Commercial real estate companies have a long history of utilizing security systems and services to protect their buildings.
But for security programs to be able to protect a high-rise facility from manmade threats, they must be able to deter, detect, and prevent potential threat elements from carrying out acts of violence.
By its very nature – and by definition – security must be proactive. Surveillance cameras, access control systems, security guards, and biometrics sometimes aren’t enough.
From state law enforcement to in-house security and contract/guard force management companies, there is a live, dynamic movement across the United States to redesign existing security strategies.
This movement is an attempt to incorporate more effective, proactive security programs.
You can call it “behavior detection and assessment,” “behavior pattern recognition,” “security profiling,” or a variety of other terms. But what is it, and how can it benefit a high-rise facility?
Two factors create manmade threats: means (weapons) and intent.
A person with access to weapons, but without malicious intent, isn’t a threat. Neither is the person with malicious intent, but no access to weapons (think of an inmate). It’s the combination of these factors that creates the threat.
When you think about the World Trade Center bombings, Columbine, or the shooting in the Aurora, CO, movie theater, you’ll notice that they happened at different locations, and were conducted by different perpetrators with different motives using different weaponry and attack methods. The only common element between acts of violence or manmade threats is intent.
People planning to commit violent acts – consciously or subconsciously – show indicators or “traces” that expose them to possible detection.
[pullquote]By stopping someone and asking them a series of simple questions, such as, “How are you today?” or “Where are you headed?” or “Can I help you with anything?” a trained employee can cause the individual to stop long enough to allow the employee pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues often displayed in stressful situations.[/pullquote]
Traditional methods for attempting to discover aggressors’ plans, especially in the United States, have focused on detecting weapons. This focus has often been unsuccessful in detecting and preventing terrorists, as illustrated by 9/11, Richard Reid (“shoe bomber”), and Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab (“underwear bomber”).
Focusing on intent vs. weapons is the groundwork of behavior detection, which enables trained personnel to identify behavioral traces that are consistent with dangerous objectives.
This focus enables a building’s security program to be more proactive by identifying suspicion indicators, which increases security operations’ ability to prevent acts of violence targeting their buildings.
But suspicious doesn’t necessarily mean guilty … so what do you do? You train your staff to pay attention and ask questions.
Security interviewing is an effective method of asking questions in a polite, professional, and methodical manner. The verbal answers, along with interviewee’s nonverbal responses, allow staff to corroborate information and determine whether there is a threat possibility.
The questions asked by staff don’t have to be difficult or unusual. By stopping someone and asking them a series of simple questions, such as, “How are you today?” or “Where are you headed?” or “Can I help you with anything?” a trained employee can cause the individual to stop long enough to allow the employee to pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues often displayed in stressful situations.
Why Behavior Detection?
The reasons for implementing a behavior detection program at a high-rise facility can be categorized as operational, strategic, and financial.
From an operational standpoint, a behavior detection and assessment program can create an effective deterrence, allowing for detection of perpetrators and supporting the prevention of acts of violence … which translates into financial savings.
Several institutions that have implemented these types of security programs have reduced monthly insurance premiums.
Insurance providers recognize that implementing these programs can significantly enhance the capability of the security department, and reduce the risk for manmade threats taking place at the insured environment.
Additionally, high-rise facilities that adopt effective security programs will enhance overall brand reputation.
Strategically, behavior detection programs create a dynamic, professional, and motivated security team.
It’s the core mission of any security entity to protect. When they’re trained in behavior detection, security officers and even non-security team members feel empowered and truly capable of identifying and intercepting perpetrators.
Over time, this investment can guarantee high levels of morale and job dedication.
Originally published February 21, 2013