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Unarmed Vs Armed Guard Understanding Your Security Options

August 26, 2023

Security Services

In the current climate, safety threats appear to be on the rise. A cursory glance at U.S. daily news reveals a startling number of physical violence incidents, many involving weapons of various types. Yet, despite the evident risks, numerous establishments opt for unarmed security service company to safeguard their premises. While this can be a starting point in security measures, there’s a clear distinction in the training and expertise unarmed guards bring to the table compared to their armed counterparts.

In this piece, we’ll delve into the core differences when weighing up armed versus unarmed security options.

Unarmed vs Armed Security: Making the Right Choice for Your Business

Unarmed security personnel don’t possess firearms. They might, however, have other non-lethal means of protection such as batons or pepper sprays. Some might even be equipped with Tasers. These guards are often preferred for roles where the threat level is minimal, like monitoring retail stores, overseeing school environments, or conducting video surveillance.

On the flip side, armed guards are typically equipped with firearms and undergo rigorous training for their roles. Businesses with heightened security concerns, like banks, tech companies, large healthcare facilities, or courtrooms, often employ these guards.

Evaluating Your Business’s Security Needs

The primary distinction between the two is the authorization of armed guards to use lethal force if required. Therefore, assess the vulnerability of your business. For higher-threat environments, armed personnel could be the ideal choice. 

Some instances where armed security might be necessary include:

  • Businesses with luxury items or high-end merchandise
  • Establishments handling large cash transactions
  • Venues hosting large, publicized events
  • Companies requiring the transportation of valuable items
  • Locations in high-crime zones

Residential buildings or hotels with significant footfall

  • A sense of security among employees working in such environments can enhance their productivity and overall well-being.

Unarmed Security for Safer Environments

For businesses with lower security risks, particularly those not under the threat of violent crimes, unarmed personnel are usually more apt. Their mere presence is a deterrent in many scenarios. 

Such guards can effectively oversee:

  • Educational institutions and places of worship
  • Traffic and event management
  • Recreational areas like parks and swimming pools

Cultural centers like museums or art galleries

  • These environments primarily face issues like theft or vandalism, which tend to reduce when any security presence is observable.

Aligning Security with Business Type

As you aim for business growth, ensuring customer comfort is pivotal. Remember, a security guard’s presence might comfort some while alarming others. It’s essential to gauge customer reactions based on your business type.

Projecting the Appropriate Image

Selecting the right security can not only ensure safety but also convey the intended message to your clientele. Armed security might unsettle some in specific settings, making them question the environment’s safety. Conversely, in other scenarios, it might offer reassurance.

Armed Security Presence

In places where high-value transactions occur, people often feel more secure with armed personnel around. This is evident in banks, premium retail outlets, and tech shops, where the risk of theft is heightened.

Unarmed Security Presence

In relaxed environments like parks or museums, an armed guard might be overkill and could make patrons uneasy. Similarly, in standard retail areas like shopping plazas or boutiques, unarmed personnel usually suffice to ward off minor offenses, offering a sense of security without causing alarm.

Budgeting for Security

Cost is a crucial factor when considering security. Typically, armed guards command a higher rate due to their specialized training and the associated risks.

Expenses for Armed Personnel

Given their weapon-carrying responsibility, these guards need comprehensive training, making them pricier. Plus, the potential risks involved mean businesses might need to foot additional bills for liability coverage.

Unarmed Personnel Expenditure

Unarmed personnel are more budget-friendly because of lesser training requirements and no need for liability insurance. Their roles include surveillance, customer assistance, access control, and sometimes reception duties. For smaller enterprises, this is often a more economical choice, ensuring safety without stretching the budget.

Contrasting Unarmed and Armed Security Roles

At its core, the distinction between unarmed and armed guards is straightforward: the latter is equipped with weapons, while the former isn’t. While unarmed personnel might possess non-lethal means of defense, they lack what can be termed as dangerous weaponry. In fact, the best armed security service in LA, conversely, are equipped to counteract a broad spectrum of threats, ensuring their own safety and that of others.

Now, let’s delve deeper into the nuances that differentiate these two security roles.

1. Professional Standards

Taking on the role of an armed guard is no light responsibility. Given the potential harm their weapons could cause if misused, these guards are subjected to rigorous screenings.

In contrast, the bar for becoming an unarmed guard is comparatively lower. While anyone with basic training can venture into unarmed security, armed personnel undergo a more thorough evaluation of their skills and proficiency.

2. Training Depth

Top-tier security firms ensure that their guards are well-trained. Nevertheless, the training depth varies between unarmed and armed personnel. Basic training for unarmed guards typically encompasses routine patrolling and spotting suspicious activities.

Armed guards, however, receive advanced training that equips them to handle weapons safely and neutralize threats effectively.

3. Deterrence Through Presence

An armed guard’s mere presence can act as a potent crime deterrent. The sight of weapons can make potential criminals think twice, reducing their audacity to act with ill intentions.

Unfortunately, unarmed guards sometimes don’t command the same level of respect due to prevalent stereotypes, as seen in the common portrayal of “mall cops”. An armed guard, professionally dressed and visibly armed, exudes authority and is far more likely to be taken seriously.

4. Intimidation Factor

A criminal’s calculus changes drastically when confronted with an armed guard. The mere presence of a guard equipped to respond with force can deter a would-be offender, making them think twice about the viability of their criminal intent.

5. Capacity to Handle Intense Scenarios

Unarmed guards manage minor disturbances and liaise with law enforcement, but they have limited capacity against more severe threats.

Armed guards have advanced training and weapons, positioning them better to handle high-risk situations. They train to navigate perilous circumstances, either alone or in a group, ensuring maximum protection.

6. Levels of Support

Unarmed guards handle low-risk situations effectively, drawing on their training and resources. In contrast, armed guards, with their specialized training and tools, become indispensable when facing genuine threats.

7. Safety for Assets and Individuals

In an era marked by escalating physical threats, both to individuals and properties, robust security responses are paramount. Although unarmed guards play a role in specific contexts, the growing consensus leans towards armed security as a more comprehensive solution. Proactive defense mechanisms, such as deploying well-trained armed personnel, can deter crime and, more importantly, save lives.

The Road Ahead

In a nutshell, in a world where the unexpected looms around every corner, ensuring safety is more than just a necessity—it’s a prerogative. Moreover, the best private security companies can provide both unarmed and armed security personnel who play pivotal roles in different scenarios. However, the nature of the threats we face today demands a more nuanced approach to security decisions. Whether it’s the visible deterrent of an armed guard or the subtle surveillance of an unarmed one, organizations and individuals must weigh their specific needs against the capabilities of these professionals. In essence, it’s not just about choosing security; it’s about selecting the right kind of protection that aligns with the challenges at hand. As we move forward, let’s make security choices that are proactive, informed, and, above all, effective in safeguarding our communities and assets.

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