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The Lonely Security Guard

December 01, 2020

By Stephen Grant, Risk & Resilience Advisor, Commissionaires Nova Scotia

Resilience has become a watchword of our times. It captures our desire to overcome our current dilemma through positivity, hope and plain old grit and determination. We know our species as a whole understands resilience. After all, when shouldered against past experiences, or even those routinely faced by much of humanity today, “the Second Wave” seems less daunting.

When this is all over, we will focus again on acquiring more for ourselves, for our society and for the advantages we already have been bestowed. At that time, we should also remember those who will continue to be less fortunate, lend more of a helping hand and be thankful for all that we have.

In the security business, one of its main purposes is to protect the safety and property from the privations of others. This role may become an emerging point of conflict as advocates of social justice seek societal levelling through attempts to dismantle boundaries established by the present elites.

Perhaps the point is not erecting barriers but finding a better way of sharing what we have.

In many cases, this has been the goal of modern buildings and public space designs. The current challenge is that many large spaces find themselves temporarily, or perhaps permanently, abandoned. How do we make the under-utilized property safe?

As people and resources move out, decay and crime often fill the void. Therefore, the new purpose of security companies will need to be adjusted away from the protection of the few to the preservation of broader society. In this regard, security companies may be uniquely well-positioned as something more than just pseudo policing organizations.

Is it our goal to simply guard uninhabited spaces until better days come? This, unfortunately, may be necessary for the short term, but it must not become the end purpose. Rather, the security guard needs to be the bridge connecting the uncertainty of the present to the re-occupation of our urban spaces in the future.

The human component of security is currently much assailed by technology, but it is the personage of the security guard that can make the difference. While not belittling the efficiency of technological tools, the struggles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is about people and its effects upon relationships as much as any other factor. Society needs assurance; it requires people to provide this to us.

Therefore, it is the lonely lot of the security guard to protect what we have and ensure that it is there for us when we return. Their presence provides the continuity necessary to maintain our fragile social fabric. This role is perhaps a unique responsibility, unquestionably a product of these troubled times. Nevertheless, much of what we value, and what must be retained, has been placed in their reassuring hands.

Will the world emerge again from this crisis? Assuredly, for we have faced much worse. Resilient we have been, resilient we will continue to be.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” - Nelson Mandela

Stephen Grant is the Risk & Resilience Advisor for Commissionaires. A specialist in Threat Risk Assessment and Crime Prevention, he is available to assist businesses during openings to provide advice on strategies to protect employees from robberies, shoplifting, break-ins, and other criminal activities.

Contact: sgrant@commissionaires.ns.ca or 902 483 5633