In 40 different countries, there are more private security guards than there are public police officers. This disparity is most striking in India, where there are 7 million security guards and only 1.4 million police officers. Security guards, though, are only one portion of private security services. The reasons for the increase in the use of private security services include new technology that enhances the ability to provide surveillance and communication, increased economic activity as well as the perception of greater threats of danger and terrorism.
To find out more about the rapid growth occurring in the private security services sector, we spoke to Jay Hart. Hart is the CEO of Gold Shield Industries, a private security firm. He had the foresight to develop a highly popular notification system called MCAlert.Net that can send out simultaneous text messages and emails within minutes to all of the residents of gated communities. Hart has expanded the offering of his alert system to universities, businesses and small towns. The system is being implemented throughout the country in areas where 30,000 people or fewer need to receive quick notification of security and safety issues in their communities.
The reasons for the increased use of private security services include:
Increased Economic Activity
A key in the rapid growth of the private security services market is the massive expansion of nonresidential construction as well as from some signs of recovery in residential development and business spending. Also, many firms are building renovations. These types of activities tend to coincide with businesses finding a need to expand their current security spending.
Increased Adoption of Alarm and Video Monitoring Services
There is a higher demand for video surveillance and alarm monitoring. The latter service is on the rise in part due to the aforementioned nonresidential construction expansion. Another reason for the increased demand for video surveillance and alarm monitoring is that there have been incredible improvements in the technology that have coincided with reductions in cost.
Hart explains that there also is an increased demand for personal emergency response systems (PERS) because an aging population desires to stay in their own homes as opposed to moving into an assisted living facility. PERS systems allow the wearers to notify a security detail in a centralized location that they need assistance. The security guards then inform the proper authorities to assist their client, such as calling for an ambulance or notifying the police of a break-in.
Increased Use of Drones and Robots
The security services field is embracing drones as a means of better monitoring large crowds at public events, such as sporting events and concerts. It aids the work of the security forces on the ground to have a bird’s eye view of the event to prevent violence and other incidents related to crowd discontent.
Manned Guarding Services Remain Dominant
The largest sector in the private security services industry remains guarding services. Despite all of the new technology that can be brought to bear to monitor equipment and environments, the reality remains that guards can immediately act in a manner to diffuse or mitigate adverse events, such as theft, equipment malfunction and resultant damage or unauthorized access. There will be more of a move towards guards having exceptional training in technology that allows them to work in tandem with video surveillance and alarm monitoring systems as well as with the Internet of Things technology. There is also greater use of private guard services at hospitals, schools, and government buildings as opposed to these facilities using in-house security.
Increased Use of Security Services in Developing Nations
Companies who have moved their manufacturing plants to countries such as India, China, Indonesia, and Brazil realize that their commercial operations need private security services because the use of the police has a time lag and is not always the best matter of course. The deterrence factor alone of a security presence onsite helps to provide savings for itself. Also, private security services tend to pay for themselves in terms of less theft, less corporate espionage and a reduced number of incidents that may have a cost in either physical damage to the assets, worker injury claims or loss of production time. There is usually an insurance saving as well for companies that hire private security services, not to mention the tax write-off.
The Disparity of Wealth and the Rise of Gated Communities
In many countries around the world, the trend is for Wealth to be increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer. It has led to the rise of gated communities that require private security services to maintain the safety of the inhabitants. There are also community enclaves for the wealthy that, while not gated, pitch in together and contract with private security services to patrol their communities. Some of the security personnel are armed, and some are unarmed.
As Jay Hart explains, in these very uncertain times, schools, businesses, and small residential communities are finding that the improved technology, deterrence factor and cost savings of hiring private security services are worth their peace of mind.