Security Guards: Does the Bad Far Outweigh the Good?

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Hiring security guards has historically been one of the primary frontline defense methods of securing property, land, and all of the physical/critical assets housed within. That said, take a moment to really think about the pros and cons of hiring security guards. Ask yourself whether you’re willing to take on additional liability and risk when bringing one or several on board. You may soon find that the cost-to-benefits ratio of hiring and retaining security guards paints a grim picture. Let’s take a more comprehensive look at the good and the bad of hiring a security detail while considering the lower cost-to-benefits ratio of implementing a more technology driven initiative.



Mostly for show

Security guards offer an immediate visual indication that there is someone in the way of potential threats. Live deterrents such as guards can quickly discourage potential thieves and is the primary reason businesses hire them. A security guard can swiftly spring into action in the event of a break-in or when dealing with panhandlers, homeless individuals or unruly teenagers loitering about in your premises. A guard’s approach can be adaptable, flexible, and ultimately humane while still controlling the situation. For businesses that involve frequent, external transportation of valuable assets and/or money located in high risk areas and during post-business hours, security guards are able to escort clients to safety. Retail businesses can also benefit from the presence of security guards on a public relations level as it gives customers a sense of safety.



Human error

There is an alarming number of cases involving security guards passively monitoring premises or falling asleep while on duty; all caused by fatigue and inactivity. Inactivity can trigger drowsiness which can then result in guards falling asleep or becoming inattentive. One of the most infamous instances of this was at a U.S. based nuclear plant in 2007 when a security guard was found asleep on the job. Although it may be unfathomable to many that a security guard at a critical infrastructure such as a nuclear plant would doze off and put many lives at risk, this happens more often than not. See for yourself


High risk and costs

Not only is hiring and retaining security guards a drain on your operational budget, you also expose your business to liabilities and cost overruns from taking on additional insurance to cover any potential mishaps involving your security detail. With the advancements security technology has made over the years, the latest innovations in live video surveillance systems can replicate the advantages of security guards and deliver an exceptional level of protection at a fraction of the cost. These systems remove human error factors such as fatigue, inattentiveness, and sleeping while on duty. Surveillance cameras placed in highly visible, public spaces can present the same visual deterrent that a security guard provides without the salary requirements that comes with hiring specialized personnel.


Audio deterrent

Additionally, a live remote guard monitoring system will almost always be integrated with speakers that can be utilized as an audio deterrent which would alert potential burglars of the presence of a surveillance system monitoring their every move.


Always on and on the prowl

Remote guard and monitoring services offers a proactive solution to a common problem and come equipped with surveillance technology that proactively looks for irregularities and visual clues to alert monitoring stations. This constant and consistent stream of proactive alerts keep station professionals prepared to take urgent action. Simply put, they’re not waiting for something to happen; they’re continuously analyzing and reacting. These systems are supplemented with video analytics which can yield detailed reports that can provide you with valuable insights. Another important benefit of live remote guard solutions is video evidence. Without time-stamped and recorded video footage to corroborate accounts from your security guards and employees against the perpetrator, it can be incredibly difficult to uncover the details of the incident. With a comprehensive live monitoring system, you will have all of the evidence needed to protect your business from any liabilities.


Liability and insurance costs

Although workers compensation related liability and insurance requirements differ from state to state, generally, there will be laws that require you to carry additional coverage for possible incidents involving vendors and subcontractors. This means the hiring and retaining of security guards will expose you to greater liabilities. Due to the high-risk nature of a security guard’s job, the likelihood of incidents that involve personal injuries both to the perpetrator and the security guard will be higher. While security guards are given the jurisdiction to use reasonable force in the event of a physical altercation, this can be open to interpretation. Such use of force by a civilian security guard can result in assault charges filed by the opposing party. Not only that, should there be injuries sustained by either side, you will potentially be exposing yourself to litigious action from the injured. Such possible scenarios will be brought up by insurance agents which they will surely follow up with a sales pitch for an additional coverage package promising to mitigate all risks and liabilities.



Whether you want to hire security guards, establish a live remote monitoring system, or both, ultimately depends on your business needs and the schematic of your facility. Understand that there are more cost-effective options available that can optimize your security posture while minimizing risks. At California Commercial Security, we have been deploying innovative custom tailored security solutions for more than 15 years throughout California. Call us today for a free security evaluation! (800) 286-2555.