A Guide to Bullet Proof Vests for the Security Industry
Those in the private security sector might want to look to vests in order to stay protected
- By Chris Taylor
- Oct 19, 2015
The hazards of the private security industry are well known. Law enforcement officers that work for local, state and federal governments have certain protective advantages. They are protected by the institutional power of the state-- everyone knows that harming them comes with serious consequences. In most cases, their uniform communicates this status to potential attackers.
Those in the private security industry, however, are afforded no such benefits. Working for private companies or individuals, these operatives often blend into the general public, and criminals aren't afraid to shoot at them-- an estimated 80 private security officers were killed in 2013.
At this point, it's a no-brainer for someone working in this sector to make use of a bullet proof vest. Different occupations require different protections, however, so read on to see what these interesting niches require.
Whether you're working the door at a popular nightclub or at an upscale apartment building, it's your job to control who enters the premises, and what goes on immediately outside. But door supervisors face a challenge that is common in the private security industry-- they need to be constantly minimizing risk to their clients, but they will also ideally keep their clients at ease by not calling attention to threats.
97% of door supervisors report being threatened by violence, according to a recent report on violence against door supervisors . Aside from the physical damage of attacks, the psychological damage of constant threats can be crippling-- the right protection brings peace of mind.
Because the majority of attacks are non-ballistic, a covert bullet proof vest that also protects against blades and spikes will be the best option for door supervisors.
Overnight building guards
Overnight guards are the most likely to encounter burglars. Although many burglars are unarmed and will flee at the first sight of a guard, this is not always the case-- the most audacious will be carrying firearms.
Upon seeing a guard and panicking, there's no telling what a burglar will do. Many guards have lost their lives after being senselessly shot when interrupting an attempted heist. Fortunately, many private security guards do wear bullet proof vests-- a security guard in Phoenix was saved by a bullet proof vest just this past November.
It's rare (though possible) that an overnight building guard or retail security guard would face a rifle or armor piercing round, so some soft armor rated to stop handguns and knives will be the best option. A level IIIa vest is optimal, because the level of protection minimizes blunt force trauma. This will allow the guard to recover faster if hit, allowing him to return fire, which will cause the criminal to turn and run.
In the digital age, financial institutions are increasingly worried about cybercrime, but in-person bank robberies remain a very real threat. For guards working in bank security, forgoing a bullet proof vest is not advisable.
According to the 2014 FBI Bank Crime statistics, weapons were used in 961 bank robberies in 2014. 930 of those weapons used were firearms. Bank security guards are often uniformed to broadcast their presence and deter attacks. However, for a bank robber determined to go through with the deed, this often makes guards an obvious first target for violence.
This makes matters difficult, because bank robberies may not be evident until things are already in motion. This makes constant protection very important. Due to long shifts and the constant need for vigilance, the lightest, most comfortable bulletproof vest may be advisable.
Covert protection can have the advantage of surprise. If a criminal doesn't know the guard is wearing a bullet proof vest, he can assume the guard has been neutralized with a simple shot to the torso. Having a criminal think you're neutralized when you are not can be a game-changing tactical advantage.
On the other hand, wearing an overt carrier that is clearly ready to handle heavy weapons can deter criminals casing the joint and cause them to target other banks. Furthermore, if your bank is at risk of facing serious attacks, SAPI plates will protect against brazen assaults like the North Hollywood Shootout.