The 12 Crimes of Christmas

While most of us are getting ready for Christmas, there are those lacking the holiday spirit. With the added stress of the holidays, the parties, and shopping online or in the mall, there is a lot more opportunity for crooks to ply their trade. During the season, there are several crimes in particular that everyone should be on the alert for and take some extra measures to protect against.

1.     Robbery

With all the activity, shopping malls and parking lots can become a feeding ground for someone looking to steal from others. Shoppers with their arms full of bags and packages can easily become a target for a robbery. Suspects can lurk about undetected in busy crowds or unseen by distracted passers-by. A quick grab of a victim's packages and a run to a waiting car is all that is needed for this kind of strong arm robbery. A suspect using a gun or other weapon makes it more dangerous.

               Tip - Avoid overloading yourself with packages and walking alone through parking lots. Be alert to anyone sitting in cars in the parking lot or loitering about watching shoppers. Don't try to fight an armed suspect for property - only if your life is in danger. Don't forget the risks at ATMs.

2.     Identity theft

Christmas season is a great opportunity for identity thieves. Hiding in the crowds, it becomes easier to get passwords as people shop online at Wi-Fi spots or even use a cellphone to take a photo of a credit card to use the number online.

               Tip - Be wary of people using cellphones around you in lines or at Wi-Fi locations. Instead of texting they could be videotaping your card number, account user name and passwords. Check your credit card accounts for accuracy and report any suspicious activity right away. Same with bank accounts. If suspicious activity is reported right away, your loss is limited, generally to $50. Stay away from debit cards as a suspect can drain your account before you find out and then you have to work with the bank to even get your money back so the potential loss is greater, at least at first.

               Beware – most identity thefts occur by people we know – roommates, friends and relatives. These are the people in our homes who have easy access to credit cards and other ID information.

3.     Theft

Just as with robberies, it is easy to get distracted and leave items unattended or at least not closely watched. Where force or threats are used in robberies, thefts involve stealing something without the confrontation. Leaving a purse or package in a shopping cart and walking a short distance away is another example.

               TIP - Do not leave items unattended - ever!

               Did you know? The most commonly stolen items anymore are smartphones and tablets, such as iPads and iPhones. Keep a close eye on those electronic items.

4.    Phishing

With all the shopping including online, it is easy for crooks to send out blanket emails to potential victims, pretending to come from well-known online stores. An unsuspecting victim could respond to a believable email and respond to a convincing request to confirm account details. In short order, the suspect has the victims account details and can quickly get online to do their own shopping - at your expense.

               Tip - Even if an email appears to come from an account or online merchant that you have used, be wary that the email actually comes from the store. Check the link included in the email by hovering the mouse over the link. If the links do not match or do not appear to be from the vendor, do not click on it. Better to search for a phone number and contact the vendor directly to check for any problems.

5.     Burglary

This time of year there are a lot of reasons to be away from home. Christmas parties, work parties, family gatherings and shopping, not to mention vacations, keep us away from home more often than normal. But Christmas gifts probably sit under the tree, right by a front window, as part of the decorations. Burglars know this and are looking for signs that no one is home to break in and help themselves to your valuables.

               Tip – When leaving, be sure to set timers to turn on lights and keep gifts and other potential items of interest out of the view from windows. If you have Christmas lights, make sure that they come on even when you are not at home to give the appearance that someone is there. Nothing is more inviting to a burglar than a dark house and decorations turned off. Don’t let mail or newspapers pile up if you are out of town and have a neighbor shovel snow and even park in your driveway to give the appearance someone is home.

               The # 1 way burglars break into a home is through unlocked doors and windows – lock up before leaving!

6.    Vehicle trespass (car break-ins)

When running errands or picking up gifts, it is easy to make multiple stops and leave gifts in the car while inside another store. Crooks love window shopping too and will definitely look for items to steal.

               Tip – Keep valuables out of sight and in the trunk of your car. Try to time your stops so that little will be left in the car at any one time.

7.     Car jacking

Instead of a sleigh full of goodies, some crooks will look for a car loaded down with gifts.

               Tip – Keep valuables out of sight, in the trunk of your car and keep your doors locked. Always watch for anyone lurking about as you walk to and from your car and pay attention to any cars following you – yes, it does happen so if in doubt drive a few extra blocks to be certain no one follows you.

8.    Credit card fraud

Crooks get credit card information in many different ways. Going through the trash is one very low tech way. Meth addicts have been known to use their extra hours awake to reassemble shredded documents for ID theft, including all the mail with the credit card offers. A high tech way to get credit card info is to use skimmers, small devices that record account information. Make sure that card readers at gas stations or other locations work normally and if there is a problem, look for any unusual devices on the reader itself. Crooks sometimes put their own skimmers on and can be very hard to detect.

               Tip – As with other forms of ID theft, keep a close eye on all accounts. Ideally, never let the card out of your site. Even wait staff at a restaurant could keep a skimmer in their pocket to record your credit information.

9.    Family violence

This time of year we think of spending it with our families. Sometimes, that includes the crazy uncle or eccentric aunt. It can also mean violence from others you are around. The added stress of the holidays can contribute, especially if someone has a history of violence.

               Tip – If you have any concerns about others at parties or other gatherings, let family members you trust know beforehand. Limit alcohol and if someone does become threatening or violent, ask them to leave or even call police if necessary.

10. DUI

Speaking of alcohol, there is certainly a bit more this time of year with eggnog and holiday drinks and holiday parties. 

               Tip – When driving, watch the cars around you and keep your distance from cars weaving or driving erratically. When starting from a red light, check to make sure no one is running the light in the cross traffic.

11.  Road rage

 The stress of the holiday can really show itself on the highways as people are rushing back and forth and that can lead to some anger management issues behind the wheel.

               Tip – Do not get into pointless arguments on the road. If someone is flipping you off, ignore it and keep driving. Let aggressive tailgaters pass and if you are being followed, head to a crowded, public location, such as a busy grocery store. Use your cellphone to call police and pay attention to where you are and what street you are on.

12.  Vehicle theft

Our cars are one of our biggest and most valuable assets and we take them everywhere. And they could be a crook’s getaway car or a way to get extra spending money at your expense.
               Tip – Never, ever leave a car running unattended or with your kids inside to run a quick errand or warm up the car. Don’t leave the keys in the car. Park in well-lit areas; avoid isolated parking.

Seasons Greetings
From Business Karate

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



If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at 

7 Myths of Carrying a Concealed Gun

How many movie characters have been facing imminent death only to pull some large handgun from a previously hidden location in a quick draw to shoot their way to freedom? It seems that in almost every action movie the characters easily carry their concealed artillery in perfect comfort and with ease. Even when running, jumping, climbing or whatever action they have to face.

The reality is often much different. Carrying a concealed weapon can be a challenge in many ways. There are a number of different considerations and concerns when carrying concealed and comfort is certainly one of those. If you do or are thinking of carrying concealed, then be sure to do a reality check and not fall for some of the many myths regarding the carrying of a concealed weapon.

Myth # 1 – It’s cool to carry concealed so I should let others know I have it or it’s my right, I don’t have to keep it concealed.

If you are going to carry concealed, there is one key word - concealed. Your gun should be hidden and no one else should know that you are carrying a gun. It is not macho or cool to let others see it. Some gun owners feel strongly that open carry (not concealed) is a good way to go. This takes away the tactical advantage of surprise if you are attacked. More important is that it tends to be disruptive and upsets others around you. This is not the way to express your views on gun control, nor maintain the peace. Be sure to keep the gun concealed - completely. It should not print (show the outline through clothes). It should not create a bulge under your clothes and should not change during normal movement. Keep it concealed and keep it too yourself.

Myth # 2 – Carry the most powerful handgun you can. After all, that is what you would want in a gunfight.

If I knew I was going into a gunfight, I’d actually choose to wear a bullet-proof vest and have a long gun instead. Better yet, I’d avoid the whole situation. In reality, the gun should be as comfortable as possible. Trust me, you will notice it is there and it will take getting used. But it should be at least somewhat comfortable or you will not ever carry it. There is an old saying that a .22 on you is better than a .45 at home in a drawer. The real challenge here is finding a comfortable way to carry your gun. Good, quality holsters are expensive so it does not make it easy to test different ways to carry. Talk to other gun owners, read online reviews and ask at gun shows or gun stores. Everyone will have a different opinion; try to find the option that will most work best for you.

Myth # 3 – You dress in the way that best keeps your gun concealed.

If you like wearing odd-looking vests or baggy shirts that method may work for you. Of course, the clothes that you wear will have a huge impact on how you carry. If you normally wear a dress shirt and tie, then an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster will not work for you. To keep those concealed, your shirt needs to be un-tucked. Some male gun owners proudly pronounce that they dress in whatever way keeps the gun concealed, no matter how out of style or baggy the clothes are. I’m guessing that many of these are not married, at least not to a woman with any sense of style. It is better to fit the way you carry to your personal style and you may need several ways. Sometimes, you may be wearing a dress shirt and tie without a jacket so the IWB will not work and others an un-tucked t-shirt with jeans allowing a gun in a belt holster. The gun and holster need to fit you and your style or you will end up leaving it at home. 

 Myth # 4 – You have to be able to draw quickly from a concealed holster.

If you are attacked, you will certainly want to get your gun into action as quickly as possible. The reality is though, that you will be most likely reacting to an attack and already behind the curve. Concealment also means a trade off in speed. As a police officer, with a standard duty belt and holster, I could always draw much quicker than I could with any concealed carry mode. Even with a good IWB holster under a vest, the gun will be pushed in closer to your body making the initial grip a little harder to get when you start the draw. A better approach is to remain alert to what is going on around you and identify potential threats early and taking action to avoid trouble or even getting in a better defensive position before you have to try and ‘outdraw’ an attacker, possibly one with a gun or knife already out and threatening you.

Myth # 5 – Always carry your gun, everywhere. You never know when you could be attacked.

It is true that an attack could come at any time, no matter where you are. We’ve seen shooters at schools, churches, malls, hospitals, museums and so on. Nowhere could be considered a safe haven. However, there are other considerations. Some places have strict rules that do not allow concealed carry even with a permit. Schools, some private property, many work locations, many government buildings are key examples. If you are carrying a handgun, you are married to that handgun. I strongly oppose leaving it in a car where it can be easily stolen in a break-in. You could scoff at the rules and carry anyway. In that case, you must consider the risks of being involved in a deadly attack with the legal ramifications. You could do nothing wrong and happen to match the description of a suspect or otherwise come to police attention and end up being searched. If you are in violation of the state law, you will lose your permit and be charged with a crime. Plan ahead and decide whether or not it would be appropriate to carry or not. Ultimately, only you can make that decision.

Myth # 6 –You don’t need a holster. You can tuck the gun behind your belt or in your pocket.

That may look good on TV, but in reality is a dangerous and bad idea. There are many cases of someone accidentally shooting themselves when pulling out change or otherwise carrying a gun in a dangerous position. Always use a good holster. It will help prevent accidents and keep the gun more secure. Imagine the problems and potential embarrassment of having your gun fall out of your belt onto the floor in a restaurant or other public location. If you are not used to carrying, be prepared to learn how to do things differently. Some chairs with narrow armrests can actually dislodge your gun, even if holstered and knock it loose, so practice your carry method and get used to how the gun / holster work in different positions. I had a back-up gun in a vest holster as a police officer and was bending over to do some crime scene work and it slipped out and was loose under my uniform shirt. I had to try and adjust it as discreetly as possible as I did not want to advertise the fact that I carried a 2nd gun that way as the victim / complainant in that case was a registered sex offender.

Myth # 7 – With a concealed carry permit, the police will always see you as the ‘good’ guy.

When some people carry concealed, they may feel more emboldened to get into confrontations or situations that they would normally avoid. Sometimes, they may believe that since they went through the background process, police will see them as a ‘good’ guy. In general, police do support gun rights and in some surveys, large percentages support CCW laws for private citizens. However, any shooting will be closely investigated and reviewed. Courts will often look at options a gun owner might have had to end or escape from a dangerous situation before resorting to deadly force.

               Carrying a concealed gun is a fundamental right and vital as part of a self-protection plan. However, with this right comes responsibility and it is important to understand some of the misconceptions and different opinions on how to carry, when to carry and more importantly, when and how to use it to protect yourself and your loved ones. Be sure to separate the bad information and myths from reality when making that decision – and stay safe!


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


If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at 

Winning IS Everything


If you’ve ever played any sports or have kids who play sports, then you’ve heard the saying “winning isn’t everything.”  You’ve probably also noticed that it is usually said by the losing team.

That philosophy is fine when talking about school sports – losing is part of playing and part of learning sportsmanship.

There are times, though, when winning is everything.  Survival is one, whether it is in a literal sense, such as self-defense, or perhaps in a more ‘figurative’ sense, for example, keeping your livelihood alive – helping your business thrive.

There is no magic formula that will guarantee a win, but following these five steps will get you there 90% of the time.

  1. Determination – A lackadaisical attitude is a certain path to failure.  Whether dealing with management issues, fighting for self-defense or sports, attitude and mindset will drive the winner forward.  If you are not determined to succeed, you won't.  The Olympics are a great example.  Two top athletes will dedicate their lives to the sport, training hard and striving for that win.  Often only a fraction of a second will separate the top medal contenders and that determination and mindset is one aspect that the athlete can control to make that slight difference his or hers.
  2. Preparation – Lack of planning is an obvious way to fail.  However, it is easy to deceive yourself into thinking that you are prepared only to find in reality that the plan was lacking.  I like to think of preparation and planning in terms of cooking.  Planning is the equivalent of having a recipe.  It is the plan that will get you a good dinner.  For that plan to work, though, you need preparation.  You need to go to the store and buy groceries, pre-heat the stove, have the pans and dishes you need for the recipe and so on.  For self-defense, preparation means practicing and training to respond to various attacks.  For the workplace, preparation includes creating the right policies and procedures to deal with the various situations that arise.
  3. Execution – The ability to follow through on the planning and preparation is critical to success.  With the dinner example, stopping when half of the ingredients are mixed and walking away will not get a finished dinner on the table.  Lack of execution or inability to put the plan into action is just an ingredient for failure.  This is true for self-defense in several ways.  One way is to put everything into an attack to get a ‘knock-out’ punch.  Another is to keep the attack going until your attacker is stopped and you can escape.  For business leaders, execution comes in the form of making sure that expectations are being met.  If customer service is a key expectation (and it always should be) then a manager needs to be sure that everyone is trained and understands the expectations and performs as expected.
  4. Accountability – This is one that can sound strict or mean depending on the how it is used.  Good accountability means that employees will be measured on their success and improve where necessary.  Accountability is the setting of stringent criteria that are necessary to ensure success.  For martial art students, this may mean practicing forms until each piece, the footing, balance, kicks, punches and blocks are all done exactly as required, at which point they may be ready to move to the next belt level.  For businesses, leaders need to keep everyone on track to meet goals and hold individuals responsible to their actions.
  5. Act – It is easy to get bogged down by decisions or over-analysis of every detail.  Sometimes, the only element separating winners from losers is the simple fact that winners tried.  Going out and taking some action is more often than not better than doing nothing at all.  In self-defense situations, people tend to freeze if not fully prepared and that failure to respond can mean everything.  Taking some sort of defensive action against an attacker will through them off enough to escape and can mean the difference between life and death.  When it comes to your business, putting an advertisement out there will be more helpful than not, even if you’re not sure the ad is in the right publication or has the best copy write. 

There is one common theme with each of these tips.  You must have an underlying vision or goal that gives you the focus for your determination, guides your preparation, defines your execution, creates your accountability and gives you the motivation to act.  You can win by defining that view and following the steps above.  Winning is everything, but is up to you.

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

11 Tips to a Happy (and Safe) Halloween

Halloween is a scary time – it seems that every psycho killer and thing that goes bump in the night is just waiting, out of sight, for the chance to attack.  And if that is not bad enough, there are all those treats floating around waiting to defeat the stoutest diet and add pounds as we head into the heart of the holiday season.

               Fear not, though.  Halloween doesn’t have to be so deadly.  Follow these basic safety tips and you may just survive…if you’re lucky.

  1. When you find yourself running from a ghoulish beast out of the cemetery, desperate to escape; keep your car key on a ring by itself.  Then you can find it quickly without fumbling through 50 keys as the monster approaches.  Better yet, get a remote starter.
  2. Speaking of cars and getaways, make sure that your car starts immediately and has a good battery.  Also, keep it filled up so you don’t run out of gas in some dark, creepy and haunted backwoods.
  3. Never take the lonely and remote shortcut, especially if it goes through an old cemetery.
  4. If you are babysitting at a gloomy, isolated house and the phone rings – don’t answer it.
  5. Be aware of any and all clowns not traveling with a circus.  They are just plain scary.
  6. Don’t turn your back on the psychotic fiend that you just stabbed, shot, pushed off a balcony or any combination of.  It will come back to life at least one more time.
  7. Stay away from barns or tool sheds full of sharp, pointy farm instruments.
  8. When running for your life from a zombie or other stumbling, lumbering creature of the night, be prepared to fall.  A lot.  No matter how slow it is, it will always catch up.
  9. During a power failure, when the lights are out, don’t go looking for what just caused that thump in the basement…alone…and without a light.
  10. If you have other people around, don’t split up to investigate all the other mysterious disappearances.

And last, but certainly not least….

  1. Never, ever end up in the sequel.  The monster/beast/murderer always kills more victims, with more gore and is harder to stop or destroy.  And the sequels are never as good as the original.

Have a scary Halloween from Business Karate.

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


If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at 

Keeping our Kids (and Selves) Safe

As the Colorado community struggles to understand the evil behind the killing of 10-year old Jessica Ridgeway and fervently hope that police find the killer, it is also a time to think about how to talk to our kids about these kinds of situations.

If asked, most kids will quickly tell you that they know not to talk to strangers.  Someone offering candy or asking for help finding a puppy are the common ploys that we explain.  But we need to go further and let our kids know that a predator may not be that obvious.  In fact, a killer can be very clever and deceptive.  The tactic to get close could be just a matter of walking by and grabbing someone or simply asking what time it is.

When talking to my own kids, I have been very clear that they should not even let a stranger get close to them as they may try to use drugs or chemicals to stun them or knock them out.  I’ve also had to teach them that no matter what, they never, ever go with someone and that they must fight no matter what.  The majority of victims in these cases who are abducted from a crime scene are murdered.  Teaching kids to fight goes against how we normally teach them to respond, but this is one time where it is appropriate.  Even a child facing a larger adult can scratch, bite, kick, punch, scream and even claw or poke at the suspect’s eyes.  Anything goes to attract attention and to escape.

More news related to this murder has been coming out and now it appears that the same suspect may have tried to abduct adult women earlier in the year.  In two cases, the women were jogging in open space and the suspect came up behind them.  In one, he tried to put a rag that smelled of chemicals over her face, but she was able to fight him off.  In the other, the jogger’s screams may have scared him away for fear of attention.

As always, be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to anyone else near you.  Be mentally and physically ready to fight off attackers and do whatever it takes to escape.  Teach your kids to be alert and not to let anyone near them, no matter how nice or polite they may seem.  If anyone touches them, fight back in every way possible and escape.
For more information, read about the most dangerous time in a crime or school security tips.

Follow-up - Police arrested 17-year old Austin Reed Sigg for the murder of Jessica Ridgeway and for the attempted abduction of one of the joggers mentioned above.  This is great news, knowing that one less violent predator is on the loose.  However, these safety tips still apply and the topic should be discussed with your children, as there will always be another psychotic killer, unfortunately.

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



If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at 

What Would James Bond Drive Today?

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, in London.  A lot has changed over that time – the cold war ended (officially anyway), man has walked on the moon and we’ve seen terrorists with destructive desires that rival some of Bond’s worst fictional enemies.

Not only has the world changed, but the vehicles that we drive.  For a little entertainment and a break from some of the real world worries, give some thought to what kind of car James Bond would drive today.  An Aston Martin is the quick thought to come to mind, as it has so long been part of the movies.  In reality though, that is probably out of the price range of a government agent, even one very well paid and a bachelor.

In the original Ian Fleming books, James Bond drove a 20-year old 1933 Bentley convertible coupe, grey, with a supercharger.  The car was described as big, rear-wheel drive and fast for the time.  He bought the car almost new and had it inspected each year by a Bentley mechanic to keep it in top condition as he was passionate about his driving and liked to drive it hard and fast. 

If Bond were looking for a car today, it is hard to imagine him driving something 20 years old – today’s products are not designed to last like that and the technology changes so fast.  Bentley’s had a strong association with racing at the time and during the 20’s won a number of world championships.  It is a safe to imagine that someone like James Bond would want a car associated with a racing tradition.  There are so many different classes of races and vehicles from sports cars to Formula One race cars that most car manufacturers have some representation in some form.  Even Bentleys have reappeared on the race circuits in recent years.

It is also likely that Bond would prefer a British car, although not necessarily.  He carried an Italian and later German handgun.  He also preferred coffee to tea, a not-very-British concept.  Car manufacturers are so intertwined with suppliers and owners from other firms it is hard to find something purely British.  Even Aston Martin is owned by Ford.

One remaining British car company is the Morgan, which sells cars with a classic look that are capable of reaching 170 mph.  The Morgan AeroMax is one model.  Morgan’s have also been seen on racetracks recently.  The handling may not be quite up to Bond’s standards though and at 130 mph, the front end starts to lift due to the aerodynamics (the race version features a spoiler for control).  The price is steep though at well over $150,000. 
Morgan AeroMax - Google Image search

Bentley could still be an option, with the price tag again being the biggest hurdle.  The Continental GT coupe with a V12 engine is impressive and reported to handle well.  It still has the classic style and luxury one would expect for a Bond-like character.  Aston Martins are also a good choice, balancing performance with style, but again may be pricey for a realistic perspective.  In the books, Ian Fleming often had Bond’s character or cover story being a rich playboy, explaining why he was given an Aston Martin to drive in Goldfinger.

There are several high performing cars available for under $100,000 that could be serious contenders.  One is the Nissan GT-R, by all accounts a top-notch sports car that really delivers.  Of course, it is a bit hard to imagine our favorite British spy driving a Japanese car, but not out of the question if focusing on the performance.  Another option would be a Porsche 911 Carrera.  Again, a very fast car, one that can accelerate from 0-60 in about 4 seconds, just like the Nissan.  The Porsche handling has been improved and offers great cornering speed and control and has a very strong tie to sports car racing.

One last car to consider is the Lotus Evora.  It is built to race and can reach 160 mph.  The Evora S with a supercharger added to the Toyota V6 will reach 60 mph in less than 5 seconds and is comparable to the Porsche.  The Evora has a top speed of 162 mph and great handling.  For those of us that grew up watching Roger Moore as Bond can certainly relate to the Lotus via the Esprit featured in several of the films.  After all, what boy could forget a car that turns into a submarine, equipped with anti-aircraft missiles?  Bad news, though, for those readers looking for a ‘real’ British car for the Bond of 2012 – Lotus is now owned by a Malaysian car manufacturer, although still produced in England. 
Lotus Evora - Google Image Search

Lotus is also well represented in the racing world, with the Lotus Formula One team being a solid contender.  In fact, this season, one of their drivers has made a point of literally bumping off the competition, which has helped his teammate – but that is another story.

Looking at the options, the Lotus Evora S seems the best pick for Bond’s personal car.  He could even get it in the battleship grey of his original Bentley, although, the name is much fancier and is now Storm Titanium.  Buying a used Bentley, one a few years old, is another solid option and would certainly meet the criteria set by Ian Fleming when he wrote the first Bond book in the 1950’s.

Certainly, any one of these would be a fantastic car and you could hardly go wrong.  I know that I’d be content driving any of these!


Feel free to comment and share your pick (there are many other cars not even mentioned).  Keep it classy - we are talking about Bond.


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



If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at 

10 Questions Parents Need to Ask About School Security

Summer is winding down.  That means school has started, or is about too, depending on where in the country you are.  Amidst the rush to get supplies, school clothes and back to a more hectic pace of life, parents should ask some basic questions about their kids’ school security.  Schools are normally safe havens for our children, but are very vulnerable to becoming a target.  They are generally ‘soft’ targets with little in the way of security staff and attract a lot of attention when things go wrong. 

As a concerned parent, take a few moments to ask some basic questions about the school’s security program and verify that everything reasonable is being done to keep children safe in school.  Just by taking an interest and following up with the school will send the message that safety is important and helps ensure that the best steps will be taken.

  1. Who’s in charge?
The first item is to find out who is responsible for security.  Is it listed as a duty in their job description?  It is a good bet that if no one is responsible for security, then security is just an afterthought at the school.

  1. Access control –
               How many doors are left unlocked during the school day and who locks them up afterwards?  Are all the open doors in a location where they can be supervised by staff?  How are visitors identified?

  1. Background screening –
               All employees working around kids should be screened during the hiring phase.  Does the screening process look for criminal convictions around the country or just locally?  What is the policy on individuals with criminal histories – at what point are they considered non-hirable?  Is there any screening on long-term employees after they have been hired, such as an annual criminal record check?

  1. Crime tracking –
               Is there a record of criminal events or suspicious activity that occurs on the property?  How about periodic tracking of data to see if crime is increasing or decreasing around campus?

  1. Security risk assessment –
               Every year, a security risk assessment should be completed to identify high risks and that information should in turn be the focus of efforts to fix the gaps.  Does the assessment include a review of policies and procedures, crime reports, local crime, as well as building security including lighting and landscape?

  1. Security drills –
               When was the last security drill?  Were areas for improvement identified and what steps were taken to make those improvements?  Along the same lines, what kind of security awareness training has been provided to faculty?  Has staff been trained to identify suspicious behavior?

  1. Video surveillance –
               Video surveillance can be a great tool for evidence gathering after an incident, as well as a chance to detect and deter suspicious problems.  Does staff know how to use the existing video surveillance system to search for events, as well as download images or video for law enforcement?  Is the software updated routinely and how often are the cameras cleaned or serviced?

  1. Threat assessment team –
               Does the school have a team to assess any risky events or threats?  A mix of staff and local law enforcement should be part of the team to evaluate threats or violent behavior and develop an action plan on how to respond.

  1. Tracking of custody issues –
               This applies to parents with sole or shared custody following a separation.  How does the school track and enforce who is allowed to pick up kids from class?  What steps are taken to prevent parental kidnapping?  Are copies of restraining orders kept on file along with any court-issued custody papers?

  1. Special events –
               How is security maintained when off campus?  Field trips or even on-campus events may require additional security measures.  What steps are considered and how is protection maintained?

               As a parent, one of the best things that you can do to help keep your children safe at school is to ask these questions and show an interest, and let administration know that security is an important consideration.


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