Hiring a security guard is one of the best investments you can make in your business. However, there are important decisions to make when assessing which type of security suits your business and its needs.
Generally, you can hire two types of security guards: armed and unarmed. While each can be effective, some are more apprehensive about hiring armed guards, which is understandable. The presence of armed guards can make people uncomfortable, cost more, and have more logistical concerns to consider. Many clients opt for an unarmed security guard to ease concerns or potential complications. Although they may not carry firearms, unarmed security guards are reliable and capable professionals that can protect your assets, property, clients, or staff.
Cost-Effective Security Solutions
Costs vary significantly across security services, and those trained and licensed to operate firearms cost more. Unarmed guards operate with a lower risk level; therefore, their services cost less. Unarmed security guards also reduce liability insurance costs since they work in lower-risk situations. Unlike armed guards, who tend to deal with high-value assets, large sums of money, or oversee large groups of people, unarmed guards face a lower degree of risk in their day-to-day operations.
Unarmed guards are more suitable for routine patrols, conducting surveillance, working near a front desk, or monitoring access points. Combined with a sound CCTV system and proper security infrastructure at all access points, unarmed security can be more cost-effective yet equally beneficial than an armed guard.
Greater Comfort Level
While some situations call for armed guards, they can be a deterrent in others. Some people may assume there is a higher threat level than is actually the case if they notice armed guards present. This can make staff, clients, or attendees feel less relaxed and comfortable in your establishment, which can negatively impact their experience with your business.
Unarmed security guards can still deter criminal activity and know how to respond to any potential threats and criminal activity. Unarmed guards are the standard recommendation for businesses with low to medium security threats.
Assessing Your Unique Security Needs
Before you hire an unarmed security guard or security team for your business, we advise performing a personal security assessment. Although our experts always identify clients’ threat levels before offering solutions, you can benefit from knowing how to advocate for your own needs.
Once you have decided to hire a security guard, ask yourself the following questions to see if an unarmed guard is the right choice.
How many people do you need to monitor?
If you are hiring event security, then the scale of the event and the likelihood of an emergency should be considered. Major events with several dozen to several hundred participants will likely benefit from some armed security. In contrast, smaller, low-key affairs may only require an armed presence if you have identified potential security risks.
For one example, larger-scale businesses, such as hotels, may need an armed guard to respond rapidly in emergencies. However, most small or medium companies are fine with an unarmed guard surveilling their establishment.
What are you trying to deter?
You may wish to prevent specific criminal activities, such as vandalism, theft, and trespassing. In these cases, unarmed security guards are likely sufficient. However, if you are concerned about the threat of violent crime, you may want to hire armed guards carrying a firearm.
What level of liability are you comfortable with?
Business owners and property managers that hire security guards can be held liable for what occurs on their premises. Armed guards naturally present a greater liability risk because they carry — and may have to use — firearms. Resulting in injuries or fatalities that could lead to legal or liability issues.
Aside from the legal impact, it would be best if you also considered the effect of any events on your property. Even if a guard acts solely according to the law and their training, many people can be deterred after hearing about an injury or fatal encounter on your property. Unarmed security guards are still trained to de-escalate situations using non-lethal force. They know how to identify threats, appropriate response protocol, and keep people safe until law enforcement arrives.
Deterring Crime in Low-Risk Areas
If you manage a residential property or small, local business, you likely have a low crime risk. Only properties in communities with notably high crime rates, or companies that operate during high-risk hours (such as 24-hour convenience stores), may need armed security.
As an alternative solution to armed guards, businesses may hire unarmed security guards and install rapid-response emergency systems. Combined with surveillance video footage and routine patrols, you can protect your property and deter criminal activity without the need or added expense of armed guards.
Do I Need Armed or Unarmed Security Guards?
If you are still unsure which type of security offer is right for you, run through the following checklist:
- I run a small to mid-size business
- My business or property does not have heavy foot traffic
- My business or property is not located in an area with a high crime rate
- I do not have exceptionally high risks associated with my business or property
- I am looking for cost-effective security solutions with a fixed budget
- I do not keep large quantities of cash or valuables on hand
- I am open to using alarm systems and CCTV video surveillance
If most of these criteria apply to your situation, then unarmed security guards are likely suitable. To discuss your needs further, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Silbar Security today for a consultation where we can figure out exactly what you and your business needs.