Security by upgrading your buildings appearance and guests comfort

Hanita reflective
Hanita Tint

Looking for a cost-effective way to give your building a facelift? An energy-efficiency upgrade with solar control window films not only improves a building’s energy performance, it can also dramatically enhance its appearance.

From renovating the appearance of demetallized panes and hiding unsightly blinds or curtains, to updating the look of 1970s gold glass, window film can transform a building’s façade at a fraction of what it would cost to replace the glazing system.

And as solar window films drastically upgrade your building’s exterior, they also help to maintain the beauty and comfort of its interior. While large expanses of glass create interiors with lots of natural light, direct UV radiation and heat exposure can significantly shorten the life of furniture, works of art, curtains, and carpets. The resultant unsightly fading gives rooms a shabby and neglected feeling – not to mention that UV rays, uninhibited by regular window glazing, pose a health risk to building occupants and lower their general level of well-being and comfort.

Solar control window films block up to 99% of UV rays and reduce ambient heat while retaining natural light and views. By doing so, they can help limit damage from fading, protect occupants’ skin and eyes from the dangerous effects of the sun and create a more pleasant and comfortable indoor ecology. Many manufacturers offer a range of highly energy efficient Dual Reflective films, which cut glare by up to 92% but maintain a neutral, less reflective interior to preserve the view outside.

And with less heat penetrating through windows on sunny aspects, there are fewer hotspots and more even room temperatures. This frees up window-side space for full functionality, especially important in commercial, retail and educational settings.

So whether your goal is to enhance your building’s aesthetic appearance, or to increase guest comfort and satisfaction, solar windows give you both – all the while improving your energy efficiency and significantly lowering your maintenance costs.

Safety & Security with great looks. Call today!

Litigation Support Legal Investigations

We believe that the ability to obtain and/or protect information is critical to the success of your case. The investigation source you utilize must be accurate, resourceful, and cost-effective with an in-depth understanding of the litigation process. The Van Gorp Group (VGG) Litigation Support Legal Investigations Team works in concert with legal counsel to uncover critical information to expedite your proceedings.

Van Gorp Group, Van Gorp, anthony, Ben, security, security company
Litigation Support Legal Investigations

VGG has conducted hundreds of complex investigations for international corporations, law firms, financial institutions, insurance companies and public agencies. Our team provides powerful and focused evidence through comprehensive investigations, database/internet research, forensics, and surveillance. VGG provides professional, reliable services while adhering to ethical and legal protocols.

The unit leadership teams include Anthony (Tony) Van Gorp started his career with local law enforcement working himself through college and ultimately to the position Deputy Chief of Investigations with the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office. Anthony also served as a Director of a Fortune 500 Insurance SIU prior to the inception of Investigative Solutions. Tony holds an M.S., Management from National-Louis University, School of Business Administration and Management, Wheaton, Illinois.

Our investigators have been working as a Licensed Private Investigator since 2002 and have a wide range of experience with a variety of private sector cases specializing in cases in anticipation of litigation, including, Tort cases, Theft and Fraud Detection, Insurance Claims and SIU related cases, Background Investigations, Financial Research, Criminal Defense (including Capital Cases, Homicides and Drug Trafficking Cases) Personal Injury, Traffic Accidents, Industrial Accidents, Missing Persons, Fugitive Recovery, Child Abductions, Runaways, Child Custody, Divorce, Contract Disputes, Commercial Security, Copyrights and Franchise Violations, Undercover Operations and Surveillance Operations. Our staff of investigators are highly motivated and experienced. 

The Services we provide include:

  • Civil & Criminal
  • Consulting
  • Executive Protection
  • Process Service
  • Supervised Visits
  • Complex Financial Investigations
  • Computer Forensics
  • Corporate Fraud
  • Divorce
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Spousal Support
  • Expert Witness
  • Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM)

Support your legal strategy by investigating adverse parties, their claims, and backgrounds – prior to litigation or during legal proceedings.

Hostile Terminations – what to do?

Hostile terminations – I recently read an article at by Heather R. Huhman entitled 4 Secrets to Firing Your First Employee. I enjoyed reading the article and it brought back a lot of memories from my first firing. Back in the “good old days” I never even thought about an adverse reaction other than maybe a tongue lashing or a poke in the nose but things have changed. Of course, that is not to say that tragedies didn’t occur from related terminations but the frequency and severity have increased in hostile terminations.

Hostile Terminations

According to studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 22 percent of workplace homicides involve former employees, as compared to approximately 43 percent involving current employees, while 21 percent involve domestic disputes between employee and non-employees and 14 percent involve customers or clients. According to these workplace violence statistics; companies are almost twice as likely to be targeted by a current employee as by an employee who was terminated. Based on this it is not only a concern for companies that are in the midst of layoffs but all companies; workplace violence education, planning, and response need to be a constant concern.

 Warning Signs

  • Direct or veiled threats of harm.
  • Intimidating, belligerent, harassing, bullying, or other inappropriate and aggressive behavior.
  • Numerous conflicts with a supervisor or other employees.
  • Bringing weapons to the workplace, brandishing a weapon, making inappropriate reference to guns, or a fascination with weapons.
  • Comments or fascination about an incidence of workplace violence, statements indicating approval of workplace violence to resolve a problem, identifying with the perpetrators of violence.
  • Statements indicating desperation (over family, financial or personal problems) to the point of committing suicide.
  • Drug/alcohol use.
  • Extreme changes in behavior

What To Do

The first step in preventing workplace violence should be to establish clear workplace violence policies, ensure they are widely communicated, rehearsed, and strictly followed. An active shooter plan should be established and rehearsed. Any and all threats of violence expressed by employees must be taken seriously, even those that appear innocuous at first. Employees, managers, and human resources personnel must be educated about workplace violence and encouraged to report all threats or other overt signs immediately. A false alarm is better than no alarm.

Schedule an appointment to review your policies or let us help you develop a plan of action.

Fortifying Police Department Security


Bomb mitigation
Bomb blast mitigation is no longer cost prohibitive

Fortifying Police Department Security seems to be a key topic with law enforcement administrators around the country and possibly the world. In the light of situations like Ferguson and the recent terror attacks in this country and the world, I am convinced this is a topic that should be addressed rapidly.

Gone are the days of just having security cameras and key code locks. Bomb barriers and security screens are vital in today’s world. In an article I was recently reading, an owner of a company that sold bullet resistant glass was quoted as saying “I’m often surprised by how many police stations in this country lack bullet-resistant glass or building materials,” he says. “But it really wasn’t a consideration for many people until a few months ago when they had those shootings in Detroit.” referencing the tragic event that left officers dead and wounded. The reality is Detroit is in a financial state that new bullet resistant glass is probably not an option for it and many other municipalities. Maslow’s hammer popularly phrased as “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” may be in play. Municipal buildings must be fortified but are there cost effective options.

Bullet resistant glass is necessary for various areas, but Safety and Security film or Clear Bar with SafetyZone security films may be a cost effective options in areas of the building that are not in the first line of defense. Windows that do not bypass strategic lines of defense in the building may be covered with these films. With a proper anchoring system, the film would provide additional protection and penetration time in the case of a full out attack of the building. The value of adding solar reflective window film with one way privacy tint will not only reduce energy cost but mask the room’s occupancy to confuse potential attackers trying to identify multiple targets.

Lastly, depending on the film, it would also provide bomb blast capabilities, keeping in mind that terrorism and crime aren’t the only cause of blasts and explosions. Many police departments are located in areas that may include businesses that involve industrial accidents, for instance, chemical production facilities or oil refineries, or other explosions with damage extending well beyond the center of the explosion, often in a radius of thousands of feet. In these situations, the vast majority of secondary blast injuries are caused by shards of flying glass. One product Hanita’s safety and security films and accredited Advanced Security Solutions deliver outstanding performance — mitigating the risk of flying glass and protecting lives, industrial buildings, and sites around the world.

Another cost effective alternative to bullet resistant glass is security screens for doors and windows in less vital areas that need fortification like sally ports, generators, radio rooms, equipment closets, control rooms, rear entry doors and office windows. By this product providing security for entry/access and rapid open capabilities, this might be a cost-effective means of providing more security for the rest of the building and not just the main entryway.

Based on the current climate of unrest and protests along with the financial limitations alternatives to the standard answers for security must be found.

Honoring Veterans

Honoring Veterans

veterans, hero, guys
Honoring Veterans

The Van Gorp Group (10971 Four Seasons Pl, Crown Point) provides services linked more directly to former service members than most organizations. “We do executive protection, armed and unarmed security, and investigations,” describes President and owner, Anthony Van Gorp. With the often volatile and, at times, dangerous nature of the work performed by Van Gorp’s employees, those with prior military experience often make ideal candidates. “We have people who have been trained and performed in military environments who know how to react if it gets violent. They don’t get scared, they don’t get intimidated, and they can diffuse bad situations. That training is tremendously important to us.” Having come from a long line of veterans personally, Van Gorp’s respect and gratitude for those who have served in the military have been long ingrained. “I love this country beyond words, so we’ll do anything we can do to help the men and women that make us free.”

While Van Gorp is happy to support veterans, he believes it is the company that benefits from their experience and sacrifice. “It’s truly our privilege and honor to have them working for us. They were with the finest teams available, and we get to use that experience, so we’re blessed to have them working with us.” Whether the job is directly related to one’s past military experience or not, employers are well aware of the crucial attributes and skills gained in the service. Many local companies can agree that veterans are welcome additions to their workforce.

Battlefield Medicine Available Workplace Violence Training

first aid advanced
Workplace Violence Training

Battlefield Medicine, Not Just for Soldiers… Incorporate it into Workplace Violence Training

In today’s world, one cannot be too safe or prepared for any emergency situation that could occur in everyday life.  We have seen an influx in active shooters in the workplace, schools, and shopping centers not to mention lone wolf terrorist explosions in the United States. Not only is the threat of violence surrounding us, but there are natural disasters, car accidents, and major medical emergencies associated with everyday activities.  We may feel safe, but it is naive to believe that you might not find yourself in a bad or dangerous situation. Battlefield Medicine Available Workplace Violence Training

We live in a society when emergencies happen and when they do the average person bunkers down, calls 911, and waits for the cavalry to show up and handle our problems.  The issue with this mindset is those police departments, fire departments, and first responders are strapped for resources, people, and are often overwhelmed with the volume of calls for service.  You and your incident may not be on the top of their priority list because of these factors.  Therefore, it is imperative to be prepared to be trained in maintaining and protecting your own life and security by learning how to be self-sufficient.  How horrible would you feel if you lost a loved one or did not have the skills necessary to help save a life?

The human body holds approximately eight pints of blood.  When an artery or vein is ruptured, the blood will rapidly leave the body causing a catastrophic shutdown of the systems, eventually leading to death.  How fast the blood leaves the body will depend on where the injury occurs and how fast you or someone else does something to stop the blood from coming out.  When there is an injury to an artery, it is possible for the body to lose enough blood to shut the entire system down in two minutes.  That’s right, only two minutes and life could be lost.  Therefore, it is imperative that everyone has a plan and possesses certain skills to help save yourself or those around you in an emergency.  That emergency can happen while you are trimming trees in your backyard, on a hunting trip with your buddies, witness a car accident, or worst case scenario, find yourself in the middle of a terrorist attack or workplace violence act.  There are very simple techniques that can be used that will give you an edge and increase survivability until medical professionals arrive.

The necessary hemorrhage control skills go beyond band-aids and clothes.  Although both of those items are useful in certain settings, there are far better things to use.  There are four core principles to control bleeding: direct pressure, elevation, pressure points, and bandages or blood stopping agents.  For the purposes of this article, we will briefly talk about the first three techniques because you don’t need anything special then we will focus on the final step.  Direct pressure is putting pressure right on the injury to prevent any further blood from escaping; it can be done with your hands, knees, elbows, or any item heavy enough to stop the bleeding and help the body start clotting.  There are numerous pressure points on the body; a pressure point is where a blood vessel and bone intersect, a location where you can press the blood vessel into the bone causing it to restrict the blood flow.  This technique is limited in scope but still useful.  Lastly, when a wound is elevated, it is harder for the heart to pump blood upwards so this technique will slow the bleeding, not stop it.  These techniques can be used on their own or in conjunction with one another.  All useful but just mechanical processes that buy time until you can use medical interventions on the wound.

Tourniquets are designed to completely shut off the blood flow below where it is placed on the body.  This is the only way to stop the bleeding completely.  Think about a running faucet.  You can put things on it to slow it down until you shut off the valve, but the water will not stop running. The same goes for tourniquets.  Tourniquets used to be thought of as last effort items which had negative lasting effects.  That thought has been debunked from 15 years of war and shown to be the most effective lifesaving piece of equipment available with little to no lasting effects on the body.  Another item of interest is the pressure bandage.  The pressure bandage is used in places on the body that are not readily accessible to the tourniquet.  This item will slow the bleeding and help to clot by applying direct pressure to the wound.  Both are outstanding pieces of equipment and very easy to use.  What was once thought of as military items and soldier skills can be applied to anyone and every profession?

Having basic lifesaving skills can be applicable in any and every setting in life.  By using the simple techniques and readily available equipment, you can drastically increase survivability.  If you or your organization would like to learn more about being prepared and having basic lifesaving skills, please contact us here at the Van Gorp Group.  We can tailor make courses that fit your specifications, timetables, and locations.

About the Author

Ben is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Strategic Security, holds a Master’s degree in Public Safety Administration, a Master’s degree Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations, and a Master’s certificate in Emergency Management and Continuity Planning.

Ben is a commissioned officer in the National Guard which is followed by a 12-year career in the United States Marine Corps.  His military career includes two combat tours in Iraq and training/advising tours in Africa, Europe, and South America. He has served in combat units his entire career and has trained and advised fellow soldiers and foreign militaries in weapons, infantry tactics, urban warfare, and anti-terrorism/force protection operations.  He has experience in leadership on multiple echelons with growing levels of responsibility, in charge of a tactical operations center, serving as operations and planning chief for a foreign military’s pre-deployment training program, and served as police trainer for foreign police officers.

Premises Liability/ Inadequate Security

Unbeknownst to many individuals you are entitled to security and safety when you are in a public place, visiting friends or family, and in your workplace. Premises Liability/ Inadequate Security

According to the rule of premises liability law, you are entitled to reasonable assurances of safety and security. 
Some of the dangers that may jeopardize your safety are wet floors, ice on a sidewalk, inadequate lighting or an uneven surface. In the case of Lai Chau, an apartment complex resident two men slipped through the apartment complex security gate and shot Chau. Her attorney was able to recover $15.7 million in damages. Her attorneys successfully proved that the apartment complex owner had been negligent in not providing adequate security, which endangered her and other residents. For time sake we will not go into the numerous examples of negligence and lawsuits.

Often people may ask why sue the owner or possessor of the property rather than the person who committed the violent act or crime like in the case of Chau? In many cases, it is easier for a victim to locate the owner or possessor of property than a stranger who perpetrated a crime. In most cases, the perpetrator of the crime has no tangible assets and it is more likely to have insurance against which a judgment can be enforced so that the damages can actually be recovered.

Premises Liability/ Inadequate Security

It is mandatory to take reasonable precautions against injury and harm to patrons or anyone who is invited to attend events at these premises. In the case involving Chau, her assailants would have been prevented from entering her apartment complex if the owner provided a dependable, and safe security system.

In Illinois, inadequate security laws demand that property owners and their agents provide a safe premises. If they do not, they can be liable for sexual assault, injuries and wrongful deaths that result from inadequate security.

Some examples are:

  • Failure to have security guards posted;
  • Failure to respond to a request for help;
  • Insufficient or inadequate security staff;
  • Malfunctioning, broken, or insufficient door locks in apartment buildings, motels, or hotels;
  • Poor guest and visitor screening;
  • Failure to warn of potential threats;
  • Lack of or broken or malfunctioning phones or security cameras;
  • Inadequate lighting in stairwells and parking lots.

It is in the property owner’s interest especially if there is a history of illegal activities, violence or theft to pay a great deal of attention to the safety on and about their property. In many cases of negligence, foreseeability is a critical issue. In most states, courts will determine foreseeability primarily based on whether there were prior, similar crimes in the same location that the owner or possessor knew or should have known about.

Define Adequate Security?

Although you cannot define adequate security in every situation there are some common security features for violent personal crimes such as:

  • Adequately trained security patrols during business hours or when guests are expected to be at the property
  • Appropriate lighting – Un-repaired lights were not functioning for weeks prior to plaintiff’s assault.
  • Functioning security hardware such as locks, and restricting the ability to hand out duplicate keys to common areas of residential complexes.
  • Security Cameras
  • Background checks on tenants
  • Demonstrating that door or window locks were defective
  • The focus could also involve an employee of the landlord.
  • The negligence allegation may focus on the methods used for hiring, training, and supervising the apartment manager, the leasing consultants, the maintenance personnel, or the security officer

In recent years, statistics have shown that the highest premises liability jury awards have been for sexual assaults and deaths on apartment properties. Ensure your staff has had through backgrounds completed and they are done several times a year. In addition, premises security liability can happen in the following environments:

  • Hotel/Entertainment Establishments
  • Condo/Residential Environments
  • Commercial/Office Buildings
  • Parking/Garage Facilities
  • Hospital/Medical Institution

Prior to making any major business decisions, a business owner should consult an attorney if there has been a crime on the premises to determine whether security measures should be boosted. If the attorney recommends there should be additional measures in place, contact our agency for a complete review and consultation.

Situational Awareness Training

situational awareness, robbery, workplace violence
Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness; More than just knowing where you are at…

Human beings are all creatures of habit.  Most of us wake up at the same time every day, stroll to the coffee machine, and methodically go through our morning routine to start the day.  Our routine takes us on the same route to work, arriving at the same time during the work week, and parking in generally the same spot.  Outside of work we all have our favorite grocery store, barber shop, dry cleaners, and restaurants.  None of this is wrong or bad; we are all more comfortable with what we know and what we know works than the unknown variables of trying something new.  Being comfortable and having a routine is an effective way to manage time and schedule our busy lives.  There is, however, a huge problem with routines, common operating practices, and daily habits – they are all predictable!

You may ask, why is being predictable so bad? I am not a spy in a foreign country trying to gather information and avoid being captured by the enemy, so why does it matter if I do the same thing day after day?  I am going to give you some quick background information about being predictable and how a criminal, terrorist, or just a plain bad person with a nefarious plan can exploit you, your home, or your family.  With prior knowledge and a little extra planning, you can mitigate being a target.

Criminals and terrorists are just as human as the rest of us; they want to take the easiest path to get the maximum prize.  The path of least resistance is born into us no matter who we are or what we do.  Each person has anchor points in their life.  An anchor point is a place that you will always be located at from time to time.  Using the examples above our anchor points include our homes, places of employment, favorite bar or restaurant, and extended family’s or friend’s homes.  These locations can be surveilled, and you can be located by an entity with a plan or enough time to follow you for a period of time.  Anchor points are places that you will always be at so they are easy places for a criminal or terrorist to start their surveillance and attack planning against you. Since it has been established that each of us has anchor points in our life, the next logical step for anyone developing a plan against a person or hard location is to establish a pattern of life.

A pattern of life is simply a snapshot of your daily routine in time or sequential order that shows where you go, what you do, where you frequent, and the places you feel the most comfortable.  It is very easy for other people to track you and build a plan against you when you have a predictable routine, drive the same route to work and arrive at your location at the same time, and go to the same places to eat consistently.  When a bad guy knows exactly when are where you will be, they can not only set up a detailed plan of attack, they have the advantage every time on you because your lack of situational awareness was exploited and they have prior arrangements in place.  Noting your time of departure and return from your home can also be used to plan a break in to steal your belongings or commit an act of violence against you.

So, what’s the solution?  Be late for work every day?  Get rid of your car and rent a new car every week to keep the bad guys guessing? Not have a favorite place to go?  Not at all!  The simplest solution is just making small changes to your daily routine.  Maybe leave ten minutes earlier and drive a different route to work.  Leave different lights on in the house when you leave in the morning.  Try different restaurants during your lunch break or at least do not go the same place every day at the same time.  Park in a different place in parking lots of the places you shop.  The bottom line is just varying up your life.  This does not have to be inconvenient and does not have to be life altering.  As long as you have a basic plan and take simple steps to keep the criminals and terrorists constantly thinking and re-evaluating their targets, they will move on to a person or place that is easier to attack or take advantage of the victim.

If you are interested in learning more about situational awareness or help designing plans to make you, your family, or an organization you are a part of safer and harder to exploit, please get a hold of us here at Van Gorp Group for a free consultation.  Our courses can be tailor made to your specifications, timetables, and locations.

About the Author

Ben_Pepich_civ.jpgBen is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Strategic Security, holds a Master’s degree in Public Safety Administration, a Master’s degree Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations, and a Master’s certificate in Emergency Management and Continuity Planning.

Ben is a commissioned officer in the National Guard which is followed by a 12-year career in the United States Marine Corps.  His military career includes two combat tours in Iraq and training/advising tours in Africa, Europe, and South America. He has served in combat units his entire career and has trained and advised fellow soldiers and foreign militaries in weapons, infantry tactics, urban warfare, and anti-terrorism/force protection operations.  He has experience in leadership on multiple echelons with growing levels of responsibility, in charge of a tactical operations center, serving as operations and planning chief for a foreign military’s pre-deployment training program, and served as police trainer for foreign police officers.

PI, Private Investigator, Litigation Support, Legal Investigator -What’s In a Name?

PI, Private Investigator, Litigation Support, Legal Investigator – What’s In a Name?

The ability to protect information is critical to your success of your situation. The investigative source you utilize must be accurate, resourceful, and cost-effective with an in-depth understanding of the litigation process. The Van Gorp Group (VGG) Litigation Support Team works in concert with legal counsel to uncover crucial information to expedite your proceedings.

VGG has conducted many complex investigations for international corporations, law firms, financial institutions, insurance companies and public agencies. Our team provides powerful and focused evidence through comprehensive investigations, database research, forensics, surveillance and personal security.

VGG provides professional, reliable services while adhering to ethical and legal protocols. Contact VGG for more information related to how our Litigation Support Team can work to your advantage.



In addition to providing and locating expert witness testimony the Van Gorp Group assists with discovery requests and interrogatories, analyzes the reports of opposing expert witnesses, and aids with deposition and trial preparation.


From state-of-the-art technology to mini cameras, zoom lenses, night vision, and advanced telecommunications our investigators are ready to roll. Rapid communication, excellent detailed written reports and quick turnaround times ensure court ready product and your success.


A vital part of any investigation is the ability to identify, locate and interview a potential witness. Our seasoned street investigators will use their experience to provide the information you need. Once the witness is identified we will also be able to provide witness protection when necessary.


Detailed background investigations of companies, individuals, witnesses or subjects of an investigation or party to a suit. The Van Gorp Group can provide a comprehensive view utilizing open source intelligence, national data sources, inspections of court documents, and individual sources.


Locate, identify and recover assets by using various means including forensic accounting services for both the prosecution and defense of civil and criminal matters. The work is focused on assisting in financial disputes and includes identifying, analyzing evidence, managing documentation, calculating financial losses, and reporting findings in reports that are easy-to-understand.

If you are not receiving the service and results you desire it might be worth a call. 800.472.7701


headshot 2016
Anthony Van Gorp

Mall Security

bomb blast

Mall Security, It’s All In Your Mind or Nose

On Saturday,  September 21, 2013, unidentified gunmen attacked Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The attack resulted in 67 deaths, and more than 175 people were reportedly wounded in the mass shooting. Unfortunately, that was very real.

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the incident, which it characterized as retribution for the Kenyan military’s deployment in the group’s home country of Somalia. What warning signs were readily available? What security cues were missed? How could this have been deterred or thwarted altogether? Monday morning quarterbacking is a very easy job, and that is not my intent.

Malls are “soft targets.” We need to change that. Large open spaces where people can come and go, congregate, carry items and freely move about. The United States has 1,200 enclosed shopping centers across the country representing America and its wealth in commerce and prosperity. Which one of us doesn’t have fond memories of Saturday afternoons at the mall with friends?  The United States has long enjoyed a feeling of pioneer freedom and independence, which I love but could this also work against us. The question at hand is how to provide more security to people without disrupting their way of life or undermining commerce. Do we need to reduce the number of entrances, add metal detectors and dogs at every door to stop guns and explosives? According to a study done by former Navy Seals the Nation is not ready for that.

According to Malachy Kavanagh of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group that is helping to shape security standards for the industry. Malls face in miniature what the Homeland Security Department wrestles with every day: How to provide more security to people without disrupting their way of life or undermining commerce. “The key is balancing the need for additional security measures and the public’s appetite for those measures.” Mall developers and owners have resisted employing aggressive security measures for fear of scaring customers away. They also want to keep overhead fees for their retail tenants down as much as possible.

Over the years, the Israelis have developed a sophisticated security system to protect enclosed shopping centers. The cornerstone of the Israeli strategy is to deny a bomber entrance to the mall by creating layers of defenses from paramilitary sentries to watchmen trained to recognize the behavior patterns of people about to blow themselves up.

American mall owners, however, found many of Israel’s methods as unpalatable as some of the early advice coming out of Homeland Security. Arik Arad, who served as Israel’s head of shopping-center security, suggest the best way to fight terrorism is to learn the terrorist modus operandi. As a former law enforcement officer, one of the first things you are taught in school is the method of operation or modus operandi (MO) for short. By understanding the MO of a burglar or drug dealer, you can improve your odds of catching them.

The Israeli techniques use the psychological studies of suicide bombers to understand their methods and establish security protocols to protect property and people alike. It’s vital to understand that incidents don’t just happen. Like our SWAT units, perpetrators have scouted the place, prepared, trained, rehearsed, prepared again and then executed. If security can intervene at one of these points security’s actions may thwart the act all together at that location.

Israel’s security is physical, but it also uses skills in senses and behavior pattern recognition, which aims at recognizing potential threats through observation of the perpetrator’s mannerisms. The methods include observing small movements of the lips, eyebrows, and nose, to detect nervousness and suspiciousness. In many cases, suicide bombers will anoint themselves with perfume, fragrant soap or rosewater in preparation for what they believe will be their martyrdom which obviously would be the security person’s sense of smell at use. Obviously, like any method one of many signs do not indicate you have a bomber on your hands.  Intense training and a quality security candidate can implement the training to save lives possibly. Another factor to consider is the education of guests to the mall to be vigilant and notify security no matter how unimportant it may seem to the individual.

Part of the methods success is to act quickly once the suspicious behavior has been identified. The method taught is to walk up, look the suspect in the eye and ask: “Can I help you?” The Israelis call it “soft contact” and find that it’s often enough to force a bomber to abandon his plan or make him detonate early, away from his intended target. Obviously due to this fact the training and qualifications of the security people should be considered.

Other methods currently being used in the United States are parking lots designed with choke points that funnel cars through areas that cause them to slow down. Some use automatic license plate readers plugged into local police databases. If a car is stolen or has otherwise been flagged, the system can issue an alert. Uniformed and plain cloth officers are vital to any program. Some malls use less obvious systems like monitored security cameras, bomb-sniffing dogs, and bomb barriers.

The world is rapidly changing, and security concerns are on all of our minds. If you or your security force needs consulting services, training or assistance in any way, please feel free to contact us.