Miscellaneous DESC

BIKE PATROL: A GREAT CHOICE FOR COMMUNITY RELATIONS 

Ellen LeMasters, American Bike Patrol

From the benefits bike patrol has had on law enforcement, all the way down to the positive
environmental values bike patrol puts forth, one may instead ask why not bike patrol? Bike
patrol was first invented in the mid-to-late 1800s, starting with a very heavy iron and wood pedal
bicycle. The bike patrol industry has continued to grow ever since it developed into the modern
diamond frame safety bicycle. Because of the ease that comes along with integrating bike patrol
into a community, bike patrol offers a better way to protect and serve a community in the most
cost-friendly manner.

Did you know that bike patrols result in more than twice as many contacts with the public than
vehicle patrols? The novelty of a police officer on a bike creates an atmosphere where members
of a culturally diverse community can start overcoming any negative perceptions that may have
been placed upon law enforcement from prior encounters with patrol cars. A bicycle patrol
officer has been proven to be more easily approachable than a car patrol officer.

Even more than just their role in community relations, bike patrol units also generate faster
response times than patrol cars due to the mobility and stealth bicycles have to offer, especially
with the introduction of Patrol eBikes. Bike patrol units can fit and maneuver into areas that
patrol cars cannot, such as squeezing into small alleyways, riding right up to the doors of
buildings, and even going down stairwells. They are also way less obvious and easy to point out
than patrol cars, making it harder for criminals to notice them approaching.

Along with their impact on community relations and visibility, bike patrol is drastically more cost
effective and environmentally safe than patrol cars. A fully outfitted bike costs around $1500,
requires no gas, and is lower maintenance, while also providing a significantly lower carbon
intake than patrol cars. Even at an average cost of $2500 per bike, which includes bike training
and bike maintenance, a police or security department can put a team of approximately 15-20
officers on bicycles for the price of one patrol unit. Even further, bike patrol units provide a
physical health benefit for patrol officers who have to stay active during their entire shift as they
are constantly cycling throughout their communities.

At American Bike Patrol Service, we are dedicated to serving law enforcement by covering any
needs when it comes to bike patrol. With over 25 years in the industry, hundreds of officers
trained from police departments, security agencies, military and private corporations, we
continue to utilize the knowledge we have gained from our experiences and years of product
testing in order to ensure that all clients are receiving the finest products and services that align
with their specific budget and needs. We as a company strive to help ensure safety within
communities by offering law enforcement and security with the best bike patrol services they
can receive.

 

ADDING VALUE TO YOUR BIDS AND PROPOSALS

Debbie Trecek Volkens, TEAM Software, CALSAGA Network Partner

Lowest bid technically acceptable is a painful part of the industry we work in. It’s why, sometimes, strategic initiatives to become more efficient fall to the back burner: initial investments in time and resources can seem like an unnecessary burden when you’re struggling to fill shifts and keep operating expenses within budget. 

The catch twenty-two about a back-burner approach, though, is that you cannot lower your costs and grow your profit without taking that first step towards efficiency. One tactic you can use to kickstart the process is to look at your business proposals and highlight where an efficiency-driving solution can bring direct value to your clients. Look at these five key areas of need your prospective clients are asking for and add information to your bids to strengthen your proposals. 

Qualified Guards On Site. 

Your clients are ensuring guards with the right qualifications are filling the needs of their contracts in order to create the safest and most secure environment possible. Demonstrate how you record and track certifications of officers, and send notifications when certifications are due to be updated. 

Reduced Liability And Risk. 

Incidents and risk open your clients up to liability and lawsuits. Demonstrate how you help shoulder that responsibility of welfare by monitoring where and when an officer is onsite (and how you have evidence via location tracking technology, checkpoint documentation or rich media like photos and video to back up your claims). Be prepared to offer daily shift reports to provide visibility and quality assurance, and showcase your safety procedures and automated communication flows so you can keep your clients aware of an unfolding incident and resolution status. 

Communication, Response Times And Customer Service. 

If there is an incident on site, your client needs it to be resolved appropriately and quickly. You should be able to send quick messages (like texts, emails or phone calls) securely to individual officers, or to larger patrol teams. Emergency communication automations can be leveraged to support your resolution practices and bring examples of reporting materials (like activity logs, incident reports and inspections). Ask questions about what your prospective client’s current procedure looks like and show them how reporting tools can be configured to their specifications. 

Reputation And Proof Of Service. 

You know software can’t complete physical security tasks for you, but it can improve the quality and consistency of the work you already provide. It can eliminate fraudulent timekeeping practices (like buddy punching) and ensure billable work is transparent and accurate. It can record your scope of work and identify areas of improvement. It can improve scheduling and reduce overtime (billable and non-billable). And, it proves it’s delivering in all of these areas through reporting and analytics tools as an asset to support your company’s reputation. 

Cost-Effective Services. 

It’s likely your clients don’t care what tools you’re using to get the job done. But, showcasing the value software brings to these areas can strengthen the value your company brings to your bidding proposal. Your data working together in one system helps drive efficiencies to your bottom line, meaning you can more competitively bid contracts. Then, you can pass that on to your customers, who win by gaining the best quality of service at the best price. 

When it’s clear the value outweighs the costs, you’ll have strengthened your competitive position and achieved an advantage.

 

Debbie joined TEAM in 2020 and works as a content marketing specialist. Her goal is to connect the dots between industry needs and product solutions through engaging, educational and valuable content. Debbie holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from Peru State College, where she graduated summa cum laude.

SECURITY AND THE RISING TIDE OF CRIME IN THE RETAIL INDUSTRY

Debbie Howlett, TrackTik, Network Partner

Theft has always been an issue for the retail industry. In the past few months, incidents have been rising in several U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and more.

But the rising tide of theft has become more bold and violent in recent months, often taking place in crowded stores in broad daylight by mobs or gangs of thieves. These incidents are forcing an industry already plagued with pandemic lockdowns and disputes over mask requirements to deal with yet another problem.

Rising Statistics

A report released by the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Buy Safe America Coalition, The Impact of Organized Retail Crime and Product Theft in the United States, provides insights into the actual economic impact of retail crime. The report also discusses the role of organized theft rings that steal merchandise in large quantities to fence on online marketplaces like Amazon and Facebook. 

According to the study, which relied on data provided by some of the largest retailers in the U.S:

  • As much as $68.9 billion worth of products were stolen from retailers in 2019 (pre-COVID).
  • Retail crime results in $125.7 billion in lost economic activity and 658,375 fewer jobs, paying almost $39.3 billion in wages and benefits to workers.  
  • Retail theft costs federal and state governments nearly $15 billion in personal and business tax revenues, not including the lost sales taxes.
San Francisco, Los Angeles Hit Hard by Smash-and-Grab Theft 

Off-duty police officers have been moonlighting as private retail security for years. Still, the city of San Francisco has recently approved a plan to allow off-duty sheriff deputies to be hired as private retail security officers to help deal with the spate of smash-and-grab robberies that have hit the Golden City. 

According to one California-based private security firm, Omni Private Security Services, demand skyrockets in major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. They are having trouble keeping up with the demand as retailers deal with an onslaught of smash-and-grab robberies.

In late November of this year, a security officer was shot as he protected a San Francisco Bay Area news crew covering a recent robbery where thieves broke into a clothing store in yet another smash-and-grab theft in the city. In recent months, robberies in the area have become more brazen and violent. According to the California Retailers Association president, Rachel Michelin, “This level of violence has taken it to a whole new level. No one has seen this before.”

In November, over $1 billion worth of goods were stolen from Bay Area stores in smash-and-grab robberies.  In Union Square, luxury retailers like Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom, Burberry, Bloomingdales, Walgreens, and Lululemon – all victims of recent smash-and-grab robberies – have boarded up windows to prevent further incidents. 

As shoppers filled Union Square on Black Friday, heavy police and private security presence were visible outside the boarded-up stores. At the Nordstroms in Walnut Creek, 80 people raided the store and stole merchandise in under one minute, and three employees were kicked, punched, or pepper-sprayed during the incident. At a press conference, Chief Bill Scoot of the SFPD said, “We will flood this area with police officers for the foreseeable future. We will do what we need to do to put an end to this madness.”

In San Francisco’s famous Chinatown, one small independent retailer had $250,000 worth of jewelry stolen in another smash-and-grab incident. With insurance unwilling to cover the loss, it’s unclear whether or not the store can remain open. 

Similar incidents have been reported in the city of Los Angeles. Eight thieves ransacked a Home Depot and grabbed hammers, crowbars, and sledgehammers before fleeing. Bottega Veneta, which sells high-end clothing, was also targeted by thieves. More than $338,000 in goods were stolen in 11 incidents in stores and malls over the Black Friday weekend, causing an additional $40,000 in property damage. 

The thefts, or “flash robs,”  are thought to be part of sophisticated criminal networks that recruit people to steal merchandise and sell it online. Walgreens plans to close five San Francisco stores due to organized retail theft, having already shuttered ten stores in the city. 

Chicago Neighborhood Residents Take Security into Their Own Hands

In the Chicago neighborhood of Bucktown, a group of private armed security guards is set to begin patrolling in an attempt to deal with a rise in carjackings and crime this year. Last month, alone, over 20 armed robberies occurred in the neighborhood. 

In Oakbrook, a Nordstrom was the target of two smash-and-grab burglaries on the same day, while a nearby Louis Vuitton shop by targetted by 14 thieves who stole $120,000 of merchandise. Thieves pulled out garbage bags from their coats and filled them up upon entering the store. Similar robberies have occurred throughout the city at high-end car dealerships and along Chicago’s famous, magnificent mile. 

10 Quick Tips for Making Smash-and-Grab Robberies More Difficult
  1. Hire a security firm to dispatch officers during high-traffic times. The physical presence of a security officer often acts as a deterrent to would-be thieves. Most security firms rely on a security workforce management solution to dispatch officers and communicate with them at all times during a shift.
  2. Equip your officers with state-of-the-art tools and technology to ensure your officers’ safety, like real-time incident reporting and video recording, GPS tracking, checkpoint notifications, and a panic button.
  3. Use an access control system or door buzzer so you can control access to the store, or make sure an alarm sounds when someone enters or exits the store.
  4. Install a video surveillance system with hidden and visible cameras around the premises. Place signage in windows announcing that you have a 24-hour surveillance system in place with footage monitored at all times.
  5. Work with your security firm to analyze data from the security workforce management solution to spot trends, or any areas in or around the store that might provide an easier target for thieves.
  6. Make sure multiple employees are moving around the store at all times. Position an ambassador at the front of the store to greet customers as they enter and immediately offer customer service. The extra attention could be a deterrent to a would-be criminal.
  7. Spread high-value merchandise in showcases throughout the store instead of displaying these items together in one area.
  8. Consider using burglary-resistant glass for your showcase. While it isn’t a foolproof solution, the glass will potentially slow down would-be robbers who want to be in and out of the store as quickly as possible.
  9. Don’t put all the high-value items in one area of the store or showroom. Spread it throughout the store to make it difficult to “grab” all at once. 
  10. Less is more. Don’t overcrowd your window display or storefront with merchandise. Make sure employees can see people acting suspiciously outside the store and that passersby can see inside in the event of a robbery. 

Retail theft is nothing new, but the population is growing weary in a country fed up with a seemingly endless pandemic, lockdowns, mask mandates, and supply chain issues. Like frontline workers in the healthcare industry, security officers are also under enormous pressure to protect the communities, people, and properties they serve. Over the next few weeks, please show your appreciation for the incredible job they have done over the past 21 months to keep us all safe. Say Hello, or Thanks.  

About TrackTik

TrackTik was founded in 2013 and quickly established itself as a market leader with the mission to build better software so its clients can run smarter businesses. TrackTik’s cloud-based technology enables security organizations to connect frontline staff, back office management, and their clients to drive improved operational efficiency and data insights. TrackTik helps security professionals make automated, data-driven decisions with its seamless approach to system connectivity. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, with offices in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, TrackTik offers four integrated suites of tools – Security Operations for Guarding, Back Office Management, Mobile Patrol and Dispatch, and Business Intelligence & Reporting Analytics, to help security service companies follow the progression of guards, reduce manual tasks, lower costs, and demonstrate value.

 

Debbie Howlett
TrackTik

Debbie is an experienced writer with a demonstrated history of working in the security industry. She is based in Montreal, Canada, with TrackTik—a dynamic and cutting-edge tech company that sells cloud-based security workforce management software.

debbie.howlett@tracktik.com
Twitter: @TrackTik