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 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’s article on the whole thing, too. They’re pretty smart.


  1. I am an Operations Manager for a large security company in the southeast region of the United States. Most of our accounts are hospitals and we are seeing more and more combative patients arriving at these hospitals and causing harm to our guards who are trying to protect not only the patient but also the hospital staff. Even the patients friends and relatives become hostile do to the hospital rules and regulations in which as security officers, we are to follow and explain and support the rules by asking the guest and patients to follow or we will call the police. Well, by the time the police arrive to help de-escalate the problem, our officer has already been spit on, kicked in the groin, slapped, punched, thrown to the floor and stepped on. So far none of our security officers have been killed or mortally wounded. But what up sets me is these hospitals will not let security carry and type of self defense weapons. No guns, no tazers, no batons, no hand cuffs, no O.C. spray. They want us to be peace patrol. To me, this is an accident or train wreck waiting to happen. The hospital is making security look stupid and silly as the patients laugh at us and threaten us all in the same breathe. We are nothing more than security monitors with a big RED bull’s-eye strapped to our backs.
    You see, the almighty dollar is more important than a human being. Unarmed security saves the client money but an armed officer will cost the client more money due to a weapon involved. It is all about money, not saving lives. Shame on these Administrators!!
    If a shooter came into one of these hospitals, he or she would be able to kill 50 or more people before the police got there or before he or she killed themselves.. Is this what it is going to take to let security have back their weapons? We are doomed +++

  2. I was in Spectrum Hospital Butterworth campus Grand Rapids, Mi yesterday walked up to the elevator- stairwell enclosure on the door was the sign ” Weapons Free Facility”
    This to protect our Patients and Staff
    In a safe environment.
    Wording may not be exact but you get the gist of it. I’m life member of Michigan Open Carry and I thought as much and didn’t bring my gun into the building. I had it in my truck and carried everywhere else in Grand Rapids yesterday no questions asked.
    My thoughts going through the building where I had just read a security assessment on ISIS and other terrorist threats and the tactical advantages for them to attack a hospital would be top priority with so many advantages it was mind boggling. Basic first place to takeover, sends the biggest message to the minions, look what we can do. Look at the Iranian Parliament Bldg. Big success for them.
    It’s the first place there should be guns in more the better, if they wanted to know, check to see if you have a gun on you okay!! go just in case your needed how hard is that. Now visualize this terrorist walks up going to get looked at or asked you think they are going play all nicey -nice no their going to attack right from the get go.

    Also for you who know more on security I’ve always used the exit stairwells for running up and down when there I can get to the floor I need faster. They put in numbered keypads for getting out of the stairwell onto the floor now, I lucked out as a man was using the exit for lunch and opened the door to get into the stairwell. Danger, Danger, What about blocked stairwell need to exit out onto a floor ? Just saying. This mainly in response to R.Allen others are welcome for their input.

  3. Just wanted to say that I’m the widow of a homicide victim! I’m 47 years old and a recent widow. My husband Mark S. Santee Jr. was murdered April 26, 2016 In Las Vegas, Nv., while on post at an apt. Complex under construction as security. This property and the security company had a responsibility to ensure the safeness of the employees. To have an adequate number of security personnel for the size of the property, Mark was alone and unarmed! The employer should of supplied all necessary equipment needed, including proper surveillance cameras, that can view site areas from your smart phone. Baton, mace etc. The contracted property had poor lighting, un-staked fencing, part of property had no cameras! I knew from the moment that I was told Mark was dead, that there was no way that this robbery was random, as stated in the news! The suspects were stealing flat panel tv’s, stored in an unfinished apt. On the darkest, most isolated and no cameras. I was never really told how the suspects knew about the tv’s, but after questioning the Det. about the person that had to of helped this crime take place, they did find the person and they confessed to their roll. Turns out that in some the person worked for the property in some way, they were in charge of moving the tv’s. This person has not been charge with anything pertaining to my husbands murder! I want people, security companies and properties to know and understand that this is a highly dangerous job, that if you do employ or contract for security to take it serious. Security companies should know better than to just have the warm body attitude! If the security company that Mark worked for had taken the responsibility seriously, supplied adequate personnel for the property and a necessary proper equipment, my husband would of seen the robbery taking place from a safe distance on his phone and would of called metro! The was an observe and report post! Instead, he was doing his last property check and ran into the suspects, where in a matter of moments, they shot him in the back of the head 4 times! I know that my husband died between 9:30pm & 10:30pm, but he was not found untill close to 12:30pm! No one really cared or bothered to think something happened! His employer even texted and left a message stating why did you leave property, his gps phone was stolen and so was his wallet. I’ll admit to being angry, livid and want retribution against the security company and the property. They could of prevented this from happening or at least made it safer to do the job! I know there are good security companies, but there are the ones where money is the motivating factor, not safety or someone’s life! I’m still trying to find an attorney to hire to help my family sue for wrongful death negligence tort, but it is not easy to find one to do pro-bono and even look at the evidence from the det. and what I have! Everything I know about wrongful death negligence tort, I LEARNED ON MY OWN! Mark S. Santee Jr. Was 48 years old, a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a grandfather. He did not get to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary or this year 2017, would be his 50th birthday! Please note that the suspects in Mark’s case have criminal histories!

    • I’m sorry for what happened to your husband. I’m a security officer myself.. Going armed in a week doing my best to go home to my family every day… R. I. P MARK

  4. First, I am so sorry for your loss, and ours. It never ceases to amaze me…

    Second, based on what you stated, I do not expect you would have much trouble finding representation to go after those responsible and accountable, possibly even class action. Politics, as always, rules the day, so you may have to look into the background or expand the search area outside the immediate area.

    Good luck.


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