15 Steps to Help You Stay Safe in a Crazy World

vigilant security

Vigilance is defined as “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.”

Today, owners of commercial and residential properties must prepare for a wide range of threats and emergencies. These include damage from severe weather and natural disasters, as well as attacks from terrorists, cybercriminals, disgruntled employees, active shooters, vandals taking advantage of otherwise peaceful mass gatherings – and the list goes on.

Just a few days ago, Kansas police arrested three men in connection with an alleged attempt to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City.

The Department of Homeland Security recently met with The Real Estate Round Table to discuss escalating threats from international and “homegrown” terrorism, cyber-attacks, and other hazards. As a security company, we felt it was our duty to bring the situation to our community’s attention.

“Real estate is one of the few critical infrastructure sectors that terrorists have attacked successfully,” the Department stated. “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 crucial to raise awareness of these threats. The Department of Homeland Security agrees, saying there is a need to “maintain a vigilant posture” in anticipation of emergencies. Being prepared also includes mitigating risks from incidents that do not specifically target buildings such as the attempted car bombing in Times Square or emergencies that are not defined as “terrorism” like the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre in 2012.

Incidents that don’t explicitly target buildings can still adversely impact property owners through potential liability risk, collateral damage, and economic harm from shopper and tenant avoidance due to fear. Here are 15 steps property owners and managers can take to help mitigate these risks.

15 Steps to Remain Vigilant

  1. Make safety and security a fundamental part of your culture and include everybody in the process – e.g., staff, tenants, leaders, etc.
  2. Regularly and comprehensively assess your security and update your plans as needed.
  3. Run frequent safety and security exercises.
  4. Train all staff on how to respond to different emergency scenarios.
  5. Develop relationships with public safety officials, including police, firefighters, and EMS.
  6. Ensure proper procedures are in place for controlling access points.
  7. Formulate a plan for responding to bomb threats.
  8. Be mindful of suspicious activity, and make sure everyone understands how to report it.
  9. Be aware of suspicious mail indicators and make sure everyone knows what to do if they receive a dubious letter or package.
  10. Establish an emergency response plan.
  11. Have a plan for how you will continue operations and services if an incident occurs, such as being able to access essential computer data and records off-site.
  12. Consider security when establishing a policy for online communications. Assess whether or not to publicly post things like event calendars, photographs, and personal contact information.
  13. Make sure all on-site technology is working correctly – e.g., security cameras.
  14. Establish an information security plan to protect sensitive data.
  15. Ensure the security of your facility is properly maintained.

Security Site Assessment

In response to these escalating threats, we are offering Free Security Site Assessment.

A security site assessment will be beneficial even if you currently have a security program in place. A fresh, independent, and objective view may uncover previously overlooked issues.

During our assessment, we examine all aspects of your security program in depth. We identify any critical security weaknesses and look for opportunities to both reduce costs and boost operational efficiency. Where necessary, we will suggest updated security measures and other improvements.

We are offering this to our community to help ensure your safety and security in these trying times.