Paper Example on Growth of US Security Industry: 2 Decades of Federal Legislation & Private Practices

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1453 Words
Date:  2023-04-24


The US security industry has undergone significant growth in the last two decades. Following the 9/11 incident in 2001 for example, the industry has seen the development of several legislations at the federal level to increase the involvement of the government in the security field (Fischer & Halibozek, 2008). At the same time, more private security firms and associations have come up, creating the need for the government to develop laws to regulate the practice. Besides, the professionalization of private security has been a common trend aimed at meeting the need to respond to both the escalating threats of cybercrime and world terrorism. There is also increased cooperation of private security firms and government in operations seeking to safeguard US citizens and businesses from terrorism.

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There are many reasons why private security was professionalized in the US. One of them is the introduction and enforcement of regulatory legislation at the federal level, which required private firms to employ trained and qualified personnel (Lehti, 2018). Another reason is that increasing the use of hi-tech technology in security threats targeting the people and businesses makes it necessary to employ highly trained experts in management security situations (Lehti, 2018). Also, with so many private players in the US security market, there is greater competition putting pressure on investors to leverage their brand performance.

Notably, due to the dynamic nature of modern crimes, some businesses continue to recognize the need to increase their security while others have been reducing theirs. Types of businesses using more security than they did 10-20 years ago include the transit business such as airports, buses, shipping ports, railways, and roads; energy production and supply businesses such as electricity grids, nuclear plants, gas and oil facilities; water utilities; retail businesses; construction industry; healthcare facilities; and agricultural businesses (Fischer & Halibozek, 2008). On the other hand, businesses such as banks are using smaller security staff. The reason is that some types of businesses have become prone to terrorist attacks while others like banks are relying more heavily on electronic technology and physical safety rather than security personnel.

Private Security in the 21st Century

One of the greatest challenges facing private security in the 21st century is the extensive involvement of the federal government in regulating their operations. The need to obtain licensing and certification from federal agencies makes the security business capital-intensive and difficult to start. The other challenge is the difficulty in determining how much security is appropriate in each client situation and how to balance the quality of services with the cost of providing them.

Nonetheless, private security firms have evolved a great deal in recent decades. While the main concern of security providers in the past was physical crimes such as burglary, drug trafficking, and shootings, technology is the new focus of modern security. However, the basic theory of security service delivery has not changed much over the years. What has changed are the tools used to apply the theory. Today, security firms have high-tech fences and sensors where they once used moats. Where they once used warded locks to secure rooms and buildings, now they have electronic locking systems using state-of-the-art computer-based technology. Also, sophisticated cameras and alarm systems have replaced patrolling watchmen. The only key change in the protection approach used in the 21st century is the prioritization of terrorism as a security threat to businesses and the country (Fischer & Halibozek, 2008).

Moreover, the professionalism that defines private security today is a new phenomenon that never existed some years ago. The said professionalism is characterized by the observation of a code of ethics and greater regard for credentials including professional society membership, experience, and training. Before the 21st century, there were fewer professional associations and organizations for private security and those that existed were mostly inactive. Besides, the existence of much federal as well as state legislation relating to the private security field is evidence that it has gained greater recognition in most parts of the world.

One factor driving the challenges creating changes in the security sector is the new preoccupation with the threat of terrorism. Using terrorist tools against public businesses as well as the government has become a common way for individuals and groups to state their positions. In this era, security providers have to fully consider potential terror crimes just like robbery, burglary, intellectual property theft, fire, shoplifting, and other risks of loss we commonly associate with security strategies.

The Basic Services Performed by Contractual Security Personnel

Contractual security personnel is deployed by licensed agencies to perform security duties for their clients. The basic services that they typically perform are similar to those of typical law enforcement officers. They include simple background checks, body and other important searches, and vehicle license plate inspection. The services performed by this security personnel can be categorized into two types as observe and report security services, and pro-active security services (Bauer & Paulin, 2017).

Most of the pro-active security providers are armed. In some states, they have licensed firearm holders and may be authorized to use tools such as mace or pepper spray, batons, and handcuffs whenever necessary (Bauer & Paulin, 2017). Pro-active services require officers to actively interact with the community and deal with the public directly when manning clients' sites. Their main objective is to use their presence to deter criminal activities by making potential offenders refrain from wrongdoing. However, they normally possess the necessary training as well as tools to professionally take care of situations where potential offenders are not scared by their presence.

On the other hand, observe and report security officers are known as guards in general and most of them are always unarmed (Bauer & Paulin, 2017). Owing to the nature of their work, they hardly have the experience and training necessary for proactive security providers. This category of services includes protecting residential estates, factories, corporate buildings, etc (Bauer & Paulin, 2017). They patrol client sites on foot or stand in building entrances, and front offices. It involves controlling access for employees and visitors are specified by the clients. They also manage the CCTV system.

Case Study

How to Reduce Costs

The manager can reduce costs by doing away with the 70 proprietary employees delivering security and safety services and hiring fewer contractual security personnel. Contractual personnel will reduce administrative costs such as employee hiring, replacements, and training. At the same time, it does away with staffing concerns which transferred to the contracted company. Without the need to plan and manage shifts, the company can work with significantly reduced security personnel. Also, since most contractual security providers are well-trained, the company will only need a few of them to take care of the same security needs covered by the 70 staff members. Automating some of the security functions by utilizing modern technology would be another great way to reduce operations costs.

How to Use Available Technologies

First, the manager should advise the company to make a one-off investment in modern security technologies such as CCTV systems, an alarm system, weapon detection gadgets, and electronic locking systems. These technologies will not only help automate most security functions of the organization but also reduce pressure on the human element in manning gates, front offices, and other guarded sites in the company.

When the company manager hires contractual security personnel, she should prioritize the ability to effectively use the desired security technologies in the market. One of the advantages of contractual security services is that it allows clients to pay for the personnel with the desired experience and skillsets (Fischer & Halibozek, 2008). Therefore, Ms. Smith should pay for officers who have the right training and skills to use the best tools available. For example, they should have a high level of expertise in handling arms, controlling cybercrime, installing high-tech fences and sensors, and using state-of-the-art computer-based technology such as sophisticated cameras and alarm systems.

How to Build a Relationship with the Local Police

Ms. Smith can build a relationship with the local police by seeking to formally collaborate with them in managing the security of the company and its community. In particular, she discusses with them some useful ways to jointly manage emergency planning and response as it is one of the areas that any local police department would readily want to partner with private security providers (Fischer & Halibozek, 2008). Such a relationship can also be built through seeking and sharing information on how to avail and access all known resources in case of an event.


Bauer, A., & Paulin, C. (2017). Contractual Issues in Private Security. International Journal on Criminology, 5(2)., R., & Halibozek, E. (2008). Introduction to Security (8th ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann.

Lehti, M. (2018). Professionalization of the Private Peacemaking Sector. The Era of Private Peacemakers, 105-124.

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Paper Example on Growth of US Security Industry: 2 Decades of Federal Legislation & Private Practices. (2023, Apr 24). Retrieved from

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