Monday, September 19, 2005

Private Security Saves New Orleans Museum

The fact that the New Orleans Museum of Art, which holds a collection of some 40,000 pieces worth a total of at least $250 million, was untouched by looters during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is a testament to the foresight to hire private security guards.

The museum’s principal insurer -- Axa Art Insurance Corporation – saw the reports of widespread looting and complete breakdown of law and order after Katrina. The company hired a loss adjusting company and a security company -- International Investigative Group -- to inspect and protect the museum after the museum employees were forced to leave. The museum's deputy director, accompanied by the security company's armed guards, reached the museum by motorboat. A couple of National Guardsmen were also given orders to help protect the museum. The group had least two armed security guards on duty at all times with the group rotating between duty stations and a trailer located outside the front of the museum for rest.

The museum sustained only minor damage during the hurricane, and, although it was without climate control for two weeks, the museum's prints and photographs appear to be undamaged.

As mentioned before on this blog, business owners and heads of corporations need to integrate qualified private security into their asset protection program. This also serves as a reminder that you should not have your security program too heavily reliant on off-duty police officers as well. Chances are when you really need the cops, they will be assigned elsewhere.


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