• U.S. Orders Electric Utilities to Secure Sites From Attack
    Wall Street Journal (11/20/14) Smith, Rebecca

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday adopted a rule that requires U.S. power companies to identify and take steps to secure key transmission substations and other hubs that could cause major problems if they were out of service. The rule also requires utilities to have unaffiliated experts review their security plans. The commission said the new standard could take effect by 2016, and will carry fines and penalties for non-compliance, but there is not yet a deadline for utilities to complete security upgrades. The agency began to examine the issue of physical attacks on power facilities earlier this year, in response to an armed assault on an electric substation in California owned by PG&E.

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  • Bold Jewelry Heist in Manhattan’s Diamond District
    Wall Street Journal (11/12/14) Shallwani, Pervaiz; Wilson, Colleen; Bashan, Yoni

    Two men stole an unspecified amount of jewelry and other items from a jewelry store in Manhattan’s Diamond District on Tuesday in a rare armed robbery in the highly-secure block of stores and businesses that is at the heart of the U.S. diamond industry. The two men robbed the Watch Standard Inc. luxury store on West 47th Street by posing as delivery men. One of the robbers was buzzed into the store, which he robbed at gunpoint while the other man stood watch in the hallway outside. At least one of the store’s employees was injured during the robbery. The suspects were clearly captured by security cameras, but remain at large despite a massive police manhunt. Michael Grumet, the executive director of the 47th Street Business Improvement District, says he can only recall one other robbery occurring in the Diamond District during his eight-year tenure. He says most of the 4,100 companies that call the district home employ private armed security, and the district itself has a significant police presence.

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    Security is Questioned After New York Jewelry Store Robbery
    Wall Street Journal (11/12/14) Bashan, Yoni; Shallwani, Pervaiz

    Many stores and building managers in Manhattan’s Diamond District are reconsidering their security arrangements following a robbery on Tuesday at one of the area’s ostensibly well-protected jewelry stores. The Watch Standard store, the site of the robbery, is among the merchants in the area considering whether to increase security. Those plans could include upgrading security in the entire building. Meanwhile, the owner of another store located near the Watch Standard is considering screening customers before they enter. Similar stores in the area already use mantraps to prevent members of the public from entering secure areas. Screening buzzers, security cameras, and guards are also used by many of the businesses in the area. A security guard who works near the robbed jewelry store says he and other security personnel will probably be more attentive to potential trouble going forward. The guard, whose store is next to the Watch Standard, says he is prohibited from interfering in a robbery that occurs in another store, aside from calling police.

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    Study Finds Spike in Cost of Retail Crime in the U.S.
    Security InfoWatch (11/07/14) Griffin, Joel

    Retailers worldwide lost $128 billion last year due to shrink, which includes shoplifting, fraud by employees or suppliers, and administrative errors, according to the results of the Global Retail Theft Barometer that were released on Nov. 6. Of these losses, $42 billion were from the United States alone. The study did find that shrink declined slightly overall from 1.36 percent of retail sales in 2012 to 1.29 percent in 2013. Ernie Deyle, a retail loss prevention analyst who conducted the study, said that this is partly because retailers in some countries made greater loss-prevention investments. Although U.S. shrink declined from 1.5 percent of sales in 2012 to 1.48 percent in 2013, the cost of retail crime in the country as a percentage of revenue rose 27 percent last year to 1.74 percent. Deyle says retailers should change their attitudes toward loss prevention by employing analytics and technology, and “look at their loss prevention departments as a tactical performance improvement type of group.” Retailers reported that electronic article surveillance antennas, labels, and hard tags can effectively protect their most vulnerable products. More suppliers are also using source tagging radio frequency labels. Shoplifting and employee theft, however, remain issues that lack a definitive solution, Deyle noted.

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  • Back to Basics for Lobby Security
    Security Magazine (11/14) Ludwig, Sarah

    Good lobby security is vital for any organization, since lobbies are a buffer between public and private areas, says Tim Sutton, a security consultant at Sorenson, Wilder & Associates. Effective lobby security should involve a security vulnerability assessment to identify assets and shortcomings and use best industry guidelines, Sutton says. He recommends that organizations make sure their lobby is arranged so that people must go through its security measures, which may be as simple as moving a receptionist’s desk. A lobby ideally should have two doors, with a receptionist or security officer between them to better monitor who comes and goes, and to control access to the second door. Organizations may also consider a visitor management system that registers visitors and creates badges for them. This allows security personnel to know how many people are in the building and who they are. Organizations must have written, enforced policies and procedures for access and security, and should train their personnel to diffuse a situation or notice suspicious activity, says Patrick Ketchum, the director of the Office for Insurance and Benefits at the Diocese of Springfield, Ill. The diocese recently overhauled its lobby security, implementing access cards for employees and requiring visitors to be buzzed in by a receptionist. The diocese also plans to place the front desk behind glass so visitors can approach it to announce themselves.

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  • Evaluating Readiness: A Must-Do Security Assessment
    Security InfoWatch (10/30/14) Bernard, Ray

    It is not uncommon for readiness requirements to go undefined and unaddressed in a security context, leading to the possibility of security being caught flat-footed and unprepared for emergencies and other events. There are numerous factors that can lead to a low readiness state, such as not having readiness as part of the overarching business culture, failing to keep readiness conditions up-to-date, or losing readiness in the shuffle of organizational change. To change this, it is important to maintain readiness plans, including documentation, for various possible scenarios. A good readiness plan will list the states of readiness that need to be established and define their requirements, and identify what response capabilities need to be maintained and what steps must be taken to ensure this maintenance. A readiness plan should include a readiness validation schedule including inspections of equipment and materials, verification and validation of training and certification status, and outlining exercise drills to be used to gauge and maintain performance levels. Readiness assessments are necessary in numerous areas, but two of the most important are evacuation and shelter-in-place scenarios and security technology roll outs. The need for the first is self-evident, but many organizations are often caught unprepared for new technology and therefore it is important to have a readiness assessment in place.

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