Monday, February 25, 2013

Avoid Becoming a Victim with 3 Simple Tests


What do crooks look for? Why do burglars pick one house over another? What does a terrorist look for in a target? What do ordinary criminals and terrorists have in common for that matter?


Crooks and terrorists may not be so different after all. No matter how evil their intent, he (or she) must still select a target in order to carry out their plan. Robbery suspects first look for the loot before planning their heists. Burglars look for evidence that no one is home and terrorists want a big bang (literally) for their buck – high publicity.


One well-known bank robber is credited with the statement that he robbed banks because “that is where the money is.” A robber wants to gain something – that is the whole point of the crime. They want to make sure that the quick win is on hand. Many are feeding drug habits, gambling addiction or alcohol. With these kinds of cravings or obsessions, there is no time to waste. They are looking for something of value that can be turned around quickly for cash or traded for drugs.


1.      Value – The goal is some kind of gain or value. For a terrorist, the value may be high publicity, such as a famous building or critical infrastructure or large number of potential victims. For crooks, it may just be something worth stealing.

Favorite targets of robbers are convenience stores and taxi drivers. It is not too hard to figure out why – both are easy to find and convenient to the crook. In fact, two recent suspects in Denver have called the taxis to their location in order to rob the driver. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that – the victim comes to the crook. These are examples of highly visible targets. Terrorists like visibility too, but in a slightly different way. They want a target that will generate a lot of publicity and garner their group the visibility and attention. Blowing up a bomb in the middle of the desert will not get that attention, as compared to blowing up a crowded nightclub or embassy.


2.     Visible – The target must be visible; crooks have to know it is there and an attack must generate the kind of visibility a terrorist wants. Schools, landmarks or crowded venues will offer that kind of media attention and visibility.

Of course, the crook must be able to achieve their nefarious goal or at least have a hope of it. The famous gold depository at Fort Knox would be an example of something that is highly visible, of high value, but with little chance of success. A terrorist might love to steal a missile from the military, but the chances of getting to it are nil. There is virtually no vulnerability.


3.     Vulnerable – The victim must be susceptible to attack to be a worthwhile target. That is why burglars look for homes with unlocked doors or muggers wait for victims in areas of poor lighting. There is easy access and the element of surprise to help the attacker. Terrorists also need targets that are open to attack. On 9-11, it was relatively easy for terrorists to hijack planes and fly them into the WTC. Today, many of the vulnerabilities that the terrorists exploited have been eliminated.


As an individual or responsible for protecting your business, keep the 3 V’s in mind – Value, Visible and Vulnerable. Evaluate the value that criminals may see in your business. Maintain low visibility when possible to minimize the chance of becoming a target. Last, use appropriate steps to reduce your risk or vulnerability to avoid being a victim.


Eric Smith, CPP is the leading authority on organizational self-defense.  He has extensive experience in law enforcement as well as security management.  Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces.  To learn more email eric@businesskarate.com.

 

 

If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at eric@businesskarate.com. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Hidden Risk Menacing Businesses


Often, we know the risks facing us. That piece of cake tempting you is full of calories, posing a risk to your weight. Those French fries put your cholesterol at risk. Even at work, we do, or should, recognize various risks – lights out in the parking garage, for example, put employees at risk when they leave after dark.


However, there are those hidden threats that may not ever cross our minds and yet, are no less dangerous or damaging.


The World Economic Forum has released their annual report on global risks. The report looks at various challenges facing society around the world. Some examples have been concerns about water shortages, famine, price collapse, weather, political instability and severe storms. The last two years, the report highlights the threat of economic disparity, leading to social unrest, or dystopia (as in the opposite of utopia).


It is not hard to imagine. There have been riots in countries like Greece, based on economic fears. Adding to the fuel are the constant media reports mentioning the “one-percent” or the wealthiest 1% of the world’s population.
Greek riots - news photo


Throughout history, revolutions have often been based on exactly that kind of wealth imbalance. The French Revolution of the 18th Century is a classic example. There has been a breaking point, in which people oppressed have enough and step up to throw off the yoke and change their governments. Even the American Revolution was sparked by higher taxes to pay for benefits of a government far away.


What does this mean for businesses? If employees feel like they are being left behind, financially, with no raises or decreasing benefits, then there is the real risk of employee dissatisfaction and resentment. Especially if the company is growing or profitable and is not rewarding employees. Various news articles have shown that recent corporate profits, as a percentage of GDP have grown, while wages have stagnated.


This translates into poor morale and decrease in productivity and even elevates the risk of internal theft by some. There is a maxim amongst loss prevention professionals that 10% of people will never steal, 10% will always try to steal and 80% can be swayed either way. Employees who are frustrated with their company are more likely to use that as another way to justify dishonest behavior. That increases the risk that at least some of those employees in the 80% group will embezzle, cheat, steal or just chase away customers.
Aftermath of Greek riots - news photo


Depending on your business, there are lots of ways employees can sabotage you, whether intentionally or not. Poor customer service and poor quality control are some examples. Productivity may drop if employees no longer strive as hard. Employees may even be more prone to ‘sweetheart’ deals and give away product, even to strangers if they are not happy at work, such as giving away coffee at convenience stores.


Business leaders need to pay attention to the potential unrest and make rewarding employees a top priority when the company is successful. If not, you could send a message as Marie Antoinette did when she famously declared, “Let them eat cake” when told her citizens had no food to eat. And we know how that ended – at the guillotine!

 

Eric Smith, CPP is the leading authority on organizational self-defense.  He has extensive experience in law enforcement as well as security management.  Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces.  To learn more email eric@businesskarate.com.

 

 

If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at eric@businesskarate.com.