Vigilance is defined as “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.”
Today there are a wide range of threats and emergency situations that owners of commercial and residential properties must be prepared for. These can include attacks from terrorists, cyber criminals, disgruntled employees, natural disasters, active shooters, vandals taking advantage of otherwise peaceful mass gatherings, and the list goes on.
For example, just a few days ago the news reported that three men were arrested in connection with an alleged attempt to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas.
The Department of Homeland Security recently met with The Real Estate Round Table to discuss escalating threats from international and “home-grown” terrorism, cyber attacks as well as other hazards.
We felt that it was our duty, as a security company, to bring attention to the situation as stated by the Department of Homeland Security.
“Real estate is one of the few critical infrastructure sectors that terrorists have attacked successfully. In today’s environment, with increased security at official government and military sites (as well as iconic structures), it is not surprising that terrorists and violent criminals may increasingly view civilian-centric “soft targets” — hotels, offices, shopping centers, train or metro stations and other public spaces — as primary targets.”
At GSI we feel it is important to be aware of the threats so we can be prepared. The Department of Homeland Security agrees and stated that there is a need to “maintain a vigilant posture” and be prepared for emergencies.
Being prepared also includes mitigating risks from incidents that do not specifically target buildings (as with the attempted car bombing in Times Square) – or emergency situations that are not labeled as “terrorism” (as with the Aurora, Co., movie theater massacre in 2012).
Incidents where buildings are not specifically targeted can still adversely impact property owners. There is a potential liability risk, the possibility of collateral damage and economic harm from shopper and tenant avoidance due to fear. Here are 15 steps property owners and management can take to help mitigate these risks.
15 Steps To Remain Vigilant
Make safety and security part of your culture & include everybody (staff, tenants, leadership etc.)
Train all staff on how to respond to different scenarios.
Develop relationships with public safety officials, including police, fire, and EMS.
Ensure proper procedures are in place for controlling access points.
Have a plan for responding to bomb threats.
Be mindful of suspicious activity, and make sure everyone understands the procedures for reporting it.
Be alert to suspicious mail indicators and make sure everyone knows what to do if they receive a suspicious letter or package.
Establish an emergency response plan.
Know what to do if an incident occurred and have a plan on how you would continue operations and services, such as being able to access important computer data and records off-site.
Consider security when establishing a policy for website or other online communications and be sure to address issues like whether to post event calendars, staff and event addresses, photographs and personal contact information for individuals.
Make sure that all technology, such as security cameras, are working properly.
Establish an information security plan to protect sensitive data.
A Security Site Assessment from a fresh set of eyes is beneficial even if you currently have a security program in place because getting an independent and objective look often uncovers areas that may be missed otherwise.
During the assessment we take an in-depth look at all aspects of your security program. We identify any critical security problems and weaknesses. Look for opportunities which may result in a reduction of cost and make security operations more efficient. We also provide suggestions for implementing the latest security measures and making other improvements.
We are happy to offer this because it is our desire to remain vigilant and help ensure the safety and security of our community.
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