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US: More Security Officers than Police Officers Killed on Duty

It’s easy to forget, at times, but security officers also die on duty – not just law enforcement and police. It hasn’t really been possible to look those stats up anywhere, until now. The ODMP.org says 126 police officers died while on duty last year, but there’s something in that number which is hard to see at first glance; that includes natural causes, as well as crimes. So let’s look a little harder;

Private Officer International (POI) has started keeping track of private security officer deaths on duty, concentrating mostly on so-called “feloniously killed” officers. That means they’ve been shot, stabbed, run over, run down, beaten to death, pushed off buildings and so on. According to POI, 112 private security officers were killed last year, whereas (according to the FBI’s own statistics), 72 police officers suffered the same fate in the same period. So what’s going on?

To Kill a Security Guard

More and more, security officers are the first responders to accidents, incidents, crime scenes and all the other things that can and will happen in a shopping mall, a residential area, outlets, bars and nightclubs. The number of security officers far exceeds the number of police, and they’re usually closer, they’re more accessible, and the threshold for calling them over the police is much lower. That’s all the way it’s supposed to be.

They’re also easier to assault, abuse and/or kill.

Assaulting a police officer is a much more serious offence, in most countries, than assaulting a security guard. An assault that would lead to jail time if done to a police officer, will most likely lead to fines or even just warnings (or probation) if done to a security officer. In addition, the level of training that the starting security guard receives isn’t sufficient for anyone expected to handle a first responder role or situation – by far.

Not surprisingly, a number of the reported assaults on private security guards happened in hospitals…

The POI (also, please don’t visit they’re website unless you want an instant and powerful flashback to webdesign in 1996) says it’s still compiling and analyzing 2012 data, and because of the reluctance in some companies to report their assaults and deaths numbers, the actual number could and probably should be anywhere from 12 to 20% higher than the one they will report. Keep that in mind.

The Stats from POI (so you won’t have to go to their site…)

  • Injuries and assaults saw a 17 percent increase over 2011.
  • There were 112 on-duty deaths.
  • 103 killed were male; nine were female.
  • The media age of those killed was 46 years old; the youngest was 19.
  • The top three places officers were killed were: nightclubs, residential areas, and retail centers.
  • The top three places officers were assaulted were: retail centers, nightclubs, and hospitals.
  • Top three causes of death were gunshots (65), trauma (14), and stabbing (9).
  • There were four on-duty confirmed suicides.

To Survive as a Security Guard

If you’re a security guard or security officer of some kind, and you feel like you’ve got a desire to beat the statistics, there are a few things you should probably start doing right away. First of all, don’t kill yourself. It’s a sad, sad thing when someone does that, and it doesn’t help our stats or your survivability either.

Second, immediately see if your company has a training officer or department, and contact them to see what kind of courses might be available to you. Also see if there are organizations in your city or state or country that provide security training, what those courses cost and how much of that cost your employer is willing to take. We’re not talking about your mandatory training, whatever that means where you live. First aid classes, negotiation, conflict handling, self defense, heart starter certification and so on. Those are the things to go for.

Selling this to your employer and getting them to pay for it can be hard, and we’ll get back to that in a later post, we promise.

The second part of this is to remember what you’re actually paid, and start acting like it. You’re not paid enough to give your life over a bank vault or a night safe, or the armload of Twinkies that junkie is running out with, diving through that window he broke on the way in. Stay put, and call the cops. They took an oath.

Check out SecurityManagement.com’s article on the whole thing, too. They’re pretty smart.

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