Perception and Reality in Public Spaces and Retail
The Openness Challenge
It is crucial to remember perception of safety as equally important to the reality of safety. We know, for instance, crime has generally decreased for the past ten years and yet at the same time fear of crime has drastically increased. This cannot be ignored in planning responses to fear as well as actual crimes. The security official must recognize that his or her job is to impart a feeling of safety as well as to actually provide as safe an environment as possible. This requires the use of another indispensable tool not usually discussed in the security world: customer service.
A Total Master Plan is Needed
This special report as well as the roundtable, which brought together end-users and systems integrators, delves into many of these components and can help us all think more creatively and clearly about what might work. But never forget an overriding need to remember all these components require close coordination and seamless application to arrive at good security, however we define it, properly applied to the public spaces into which we invite people to enjoy themselves.
SIDEBAR: Additional Resources
These professional organizations cover ongoing and emerging issues of interest to people protecting retail, restaurants, public spaces, lobbies and plazas. The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Security Industry Association also are involved.
One essential concern is workplace violence.
And these organizations are responding.
For example, as a part of its efforts to educate and protect retail customers, merchandise and employees, the National Retail Federation’s loss prevention team partnered with the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create emergency response protocols for retailers to react, respond, and recover from active shooter incidents. While these types of incidents are infrequent, their effects are devastating.
“It is imperative that retailers, regardless of the type of store or size of the company, remain vigilant and aware of dangers,” said Joe LaRocca, NRF vice president loss prevention. “Retailers and malls should be planning for life-threatening incidents to occur at their stores, educating employees on how to handle the situation, and working with law enforcement on a consistent approach to quickly address a situation if it arises.”
The guide serves to educate companies about active shooters, which have become a serious threat in recent years. Basic guidelines for how to analyze the situation and react accordingly are outlined in a way that serves all types of retailers regardless of size.