4 Security Items You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money On

With so many infomercials and facebook articles online telling you the latest and greatest gadgets, it can be hard to know which ones to invest in and which ones to pass on. Everything promises to be the best and most important item you could own when it comes to your personal safety. But as always, some items are more talk than walk - and some you shouldn’t bother wasting your money on!

Today we’re going to talk about 4 of these items you shouldn’t bother with. These are just our opinions - but we feel that if you’re going to be spending your hard earned money on items you should get good quality stuff that makes a difference!

Read on to see which items we would suggest you pass on, and why.

Safety Whistles

They might seem like a great security device. If someone is attacking you, you blow the whistle loudly which alerts everyone to the scene and the attacker will run away in panic.

But is this true? While whistles do a good job of alerting people to the scene - so can screaming or yelling. And if your attacker panics - are they going to panic and run away or panic and try to get you stop making noise?

Another risk of relying on a safety whistle for your protection is how quick you can get to it. Where do you keep your whistle? If you’re being attacked, do you have the time to dig around in your purse to get to the whistle?

We think the final verdict is that safety whistles CAN be helpful, but aren’t going to be the ultimate security device that will always protect you. It’s more important to be aware of your surroundings and stay with people when out at night.

Gimmick Knives

You’ve seen them before. A knife in a belt buckle! A sword hidden in a cane! A knife hidden in lipstick! These all offer the same gimmick - that they are hidden in plain sight so you can go around unnoticed but be able to fight off an attacker when needed.

However the risk is all the same with these gimmicks. Most of them rely on instant reflexes to get and unsheathe the knife, when most people are shocked and stunned when mugged or attacked.

In addition they still require a skill to be able to use them properly in self defense. Any knife or item for self defense can be used against you and you will have to know how to defend yourself.

Our verdict is you are better served taking that money and investing in a self defense class! Get educated on the best way to escape certain scenarios without the added risk of a weapon that might not be necessary.

Woman Figure for security items you shouldnt waste money on

Self Defense Umbrella

You might remember these from old spy movies. Often shown to be stronger than steel, and bulletproof. Perfect for self defense against weapons, and as a weapon itself to be used upon your attacker.

They make and sell real versions of these spy umbrellas that they market as self defense items. This is an ordinary looking full length black umbrella that is made of a strong material so it can be used to hit things hard and still be opened and functional.

So what’s the problem with this? Well first, are you going to take a full sized umbrella with you everywhere you go? It’s not very realistic. Secondly, engaging in combat with someone who is trying to mug you will escalate the situation. And if they do engage in combat with you, it’s better for you to have knowledge of what to do - if you just blindly start swinging an item they could try to wrestle it from you and use it on you!

Our verdict? Sure it might look cool and make you feel like James Bond, but it’s probably not going to be useful enough to spend the money on.

Bulletproof Briefcase

Another spy movie item. Put all your important documents into it, lock it up, and you’ll never have to worry about anyone getting into it! Unfortunately these are best served in the movies. In real life they’re just not practical. First of all, how common is it to carry a briefcase in this day and age? Especially since most the the time all you need to protect is your wallet, phone, and keys.

The verdict? Yeah, these are just plain silly - even for James Bond!

Spy Picture for security items you shouldnt waste money on

Security Items You Shouldnt Waste Money On: Conclusion

They might seem goofy, or maybe they seemed like a great idea. But these self defense items are not going to the be key factor in protecting yourself in a security situation.

A better choice is going to be a self defense class, so you are property trained on the best tactic in any given situation. By taking a class and learning how to defend yourself in certain risk scenarios you give yourself the confidence and strategy that may make a difference if you ever have to use it.

What do you think? Are any of these security items something you recommend? Or are there other self defense devices that you think are less helpful than advertised? Let us know!

3 Tips for When You’ve locked your keys in your car

Chances are you’ve done it at least once. You’ve locked your keys inside your car! But what can you do? First don’t panic - there are plenty of ways to get back into your car and you’re going to be okay.

We know it’s a very frustrating experience and can leave you feeling very helpless. However it happens to everyone and is nothing to be embarrassed about! We’re here to help.

We’ve compiled 3 ways to handle being locked out of your car. Most of the time your choices are money related, time sensitive, or skill reliant. We've got all three covered. Pick the option that fits your situation best!

Do it yourself

If you don’t have the time or money to get a professional - you can try to get into the car yourself. Please note that this is only for your own car. Breaking into someone else’s vehicle is illegal and you face serious charges!

Locking mechanisms vary on different types of cars. Most newer cars have power locks with remote controls and most older cars have locks that are manual. Pay attention to your car lock system - do you need to push a button on the inside of the door? If you pull the handle, will that unlock the door?

You’ll need a few supplies. Something to pry the door open just enough to get something inside to trigger the mechanism. Most people recommend a door stop and a long metal rod. You can buy them at a hardware store and sometimes you can find them in a local business to borrow.

Wedge the doorstop into the top of the door to create a small opening. Then stick the long rod into the opening to push the unlock button on the inside of the door. If you need to pull the handle, just bend the metal rod into a hook. That way you can grab the handle with the hook and pull, causing the door to unlock/open.

One thing to note is that this method may cause damage to your door and exterior - so be cautious and weigh your odds!

Locked Keys in Car Picture of a Woman

Call the professionals

Are you concerned about trying it yourself or don’t have access to the tools you will need? It might be a better choice to call the professionals. This could be a locksmith, AAA, or security available on premises.

A yearly membership fee for AAA will cost around $100 dollars. But one of the benefits of a membership is that they provide roadside help wherever you are. Just call them up and explain the situation and they will send help.

They usually send a tow truck who will have the tools to try to get into the car for you. If they cannot, they might suggest towing the vehicle to a dealership or auto shop. Note that a dealership or mechanic may charge you for such services!

If for some reason AAA can’t send help, you can try contacting a local locksmith. Locksmiths can sometimes break into the car for you (see the do it yourself options in this article). Also, with proper identification a locksmith might be able to make you a new key.

Many new cars now come with keyless entry. They can be remotely locked and unlocked with the proper credentials. If your car offers this type of service, there are more options for you! You can contact your dealer and they might be able to unlock the door remotely for you. It's a great feature that helps in a time of need. Just be warned that you'll need to be able to properly identify yourself for security reasons.

If you are unable to contact anyone (maybe your phone is in your locked car too!), try to get help on the premises. If there is security on site - locate them and explain the situation. They can help assist you by contacting the appropriate help. They can also make sure you stay safe while you wait for someone to show up.

Prevention

The best way to prevent emergencies in the future is prevention. Keep a spare key in your bag or at home. Or give it to someone you trust. Plan for the emergency today so save yourself tomorrow! You'll save yourself a lot of headache and stress.

Then, if the situation occurs that you are locked out of your vehicle - you just get to the spare key. If you’re able to call your trusted source, they can come assist you. Again, if you are at a business or commercial location and you don’t have access to your phone - try to find security. They can help call someone you need. If you have to leave to go get your spare key - they can keep an eye on your vehicle while you’re gone.

Locked Keys in Car Picture of Broken Car

Conclusion

Getting locked out of your car is no fun - but it is something you might have to deal with one day. While prevention is always the best choice - it helps to know other ways of dealing with the situation when it happens. Take notes, remember the tips, and stay safe out there!

Want to be Amazing at Preventing Shoplifting?

Retail theft happens every 5 seconds in this country. How is your store handling the shrink? Do you feel like you could do better? Or does it feel like too much of a challenge to get under control?

Shrink from retail theft happens to all stores, no matter the size. For example, recently a woman was arrested in a Nordstrom's where she stole over $1,000 worth of clothes and watches by hiding it in her bag.

The good news is that there are shoplifting prevention options at any price level. Retail security services are great - but not everyone can afford them. Larger stores can invest in state of the art cameras and multiple loss prevention guards onsite at all times. Smaller stores with less cost can still prevent shoplifting with efficient and low tech goods. It just takes a little knowledge and execution. So let’s get started!

What is shrink?

Shrink, or shrinkage, is the loss of inventory that can be attributed to factors including employee theft, shoplifting, administrative error, vendor fraud, damage in transit or in store and cashier errors that benefit the customer. Shrinkage is the difference between recorded and actual inventory. One of the most common and preventable is shoplifting.

There are two basic types of shoplifters.

First, let's get to know our shoplifters. There are two basic types:

Organized thieves:

these thieves typically attack larger stores with lots of inventory with the goal of getting valuables and reselling them for a profit. They are very detailed and often have quite complex plans when it comes to stealing goods.

Opportunistic thieves:

these thieves usually attack smaller stores. They are impulse thieves, meaning they don’t plan to steal but walk in and see an opportunity and decide to grab. Doesn’t matter the goods or the environment - it’s an impulse. They see something they want and don’t want to pay for it. A quick (bad) decision tells them they can get away with stealing it.

Since most small stores deal with the second type of shoplifting far more often, that’s what we’re going to focus on today.

What does a shoplifter look like, anyways?

It can be hard to spot them, because any race, gender, or age can be a shoplifter. However there are some traits to help you identify suspicious characters in your store. Crime Prevention Service for Business at Rutgers University says “look at how people dress, act, and move, and what they carry”. Basically they enforce not to judge someone on their skin color or age. Instead look if they act suspiciously or carry concealable items like large purses or shopping bags.

Another thing to look for is that shoplifters don't like crowds. They will purposely avoid busy isles and staff members. They will also try to shop during odd times of day when there is less staff on the floor. This reason is because they don’t like being watched and want to limit the possibility of being caught red handed. Good customer service is a natural defense against this. Having staff always nearby, friendly, and helpful will be a benefit to your actual customers and naturally deter against shoplifters.

Here are the ways for small retail businesses to protect their assets and keep loss low by helping deter shoplifting.

Prevent Shoplifting in a Retail Store 

Know what items are at risk.

Some products are easy to conceal and sneak out, which make them easy targets for opportunistic thieves. For example, small items like accessories, cosmetics, CD’s, etc. are all small and easy to hide in clothes or bags. By knowing this you know which items to pay more attention to when displaying in a store.

For example, some stores like to keep their jewelry behind cases to keep tabs on where they are and prevent customers from accessing without help. Other stores often put extra staff near the CD’s and DVD’s to have extra eyes on them at all times.

Keep your store well organized.

Empty spaces in shelves are a quick sign that something’s missing. However if your store is messy and unkempt it can be hard to spot those out of the ordinary blank spaces. If you have aisles with lots of boxed or bagged products, keep them neat and clean and pulled to the front of the shelf. That way a quick scan will tell you if something is out of place.

This tactic is commonly used in grocery stores. Large isles with hundreds of boxes can be overwhelming for keeping track of inventory on the floor, but a quick scan for spaces makes it a little easier. Plus keeping everything flush makes a better experience for the shoppers, who feel more at ease in the isles.

Identify common methods.

Not only is knowing the high risk items helpful - it’s also helpful to know the high risk customers. Thieves will often work in pairs or groups. This makes it easier as a strategy because one or few can keep staff preoccupied so the others can go unnoticed. They commonly like to hide items in bags, under heavy clothes, strollers, or already purchased merchandise. Pay attention to groups that stay close together with the ability to hide items out of site. However be warned that not all customers are out to get you - don’t sacrifice customer service!

Leverage customer service.

Make sure to have plenty of staff on the floor to assist and watch patrons. Have staff near the door to both greet customers and pay attention to people entering and leaving the premises. If impulsive thieves don’t feel like they have an opportunity to sneak something away, they won’t try anything.

Keep communication between staff clear and constant.

If your staff works together to identify and watch suspicious activity, it will be easier to deter criminals and scare of potential threats. Staff is a team and will appear stronger as a unit to potential criminals.

Pay attention to your layout.

When you know the high risk items and methods of impulsive shoplifters, you can adapt to prevent them. For example you can put your registers by your exit, forcing people to pass by the staff and cameras when they leave. You can eliminate blind spots in the store, which are places people can hide and not be seen by staff.

Use visual cues like signs to deter theft.

They let customers know that they’re being watched and taped. Research shows that signage like that doubles compliance in a retail store. Other visual cues would be a doorman. Lots of stores like Whole Foods implemented a security officer or employee to greet customers as they enter and leave and not only does it provide additional customer service but it deters would be criminals for fear of being captured.

Why do people steal, anyways?

Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

It can be a hard question to answer and honestly I can’t tell you why people steals. Often times kids will try it maybe for a toy or a piece of candy. Some adults even feel forced to steal due to extreme hardships in order to eat. Everyone seems to have a different experience and most thieves will tell you a different excuse.

Unfortunately most impulsive thieves steal simply because they want something. A thief can convince himself that whatever he’s stealing is rightly his and can take it with no remorse or guilt. And it can be even easier for someone to steal from larger, more anonymous stores because they don’t have to visualize anyone suffering due to their actions.

However store owners do recognize that there is damage from shoplifting. It affects the store owners, the distributors, even the floor staff. To protect your assets and your staff and continue to provide a great experience for your customers for years to come - preventing shoplifting becomes a necessary piece of the business model.

If you’re a small retail store owner now is the time to start preventing. Fortunately some knowledge and work on the floor with staff can make the difference. Good luck and be safe out there!

7 Sayings a Security Guard Shouldn't Use

One of the biggest roles of a successful security guard is how well they communicate. Think about it - from talking with clients/guests, authority figures, writing reports, or addressing a hostile person - how well a security guard communicates will determine how people view him as successful, and in turn how they will view the business.

For example, a security guard station in the lobby of a business will often answer questions from visitors who aren’t familiar with the building. “Can you help me find this person?” Or “There’s a guy following me and it’s making me nervous.” He will be asked a ton of questions he may not be prepared for.

How well a security guards can communicate effectively could make or break a business’s reputation. Think you or your security guards are doing their best?

Here are 7 Sayings a Security Guard should avoid using when communicating with others.

Security Services During the Holidays Champion National Security

1. “So what? That’s not my problem.”

This saying doubles as showing a lack of effort and a lack of concern. Both of these are traits a good security guard should show to their peers and customers. While it’s frustrating to be asked to do things that aren’t within your job description, it’s best for a good working relationship to at least try to assist. If it’s something that a security guard cannot do, it’s better to apologize and point them to someone who can help them. Then they are still showing effort and concern and the client is feeling like their needs are being met.

For example, a better response would be “Here, let me get someone to help you with that.”

2. “I’m not telling you again.”

This saying displays an unwillingness to listen. It’s effectively shutting down the conversation with the other party. Be prepared for the other person to escalate the situation, because they feel like they’re not being heard.

3. “You wouldn’t get it anyways.”

This saying is often accompanied by an exacerbated sigh or rolling of the eyes. It’s very dismissive to the recipient. It also makes you look arrogant, which is not the persona a security guard or business wants to portray when developing relationships with people.

For example, if a business colleague is asking a guard why he’s walking around the building checking doors a better response would be, “I’m just doing my typical guard tour where I check the grounds for safety. Is there anything that I can help you with?”

4. “You need to be reasonable.”

This saying puts people on the defensive. It suggests to them that they’ve been unreasonable and that they need to change their behaviour. It’s a good way to escalate a conversation to an argument!

Champion National Shopping Mall Customers
 

5. “Calm down.”

Did you know one of the quickest ways to get people to NOT calm down is to tell them this? I kid, but it’s sort of true. When someone is upset and feeling like they have an issue, this phrase will make them feel like their not being understood and their feelings aren’t valid. It’s a quick way to get them defensive and more riled up.

For example, if a woman came to a security guard at a retail store upset because she didn’t get the refund she wanted, a better response would be to acknowledge her feelings and remind her of the best protocol she should take to file a complaint.

6. “That’s just how it is.”

This saying is a quick way to get a person defensive and make them feel like you aren’t listening to them. It also makes it look like the security guard either a) doesn’t care or b) doesn’t have any power to help. Even if those ARE the rules, there are better ways to communicate with a person to resolve a situation calmly and positively.

If a security guard is just following orders without really understanding why or listening to the clients, he’s less likely to make actual progress in finding out the root of the problem and resolving the situation.

Champion National Men Talking on a Bench 

7. “He’s a jerk.”

A good security guard (or any employee, really) should never be making disparaging remarks about other colleges or clients. It looks unprofessional. Even if it’s accurate, that means everyone knows it and it’s just rude to call it out. There will always be rude people you have to deal with at work (and unfortunately sometimes security guards deal with the worst of them!) but nothing is gained by broadcasting it to others. The better response would just be silence.

Conclusion

If you are concerned with your security guards or your own communication skills, don’t worry. Communication skills are not a talent people are born with - they are learned and cultivated. There are classes you could take, books you could read, or even online videos on communication you could watch in your free time. Like any skill, practice makes perfect!

Like this article? Then check out these posts on Business Security Tips for the New Year and Why Security Employment is Good for Everybody.

Business Security Tips for the New Year

Welcome to that time of year again! Time to start planning those New Year’s Resolutions. Should you be setting security goals for your business as a resolution? Do you need to tighten up vague protocols? Or fix gaps in your coverage?

Why even create resolutions for the upcoming year? Studies show that creating plan and being aware of your goals will help you obtain that valuable goal. By identifying important items and developing a strategy to implement them, you’re more likely to accomplish your goal. And if you're applying that to your business - that means added trust and protection.

Gain Security Job Experience for New Opportunities 

Should I set a Resolution?

Ever wonder why so many people set resolutions only to have them fizzle out a few weeks later? Well it could be simple biology. Self restraint is a rational desire which is often overruled by the survival instincts (like pleasure!) in the brain. However there are exercises you can implement to help that rational part of your brain stay in control and help the rational desire of self restraint. Here are three main tips:

1. Workout that Willpower!

Willpower is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. Give yourself small activities during the day to help strengthen your resolve. You could try holding a rubber ball as long as you can, or keeping your emotions in check during a sad movie. The key is to make the challenges small as too hard of an activity will cause you to fail and become discouraged.

2. Break up large changes into smaller chunks

Because willpower is a fragile muscle, it is easy to see a large challenge as too daunting and to give up before you even try. Psychologically, breaking it up into smaller chunks that are easier to obtain will give you the confidence boost to continue on the right path, and extend the length of time you devote to your goal. The most common example of this would be a resolution of ‘working out’. If you decide to ‘workout every day’, the first time you can’t make it to the gym you can get really discouraged and break down and forget your goals all together. However if you break the time up into smaller, more obtainable chunks, like ‘I’ll go to the gym at least twice this week” you’re more likely to hit your small goal - which makes you more motivated.

3. Reward Yourself

If you ever start to feel discouraged, take time to think back on how much you’ve accomplished! People tend to beat themselves up on tasks they haven’t finished and overlook all they’ve accomplished. Try writing down all the things you're proud of. Then you can reflect on that and remind yourself how much willpower you really have.

Communication Skills for Security Guards 

How to create a resolution

Now that you have a grasp on how to handle resolutions you can formulate a plan to up your security strategy for the new year. How are you going to know what type of security resolution will work best for your business?

Step 1: Identify current needs

The first step is to identify your current needs. Do you have a proper code of conduct for employees? Are there periodic audits in place to keep protocols current and make sure people are compliant? Do you have an emergency plan in case of fires, robberies, or natural disasters? Is your current location safe - doors, windows, parking lots?

Identifying your current needs will help you plan the appropriate strategy to implement in the upcoming year. Identify gaps in your current security services, make a note of any incidents that have happened, or check common industry/location problems to be aware of.

Step 2: Create Strategy

Now that you’ve identified your security needs, the next step is to find out which strategies can best handle them. For computer security, research the best security software for businesses in your industry. If you need to perform regular audits and shred sensitive materials, decide who will be responsible for that and create a regularly occurring plan. Create emergency plans and make sure all personnel have access to necessary information. Hire guards to keep grounds safe during office hours and outside office hours for sensitive/valuable materials.

Step 3: Implement Strategy / Find Assistance

Now that you’ve identified your strategy, it’s time to bring people on board and start implementing! Identify responsibilities, make sure everyone has the necessary resources, and plan a way to regularly communicate updates or issues that arise. For smaller businesses this may be better to hire an outside agency to monitor and track security services to alleviate the time on the owner and management.

Step 4: Monitor Program, Assess Results

Once you have your security services in place and implemented, continue to monitor and watch throughout the year. Remember to be flexible as your needs might change and incidents may arise. The most important aspect is that you’re staying aware of your progress and keeping your goal in mind. Your business will always improve with better security!

Who can help me with my resolution?

Having trouble coming up with a strategy? Luckily there are lots of resources that can help you. From business security magazines to strategic thinking partners, there are options out there to get you better informed about security possibilities. Try Security Magazine for online articles on security news and information, or try looking up security services companies in your area. Don’t forget to look at reviews! A good security partner will have industry knowledge, want to know the details about your business, and offer examples of successful security solutions they’ve witnessed. Check out our blog on hiring security services for your business.

Above all, stay positive and stay motivated. Your business will thrive and we want to help that happen.

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