April 29th, 2020
By Stephen Grant, Risk & Resilience Advisor, Commissionaires Nova Scotia
The world will change. Whether for good or for bad is yet to be determined and rests largely in our own hands. We can expect that the fall out generated by the current COVID-19 Pandemic will bring both short and long-term impacts. Beyond the immeasurable human cost, we will face an uncertain world, an enormous blow to the economy and a reframing of our social fabric.
The conclusion of this troubling period is going to leave many people with a sense of helplessness, uncertainty and even fear for their personal safety. Regardless of the outcome of COVID 19, there remains timeless lessons from the resilient generations that came before us in remaking a brave new world. Part of that process will be to protect what survives the crisis—the people, businesses and government institutions. In doing so, we ensure continuity and provide the building blocks for our new beginning.
In times of crisis, security is every bit a necessity as food, water, and shelter. Without security, the ability to seek, maintain, and share our basic needs is significantly reduced. The security industry will be responsible for demonstrating that it remains committed to the protection of people and property.
The creation and maintenance of safe communities is paramount. Police are primarily entrusted with this role. However, we can expect that no institution will be able to adequately face this challenge alone. There is likely to be a greater need for non-core policing support and the provision of other services that security providers offer.
Businesses will want to consider investment in solutions to deter or prevent break-ins and other forms of damage and loss. By doing so, large and small organizations can protect their particular interests and help restore a level of normalcy to society. If the current crisis lapses into the autumn, as has been generally anticipated, the potential for harm is likely to increase. The loss of businesses invariably weakens neighbourhoods and often whole communities. Proper protection of businesses now, while they are closed, can help contribute to maintaining society.
What security decisions should businesses be considering to protect their people and property?
A security presence: One of the outcomes is the realization of how we are all interdependent, and the current loss of personal freedom resulting from social isolating is most deeply felt in our lack of personal interaction. The greatest contribution to the security of people will come from re-establishing social relationships and the presence of engaged personnel providing a comforting presence. Properly trained security personnel are much more than site guards. They are the first point of contact between the public and a business or public institution. The importance of this human interaction will grow, not diminish, in the months ahead.
Site security surveys: Further, efforts should be made even now, in the heart of this crisis, to examine the physical security of businesses, the basics such as locks, alarms, protective window coverings, and other features to ensure the protection of the exterior of structures. This is an opportunity to consider deeper solutions such as environmental design, what’s needed now is to batten down the hatches.
Target hardening: It makes good sense to take on preventative investments now. It has been demonstrated that the presence of police and other forms of physical security provide only a limited deterrent to criminals, as that presence cannot ultimately be maintained. Target hardening is a longer-term solution, one that is more sustainable.
We must be prepared for a slow recovery. It will take some time to re-start a flat economy, and it comes with a certain amount of pain and loss. The protection of our current resources is the safest means to ensure that recovery.
“Oh, Brave New World That has such People in it!” —William Shakespeare, The Tempest
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent official policy or position of Commissionaires Nova Scotia.