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Should Your Patrol Guards Be Armed?

Posted by Sandra B. on 6/15/2016
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According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a property crime in the United States occurs every 3.5 seconds and a robbery every 1.4 minutes. With staggering crime rates like these, it's no wonder there are more than one million security guards working throughout the country. Many businesses hire patrol guards to protect their property and to deter crime, but these companies often struggle with the decision to hire armed security guards or not.

Below is a look at several things your organization should consider when making this difficult decision.

Liability Consequences

The first thing to consider is the liability impact on your business. Your business is liable for the actions of the security guard, whether hiring in-house or using a security firm. If property is damaged or an innocent bystander is injured due to the actions of your security guard, your company may be held liable. This is true whether your patrol guards are armed or not, but a firearm can cause extensive injuries and even death, provoking an expensive liability lawsuit.

In addition, liability insurance typically is more expensive when your patrol guards are armed. It's best to contact your insurance agency to discuss these costs prior to making your final decision.

Level of Threat in Area

Since the liability consequences of hiring armed security guards are so high, you should take the time to investigate the actual threat level for your area. Search online or contact your local police department to find out what the crime rate is, not just for your city, but for your specific neighborhood. Find out what crimes are common in your area, and where and when these crimes occur.

If your business is located in a low-crime area, then hiring armed patrol guards may be an unnecessary expense. However, in high-crime areas, especially those with a high volume of armed robberies, companies should seriously should consider placing armed guards at their business.

Patrol Guard Costs

Most states require patrol guards to obtain specialized firearms training to carry a firearm while on duty. Due to these extra regulations, it often costs more to employ or hire armed security guards. This cost factor requires you to evaluate your organization's budget to determine if hiring armed guards is feasible. It's important to consider your return on investment and determine a security budget that meets the demands of your specific location.

Tips When Hiring an Armed Patrol Guard

If you do choose to hire armed patrol guards, you can do a few things to protect your organization and minimize your liability consequences, including:

  • Training: Although required by most states, you want to make sure your security guards complete all necessary training and follow all governmental regulations. Each guard should be trained in both security and firearm procedures.
  • Background checks: While not always required, you should perform a comprehensive background check on every patrol guard you hire. This includes a thorough criminal record check, as well as a mental health background check.
  • Monitoring: You can protect your business and your security guards by using a high-tech monitoring system. This system requires the guards to check in at various locations while on patrol, quickly alerting you of problems.

These added steps are a must when hiring armed security guards, but they also can be very beneficial when hiring unarmed guards. Deggy Corp is a leader when it comes to professional security guard monitoring solutions. Its monitoring equipment and software are affordable and easy to use, and it provides an added layer of protection for your property and your patrol guards.