Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Disaster Preparedness

Okay, so Katrina and Rita sent you the message that you need to be prepared for the next upcoming disaster.

But where to start?

Of all the guides I've seen lately, the Fairfax County (Virginia)Web site has one of the better emergency guides. Go to:

The guide is available in text format or a very nicely designed PDF. It is also available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

As good as this guide is, remember, it is a very basic start. But we all need to start with the basics...

Yes, Kidnapping Can Happen to YOU

If you think that kidnapping for profit only occurs in some far off land and it only happens to millionaires -- sorry, but I have to burst your bubble.

Katherin D. Jubran is a 63-year-old woman who was taking her daily walk in her neighborhood in Yakima, Washington. We're talking small town U.S.A. here, not Bogota, Columbia.

Two armed Spanish-speaking men confronted her at gunpoint, forced her into their car, stole her wedding ring, and held her for several hours as they attempted to contact Jubran's husband to negotiate a ransom payment.

She was released unharmed after the plot unraveled because the suspects' car broke down.

The two arrested suspects were identified as 24-year-old Heriberto Garibaldo Martinez and 23-year-old Pedro Ochoa-Mendoza.

Authorities contend that the same two suspects attempted to kidnap a female who was jogging about 45 minutes before they kidnapped Jubran.

These women are everyday people in a medium-sized city in the Pacific Northwest, not along the border, not involved in the drug trade, not involved in any sort of organized crime. People just like me and you.

A couple of points to bring up:

-- As a normal U.S. citizen, you appear rich to some people, particularly foreign nationals.

-- The kidnapping for profit trade has a long tradition in many countries. This tradition is apparently migrating to the U.S. along with the immigrants.

-- As a potential target, you do not know what someone's motivation is when they point a gun at you and tell you to get into the car.

-- You cannot allow yourself to be taken elsewhere. Cops call it the secondary crime scene and usually you will not be returning from it -- ever. You need to put as much distance between you and the gunman as possible. Run away from the car and toward more people -- even though you are fearful of being shot. Don't run to a secluded area. If the suspect grabs you and tries to pull you into the car, drop to the ground to break his grip and then get up and escape. If he is out of the car and tries to grab you, again, drop to the ground with your head away from him and your feet towards him. Kick at the attacker's legs. Scream "NO! GET AWAY FROM ME!" to attract attention. Brace yourself against the car. Do not let yourself be taken.

-- The suspects were caught because the neighborhood watch concept works in Yakima. An alert neighbor took a photo of the car two days earlier because it appeared suspicious. For the same reason, a contractor in the neighborhood also took down the license plate number.

It's fortunate that the victim in this case survived unharmed. It's probable that you or I will not be so lucky if it happens to us.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Major U.S. Crimes Drop, Except for Rape

The FBI is reporting that the nation's overall violent crime level is the lowest in 30 years with all major crime catagories showing a decline, except for rape.

There were 391 less murders nationwide in 2004 than the year before -- a decline of 3% and the lowest rate since 1965.

The four major violent crimes - murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- declined from 1.38 million in 2003 to 1.37 million in 2004. That's a 2% decrease in the violent crime rate -- the lowest since 1974.

The three major property crimes -- burglary, auto theft and larceny-theft -- declined from 10.42 million to 10.33 million in 2004.

Rape was the only one of the crimes to show an increase, up 0.8% to 94,635 crimes, but the rate of rape declined 0.2 percent to 32.2 per 100,000 people.

However, the Justice Department reports that just half of all violent crimes and less than 40 percent of property crimes are reported to the police. Despite the decrease -- which is a good thing -- you still need to be on your guard at all times.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Executive Protection More than a Gun

ÔÇťOrganizations often turn to law enforcement officers when seeking someone to protect their executives. They do so primarily because law enforcement personnel are trained to use a gun. But an executive protection specialist must be much more than a hired gun.

"Security professionals must educate top management regarding the need to get beyond this 'guard mentality'when thinking about executive protection. Not only are law enforcement skills insufficient for executive protection, they may also be detrimental.

"In fact, to be good protection specialists, law enforcement officers must unlearn some of their police-related training. For example police officers are taught to insert themselves into adverse situations.... But first and foremost, the executive protection specialist must be focused on avoiding threatening situation.

"Also of concern is the need many law enforcement officers feel to have a gun. The executive protection specialist may often be in situations where a gun is not allowed. If the specialist is not prepared to handle situations when unarmed, he or she will be at a disadvantage.

"The underlying and unifying element shared by all specialists who do the job well is an understanding of the frame of mind required.

"Executive protection specialists can come from many backgrounds and some of the finest protection specialists may be former law enforcement officers. But for anyone who transitions to this field and for the clients who hire them, they should remember that the true executive protection specialist is far more than a hired gun."

John A. Schafer

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Employee Theft vs. Shoplifters, Guess Which is a Bigger Threat to Your Business?

Ernst & Young has discovered that 66% of firms have been victims of corporate theft. Surprisingly, 55% of the perpetrators in these cases turn out to be management employees. The Retail Council of Canada reports that internal theft is the leading cause of retail losses, not external theft. The National Retail Federation Loss Prevention Council backs up that assertion. It finds that shoplifting now accounts for only 34% of inventory losses, compared with 47% for employee theft.

To protect your business, you'll need to investigate your employees':

-- credit histories;
-- criminal backgrounds;
-- personal references;
-- former employer references (which, naturally, are more accurate than personal references in assessing a future employee's trustworthiness).

You should also explore the options of hiring loss prevention experts, performing routine and unannounced audits, and installing high visibility security cameras as deterrents to employees.

This is a serious threat to your business. If you have a small firm, you can literally be wiped out by employee theft or fraud. And regardless of the size of your firm, an employee-related -- particularly management level -- fraud can have disastrous effects on your share price, your stock holders and your reputation with suppliers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Security Cameras Emerging as New Star Witnesses

It finally seems that security cameras are getting more and more attention by prosecuters these days who are finding cases easier to prosecute and confessions easier to obtain because of the existence of the video for evidence.

In the photo above, an armed robber is caught on video tape shooting at a police officer by a camera located across the street from the crime scene.

"In the absence of any human witness, the video might be your only witness," said Thomas C. Christenberry, a former FBI agent and surveillance video expert at the University of Indianapolis.

We've been recommending their use for years for investigations concerning businesses and individuals which need to capture evidence.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Guns, Cars, Ladders and Draino

In the security business you often have to look at the types of risks you face and then matrix them against the likelihood of them happening. And you should do the same thing with your personal self-defense program.

It seems to be human nature to prepare for the worst -- things that go bump in the night -- and virtually ignore the things that threaten us on a daily basis.

Fire, motor vehicles, bathtubs, ladders and the chemicals in your cupboard pose some of the most common, and plentiful, risks you face. But, because they are common and familiar, we tend to perhaps not give them the respect they deserve in our personal risk assessment.

For example, car crashes, falls and poisoning account for 72% of deadly accidents, while firearms only account for less than one percent. Okay, so you probably (and should) handle your firearm with more care than that bottle of Draino. But, the point is don't get complacent around the common items and events that can -- and usually do -- kill you.

Stay safe:

1. Buckle your seat belt when you drive. Always.
2. Never drink and drive.
3. Have smoke detectors and working fire extinguishers in your home.
4. Watch kids around the bath and in the pool.
5. Secure chemicals and power tools.
6. Get first aid and emergency medical training.
7. Never take or mix medications without your doctor's orders.

Right to Carry States Have Lower Crime

"Right-to-Carry states [U.S.] have lower violent crime rates, on average: 27 percent lower total violent crime, 32 percent lower murder, 45 percent lower robbery and 20 percent lower aggravated assault."

Kayne Robinson

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Combat Confusion

"I felt a little nauseous right afterward, but have no regrets. I did what I had to do and I reacted just as I'd been trained to. Training is everything; you fight as you train. Only it's hard to duplicate the confusion in a combat situation. I got knocked down and had to shoot someone while I was flat on my back."

Miguel Yanez commenting on his law enforcement shooting situation.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fight to Win.

Fight to win. Train to fight.

A "street fight" sparring session this weekend with a select handful of training partners opened up some eyes.

One of the "sport" oriented fighters found himself seriously behind the curve when the hitting began. A couple of slight adjustments solved the problem, but probably because he is very highly trained and highly capable.

But the shock for many people in this position is how differently everything appears when your sparring partner is replicating a street fight versus a sport fight.

Please, please make sure that you add realism to your training. The time to make adjustments is in training, not when you are on the street.

Man Poses as Taxi Driver Assaults Boston Women

A man posing as a cab driver sexually assaulted women after giving them a ride home from a bar in two separate late-night incidents this month in Boston. In both the attacks, a man approached a female leaving a bar and offered them a ride. He then took them to another area, assaulted them and fled.

Right now police are unsure if the same man committed both crimes since an SUV was used in one attack and a white car was used in the other. Both assaults occurred around 1:30 a.m., the first on Sept. 17 and the second a week later. It's probably a good bet that the same man perpetrated both attacks since the somewhat unique MO is the same.

Police have warned that bar patrons should check taxi cabs for a hackney number before accepting a ride and that a picture identification card for the driver hould be visible inside the vehicle.

Okay, good enough advice. But how about some of these:

Don't get too drunk when you are out;
Ask for help from the bartender or doorman to get you reliable transportation;
Don't get into ANY unlicensed cab.

It's difficult to defend ourselves in the best of circumstances. When your capabilities are diminished through the liberal application of alcohol, you've put yourself into a decidedly more disadvantaged position.

Stay alert.

Brazil Haven for Cybercriminals

It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of the world's hackers are based in Brazil.

Source: Jack Chang, Knight-Ridder Wire Services