Security leaders have been successful and continue their transformation to become an enabling and valuable part of their organizations.

With each study, case history and face-to-face meeting I have the opportunity to observe progress as the role and mission change from cost control to prevention and preservation of life. Security leaders are taking the initiative to break out of their silos and contribute to organizational goals.

The results have been encouraging. A recent Conference Board study shows that 61 percent of CEOs, CFOs and COOs agree that excellence in security is a big competitive advantage in the marketplace. Research published in our May issue, “CEO Report Card on Security,” identified that their view of security’s contribution is on the rise.

Visionary Programs

Beyond the walls of your enterprise, there is an additional trend being led by industry visionaries for the greater good of their communities. Visionaries, by the way, are those in our industry focused on “Future Security Programs” as identified by the Security Executive Council (www.csoexecutivecouncil.com).

An inspiring success story is emerging through the Safe Cityprogram ( www.mysafecity.com). As its Web site eloquently states, “Safe City is a community-based initiative thatleverages partnerships andtechnologyto help communities and businesses reduce crime and create an environment where people feel safe and secure. Through your commitment and effort,your city, neighborhood or business can implement aSafe City project.”

Started in downtown Minneapolis with a grant from Target Corporation, Safe City has been a success that has generated over 800 arrests. The backbone and strength of the Safe City program lies in a strong partnership with local law enforcement. A collaborative effort withcommunity organizations, businesses, property management andlaw enforcement, the teamwork plays a significant role in building and maintaining the Safe City Program.

Video surveillance is central to the program’s success. About two-thirds of those arrested plead guilty when shown the video vs. going to court. This saves the city over $10,000 in court costs per trial – and more than pays for the program.

The program also relies on “Safeness Ambassadors” who provide a visible, credible face to the Safe City program, letting the surrounding community know that a solid, diverse partnership is in place to improve and protect their neighborhood. And the program uses technology including radios, security video, emergency call boxes, e-mail and even considers environmental design that can impact security and safety.

A Win-Win Program

Target’s involvement is central to that enterprise’s goals of maintaining safe shopping environments, strong foot traffic and asset protection. Steve Persian is a process owner within the Assets Protection Safety Team for Target, Safe City’s national sponsor. Safe City Programs exist in 20 states and Target plans to be a strong partner for 20-30 new cities annually.

While there are numerous opportunities for security professionals and their organizations to contribute to society, Safe City is a worthy organization and one fine example of security’s greater good. Such partnerships are more important than ever and far greater resources are needed to address the magnitude of the threats we now face. Consider what your professional skills, resources and organizations might do for the greater good of your community.