Over 1 million people in the United States are employed as security officers. Still, despite the large number of workers in this industry, unflattering stereotypes of the profession linger. Instead of viewing officers as well-trained and helpful security experts, many perceive them as poorly equipped, incompetent "wannabes" - thanks in large part to Hollywood's typical depiction of private security professionals.
The truth is, these hardworking and dedicated professionals make significant contributions to crime prevention, public safety, and all-around peace of mind, year after year. The following article discusses 6 myths about security officers, and how they stack up to reality.
Myth 1: Security Officers Are Poorly Trained
Many may view security officers as inexperienced, entry-level workers that don't have the necessary qualifications to do a good job. Some may also feel that security companies don't provide sufficient training to help their officers succeed.
Reality: Many security officers are former or current law enforcement officers. As such, they have a wide range of experience in handling tense situations, and preventing criminal activity. Other officers that come from different backgrounds can take advantage of in-depth training to provide true value to their clients.
Myth 2: Security Firms Will Hire Anybody
Another common perception of the security industry is that companies are so desperate to take on employees that they'll settle for just about anybody, regardless of their background, employment history, or qualifications.
Reality: Security officers are entrusted with the duty to care for valuable property and possessions. Thus, security firms take every appropriate measure to ensure that their employees are both trustworthy and reliable workers. For example, at Signal we pre-screen all of our job candidates and vet them to the highest possible standard before even thinking about bringing them onboard. We have strict standards in place to protect our clients from unqualified or ineligible candidates.
Myth 3: Security Officers Don't Really Care About Their Jobs
One unfortunate stereotype that still persists in the public imagination is that security officers are lazy, or lackadaisical about their job performance. The popular image is that of the security guard eating donuts in the command center while thieves break into the building and steal everything in sight.
Reality: This shameful myth belies the fact that security officers have dedicated their lives to helping others, and have chosen a vocation that allows them to do so on a day to day basis. Security officers not only care about their jobs; they care about the people they are protecting.
Myth 4: Security Firms Don't Provide Officers with the Resources They Need
Some people feel that the average security officer is clueless - but they don't blame the employee, they blame the employer. Such people have the idea that security firms simply skimp on necessary resources to save a few dollars here and there, leaving their workers "out in the cold."
Reality: At Signal each and every one of our officers receive specific, highly detailed post orders with a comprehensive list of the requirements and unique attributes of each property. We work hard to ensure that each employee goes into an assignment with clear and reasonable expectations, and the resources they need to fulfill their duties.
Myth 5: Security Officers Are Aggressive
At the other end of the spectrum from the "incompetent security officer" is the "combative security officer." Some business owners and private citizens are concerned that officers will constitute a militaristic, aggressive presence, or take things too far in a volatile situation.
Reality: The vast majority of security officers are courteous and respectful in the course of their work, even in the face of provocation. At Signal, our security officers are members of the same community that they protect, giving them extra incentive to provide exceptional customer service, and treat others with care and compassion.
Myth 6: Security Officers Don't Really Prevent Crime
Finally, many feel that in the final analysis, the presence of security officers don't do much to prevent crime.
Reality: Actually, nothing could be further from the truth! For example, Signal officers partner with local law enforcement agencies to facilitate arrests and aid in detainment when necessary. Although our officers do not have arrest powers, they are more than willing to use their expertise and skills acquired in previous law enforcement roles to help apprehend suspects.
Several years ago, a study from the Urban Institute found that the mere presence of surveillance cameras on a property tends to reduce crime by 20%. If cameras by themselves can aid in crime prevention, how much more can alert, well-trained security officers? The answer is obvious.
Private Security Officers Provide a Truly Valuable Service
While negative stereotypes of security officers persist, the truth is that these hardworking and conscientious professionals do much to promote peace of mind within their local community. They can help prevent crime and bolster public safety in business establishments, residential developments, or anywhere else.
At Signal, our philosophy is that safety and peace of mind are basic human needs. To that end, we aim to provide a world-class suite of security services for commercial, residential, retail, and institutional customers. We would be happy to help you achieve greater peace of mind by means of our industry-leading solutions. Reach out to us today to schedule a free security estimate.