In light of recent tragedies involving guns and resulting in senseless killings, many organizations have focused their attention on tightening security measures and procedures to be better prepared to deal with reckless incidents. Although many incidents are unpredictable, having safety practices in the workplace provides a sense of security for employees.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (2010) states:
“Security measures…are designed to prevent intentional physical or psychological harm to a…staff member, volunteer, guest, or other person. The offender may be an adult or juvenile, someone with permission to be on site or an intruder. Offenses could include physical assaults, an intruder’s threats to harm, abduction, robbery, sexual molestation, and in extreme cases bullying…because each…site is unique and the types of risks vary greatly, making a single, universal, security prescription is impractical.”
In order to be proactive and restructure current security practices, organizations have used similar steps to improve security measures:
1. Develop a safe external image – Ensure external grounds are neat and landscaping is maintained at all times. Remove any graffiti and repair vandalism immediately. Install security lighting and surveillance, and post signage establishing the organization’s jurisdiction in a visible location.
2. Establish one entrance – Ensure visitors and other individuals enter the building using one entrance. In small lobbies, a security guard or front desk employee should identify every individual entering the building by requiring them to sign in and out. This involves them printing their name, location visiting, and time arrived and departed in a designated folder that remains at the front desk. In large lobbies, place barriers to prevent individuals from entering unnoticed. Also, monitor reception areas, sidewalks, parking areas, and other spaces where individuals normally gather.
3. Appoint a skillfully trained front desk staff – This individual should have good judgment and be able to supervise and possess the authority of all front desk operations. This staff should consistently identify every person entering the building and ensure visitor’s present identification, if required. Individuals requesting to visit a specific area should be escorted, if required. Also, the front desk employee should ensure, if not informed by management, all external visitors such as contractors have been cleared to enter the building.
4. Develop an identifiable internal image – Ensure the inside of the building is easily identifiable. Specific areas that should be easily defined include offices, restrooms, and other areas regularly visited. Ensure interior windows are not restricted by posters and other items and discourage public restroom usage, if not permitted. Also, prevent gatherings in restrooms, stairwells, and any other isolated areas.
5. Secure personal belongings – Establish polices that include responsibilities pertaining to visitor’s belongings. If there is a coat check, establish a system for tracking belongings which includes numbers, letters, or another sign-in procedure. If security inspections are required, ensure visitors are aware by posting signage or establishing an observable and consistent procedure every visitor or individual must follow or go through prior to entering the premises.
6. Ensure Employees and Volunteers are identifiable – Establish polices that include responsibilities pertaining to visitor’s belongings. If there is a coat check, establish a system for tracking belongings which includes numbers, letters, or another sign-in procedure. If security inspections are required, ensure visitors are aware by posting signage or establishing an observable and consistent procedure every visitor or individual must follow or go through prior to entering the premises.
7. Develop an emergency plan – An emergency plan should be developed and specific to the organization; it should also be in place for those that utilize the building (i.e. rent space during off hours). The plan should indicate the communication procedures to local emergency/rescue agencies and specify how the organization will respond to both predictable and unpredictable emergencies. The plan should identify staff action roles during emergency situations and address communication methods within the organization’s leadership. Emergency plans should also be practiced regularly and reviewed and/or updated as needed.
In conjunction to the emergency procedures, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (2010) states:
“It is important to accept that crime is not static, but continues to surface in response to social and technological changes, or in response to relaxed standards. Every security incident, however small, should be considered a possible indicator of a future major incident.”
Bgca.org (2010). Security. Retrieved from www.bgca.org