training as professional guards and may not feel comfortable enforcing purchase limits, mask requirements, and other policies. Problematic people are less likely to get belligerent with a security guard than they are with a part-time employee.
The Case AGAINST Hiring Security Guards
That said, security guards aren’t for everyone. There are a few reasons to think twice before hiring security guards.
Very High Cost
Hiring security guards can be expensive. Depending on whether you outsource to a security provider or hire them yourself, the cost can quickly become unaffordable. A third-party security guard service watching your building 24/7 might give you the best protection, but it’s also going to be the most expensive option. One highly trained security guard could cost upwards of $100 per hour.
Hire guards yourself, and you may be getting untrained, unqualified individuals. Cheaper, yes, but you get what you pay for. And the costs go beyond weekly wages. Don’t forget the expense of any employee benefits your business provides, plus recruitment and training costs. Hiring is an expensive endeavor, and hiring security guards is no exception.
Guards Are Only Human
Security guards aren’t infallible. They’re real people, just like you. They are subject to exhaustion, illness, boredom, mistakes, and distraction. You often hear about “human error” in connection with accidents and disasters. It’s a sad but realistic truth. Even with the best intentions and training, guards can fall asleep at night, call in sick, mentally check out, or completely miss a suspect crawling through an open window.
And if they do make a mistake, you’re out the cost of any stolen goods.
Limited Physical Presence
Security guards can’t be everywhere at once. The larger your property, the easier it is for a would-be thief to slip by unnoticed. To protect your business completely, your only option is to hire more full-time guards. Once again, another expense. You can see how the costs add up quickly.
Potential for Liability
What happens if your guard must physically subdue someone? Even if the action is justified, you’re still opening your business up to legal trouble. Any use of force could injure both your guard and the accused party. In the best-case scenario, you’re facing a worker’s compensation claim. And it’s only too easy for your guard to use more force than necessary or to go after an innocent person. The last thing you want is to pay damages to your potential burglar because of an assault or battery charge.
So does that mean you shouldn’t hire any guards at all? Only you can answer that. But it does mean you should look at the choice from every angle. Consider the cost compared to what you get. Make sure any professional service is licensed. Check their reviews and reputation. Make an informed decision.
The “Do I Need Security Guards?” Quick Quiz
Is hiring security guards right for you? Let’s explore. Answer with a simple YES or NO for each of the following questions:
- Is your business located in a high-crime area?
- Do you frequently have large sums of cash on site?
- Do you sell or store high-end items—cars, electronics, jewelry, designer fashion—or frequently stolen items like cannabis, cigarettes, prescription drugs, and liquor?
- Do you frequently host or welcome VIPs?
- Do you store financial, medical, or other confidential information that could be used for identity theft or blackmail?
- Have your neighbors recently been the victims of a crime?
- Do you have valuable artwork or other collectibles?
- Does your business see a lot of foot traffic during the day?
- Have you previously been targeted?
- Do you have a substantial security budget?
If you answered YES to 3 or more of these, you should explore your options for professional security services.
A Better Solution Than Hiring Security Guards: Live Surveillance
The smarter approach is to use Deep Sentinel.
Because real human guards watch your cameras in real time. Proprietary AI identifies potential threats in seconds, without fail. Then, live surveillance guards intervene when they verify a threat and instantly engage with the suspect via 2-way audio. If needed, police are notified when necessary in 30 seconds or less.
At Deep Sentinel, the AI never takes a day off, falls asleep at the desk, or makes a costly human error. LiveSentinel guards go through rigorous ongoing training that includes core methods, implicit and explicit bias exploration, suspect and weapon description, dispatch communication, and suspicious behavior identification. And Deep Sentinel’s business security cameras are the only cameras that include live security guards at an affordable price. It’s the best of both worlds: the best security money can buy at a price point everyone can afford.
So, is hiring security guards worth it? Perhaps, if you’re clever about it. Let Deep Sentinel get you there with a surveillance security guard watching your property and stepping in when it counts.