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GlobeSt Article – The Latest on Terrorism and Building Security

The Latest on Terrorism and Building Security

By Carrie Rossenfeld | Orange County

NEWPORT BEACH, CA—“We need to continue to communicate amongst ourselves in the industry and with our client/tenant base” as buildingsecurity concerns have grown over the last several years, RiverRock Real Estate Group’s president Steve Core tells The question of armed-security services has been raised as owners seek to be more proactive against these attacks and tenants’ concerns grow.

A recently released statement from Core reads, “Wednesday’s tragic shooting in Southern California is something we’re all still struggling to absorb. We’ve received an influx of questions regarding the usage of armed security personnel. Although this decision needs to be evaluated based on the specific needs of the asset, there are some universal concerns that should be taken into account when considering contracting for armed-security services.

  • Most property insurance is underwritten specifically prohibiting armed security.
  • If armed security is brought onsite, premiums will go up at a rate determined by each carrier; there’s no universal average.
  • Many buildings hire independent consultants that are off-duty/ex-law enforcement. Surprisingly, these independents often don’t hold the necessary coverage, exposing ownership to substantial liability.
  • If armed security is necessary, ensure that the company contracted has specific insurance for armed personnel, and request proof.

“RiverRock can assist with coordinating training for building occupants. Remember, vigilance starts in the parking lot all the way into the building. If it doesn’t look right, report it!”

We spoke exclusively with Core about building security following last week’s terror attacks in San Bernardino. In light of the recent mass shootings in San Bernardino, are building security and crisis management becoming top of mind for owners and tenants?

Core: Security concerns have grown over the last several years. Physical security needs are always being evaluated and modified based on building needs, tenant base, system upgrades, etc. However, there’s an increased focus on what we do as managers in qualifying vendors and employees. More thorough background checks and screening for anyone involved at the property level have become the standard in the industry now. What are owners and property managers doing to increase safety in their buildings?

Core: There’s a larger focus on training and sharing of information. We can have 24/7 manned security, cameras, card readers, etc., but if building occupants and service providers circumvent established policies, the systems don’t work. What are they not aware of regarding security that they should be?

Core: One of the larger threats comes from people not being aware of how actions can create/contribute to a situation. It goes back to following building access rules, reporting suspicious activity and safeguarding information that could damage a company or their customers. Management firms review and train on a regular basis with their security providers and consultants. Some of the larger tenants provide internal training, but it need to be done on a wider basis. What else should the industry know about this topic?

Core: Remaining vigilant is key; everyone plays a role in security, not just the management team.   It’s human nature to hyper focus on a situation, and then they drop back into a normal routine over time. We need to continue to communicate amongst ourselves in the industry and with our client/tenant base.