theory of Security
Many textbooks date the origin of security back to ancient Egypt or to
Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. e modern era of security
began September 11, 2001. rough the years, the United States has
remained mostly immune from acts of terrorism, but the single horriﬁc
events of 9/11 have shown us the tragic results of what can happen.
e events of September 11 caused us to totally rethink our approach
to security operations. While many of the threats have not changed,
new threats have been added. Today’s threats include criminal acts
from a variety of sources, both internal and external to an organization.
Security operations may protect from a variety of things—theft, arson,
acts of violence, vandalism, espionage, domestic violence, and ever-irate
customers. Everyone protects what they hold valuable. Homeowners
protect their homes, businesses protect their businesses, schools protect
against theft and violence, the government protects everything. What
varies is the amount of eﬀort that goes into protecting what you have.
Although there have been many diﬀerent theories, and diﬀerent
people involved, since the beginning security has basically been the
same. We look for problems or potential problems, and we look for
solutions to those problems. e diﬃculty is that we look not only
for existing problems, but for potential problems that have not yet
occurred, so we can take steps to prevent them from happening. It
is very diﬃcult in a business environment to spend money to prevent
things that have never happened. But that’s what we do. It is often
better to be proactive and spend a little money now than to be reactive
and wait for a problem to occur.
Security is the creation of a circumstance that is problem-free, or a
circumstance that results in a minimum of problems. How a person
What Are You Trying to Accomplish? 5
e Crime Triangle 6
PhysiCal seCurity and safety
views the need for security is aﬀected by his or her perception of the
current level of security and his or her perception of the need for secu-
rity. Diﬀerent people, with diﬀerent backgrounds, diﬀerent training,
and diﬀerent experiences, perceive the need for security diﬀerently.
Part of the perception of need is the perception of how valuable what
you have is, and how valuable what you have is to a criminal. From
a purely criminological perspective, a criminal will base his or her
decision on whether or not to commit a crime on several factors. One
factor is the “reward” from the crime—or what he or she gets out of
committing the crime. e other factor is the risk of getting caught.
For years, security professionals based the level of security on that
combination of risk versus reward. e greater the potential loss, the
more that was spent on security. We believed that we could deter a
criminal from committing any crime by simply increasing the risk.
Risk was increased by increasing the level of security and making
it more diﬃcult to commit the crime, a simple process. e amount
of security provided was directly correlated to the value of what was
being protected. Locks could be added or improved. Fences could be
built. Cameras could be installed. Risk versus reward changed with
the introduction of terrorism into the United States. A terrorist simply
doesn’t care about the risk. e motivation to commit a crime is dif-
ferent, and an increase in security is not a deterrent. e old model of
risk/reward no longer is valid, and we have to consider not only what
kind of potential value we have to a criminal, but also what potential
value we have to a terrorist.
Security specialists now have to consider how they handle any
incident diﬀerently. A great example is the Murrah Building in
Oklahoma City. As a federal building, multiple security surveys
over the years never indicated a serious threat. A truck bomb and
two terrorists destroyed the building, killing 168 people. is
shows, simply, that terrorism can occur anywhere, at any time. But
terrorism isn’t our only threat. Acts of violence can occur anywhere.
Heritage High School in suburban Atlanta was the site of a school
shooting in May 1999, less than a month after the school shoot-
ing in Columbine, Colorado. ere have been a growing number of
incidents of school violence across America, and this shows again
that the need for security exists everywhere. We need to change our
thinking about security.