Mass Shootings Risks

 In Blog Postings, Case Study, Education, Healthcare Security, Hospitality, Places of Worship, Retail Security-Loss Prevention, Transportation, Uncategorized

With the ongoing crisis where we have mass shootings at businesses and other places, one might ask what can be done about it. Some will blame the guns, others will be quick to claim racism before they even know who was involved, and yet we need to be looking at both the root cause, and ways to prevent these tragedies. To steer clear of any commentary involving guns and race, just how can we be safe in our daily travels?

Look, it seems to be a fact of life that an active shooter incident where there is a mass shooting is likely to occur somewhere in the United States. That is not to say that I am inferring that we have to get used to it, what I am saying is what can we do to be safe?

Each time there is an incident of a mass shooting, politicians and the news media started pointing blame, and yet they really do not have a clue as to how to prevent the shootings. Their solution is more laws, yet we have more than enough laws on the books already, and we also know many of them are not being enforced and violators are not being prosecuted. Thus, this problem will not go away due to the fact that there are no consequences for the actions of the criminals in our country.

Considering that we have a broken criminal justice system, and many low-level criminal acts go unaddressed and/or unpunished, as a result we have social unrest at all levels across the country. From the shoplifters that walk into a business and steal as much as they can without being stopped, or the predominating young men that go around shooting at people that disrespected them and anyone that gets in the way, it does not take anything more to confirm that chaos will ensue. So just what should we as business owners do to prevent this from happening at our property?

The police are not always the answer!  The fact is that most police departments in the country are having a recruiting issue or have had to cut back on services due to police staffing shortages, so in many cases a business may be on their own to come up with a solution. I will give you a moment to let that sink in, because that is the reality folks.

Risk Mitigation for Active Shooter Incidents

When it comes to mitigation one of the main things that we need to consider is prevention. That is not to say that that is the answer, yet it is the goal and how we get there depends on what we do today.

Some businesses are higher risk than others, due to the type of business or their location, but when we are talking about mass shootings it all seems to come down to the fact that someone hell bent on killing as many as they can before it is over, they will likely consider businesses that have a large number of people in them.

We have seen this before at grocery stores, big-box stores, concert venues, schools, and so on. Each one of these places can be consider a soft target to some extent, basically meaning that a person or thing that is relatively unprotected or vulnerable, [1] or “Soft” targets are facilities and locations that are difficult to secure and which are either used by the public in large numbers or have the potential to have a widespread adverse impact on large numbers of people if they are destroyed or disabled. [2]

As far as schools are concerned, over the last 10-20 years they have gone to great lengths to secure their facilities and manage their visitors, yet the shootings still happen, why? If they hardened their facility, how is it that the increased security did not work? It comes down to the people and processes. By that I am referring to how staff and others use the physical and technical security systems, and how they manage them. We know from the news reports that the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas had an exterior door that was not secured, and the shooter entered through that door. First thing we need to ask ourselves, why was that door not secure? Again, as news reports stated, the door was not functioning properly and would not secure, but why? How long was staff aware of that, and why did it not get fixed? The issue is one of the people (staff) not fixing the door, and the process was not that anyone took immediate actions to correct it when discovered. Would the shooter have walked away if he found the door locked, maybe briefly, but his intent would have probably not been deterred at that point.

Businesses like big box stores have a much bigger issue as far as securing their stores. Imagine if you will that your local big box store required metal detectors at the entrances, do you think that that would work?  Not likely, and I could just about guarantee you that before long the processes would be broke, and the weapons screening would be ineffective.

Venues such as concert halls, stadiums, dance halls, and many other indoor or outdoor facilities that often have a large number of people in attendance can be secured better. Although some already utilize security metal detectors for screening, I can pretty much guarantee you that there are vulnerabilities with the screening processes. To determine what those vulnerabilities are, and what risks that they present for your organization, you need to conduct a security risk assessment.

Security Risk Assessment for Preventing Mass Shootings

A security risk assessment that is conducted by a qualified security expert that is unbiased is crucial with regards to your risk reduction strategies. Basically, unless you are a security expert you need to retain the services of someone that is qualified. To put this into perspective, would you hire some stranger that has never built a structure to come in and build you a home? Would you hire a friend that is not an electrician to come in and wire your building? I think not, so why hire someone that is not an expert to give you an unbiased assessment of what your security risks and vulnerabilities are? Believe me when I say there are plenty of business owners that have hired non-qualified “security experts” to come in and pretend to know what they are doing. Like I said, I know it happens and I have had to come in and fix the numerous mistakes that they made.

We are talking about your personal and business assets that may be at risk in the event of an active shooter. Take for example the recent shooting at a dance hall in California, in the aftermath of that incident the news media interviewed a lady who stated that she will never go back to that dance hall again. It is fairly certain that that will be the reaction of a lot of people. We know this because it is often the reaction and as a result some businesses do not survive.

A security expert can help you by conducting a thorough assessment of your facilities, policies, processes, and operations as they relate to safety and security. You may not agree with some of their recommendations, but then again they are the experts that you retained so why would you not accept their findings and recommendations? If by chance you decide to not follow their recommendations, I would suggest that you document your reasons. If not, and if something were to happen later and it is discovered that you had a security expert come in and conduct an assessment, your liability exposure may be substantially increased.

In closing, the main point of this is that if you do not know your risks and vulnerabilities, or do not know how to mitigate your risks, why not seek the assistance of a security expert that can help you? Remember this, your life, and the lives of people that enter your business, may be on the line, thus it is advisable to get the help of an unbiased professional security expert to give you a plan on how to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved.

[1] Oxford Dictionary


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