Many tend to focus on what it means when private security is high. Does that mean that public security is low? Sometimes it does. Sometimes it simply means that one person in the right place at the right time can prevent a crime from beginning. The private security industry has a noticeable effect on preserving the peace and creating a safe and secure environment.
The Economic Impact of the Security Industry: An Overview
In the United States alone, the overall crime rate throws a burden on the nation of 20% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As the crime rates grow, so does investment in security. Overall investment is expected to grow by 7 to 8% every year. The government alone spends up to 76 billion a year on physical security. The private sector spends around 350 billion a year. While electronic security devices are on the rise, here we will look at the impact of the physical security industry (security guards, private security officers) on the economy.
The Economic Impact of the Security Industry: Physical Security
What it costs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 1,103,120 security guards across the United States. Colleges and universities spend the most on private security officers. In 2009, they were spending 11.70% of their total revenue on security. The K-12 program spent the next highest amount, at 4.61% of their total revenue. Casinos and hospitality, arenas and entertainment spent about 3.61% of their revenue on private security officers. An industry sector can spend as much as US$ 308 to 31,504 per employee on security alone.
What it gains
Security guards or private security officers are not designed to record everything that happens, like a security camera would. They do not beep and flash red lights when there has been a break-in. Instead, their presence acts as a deterrent to crime. Most of those planning to commit a crime go for the easiest targets. They look for a house without cameras or alarms. Having a security guard around turns any business or area into a difficult target.
In fact, a study was done by a criminologist of Duke University, Philip J. Cook. They studied neighborhoods where there were rises in business ventures. The more businesses there were, the more the private security guards and surveillance measures increased. Crime in general went down 11% in a period of 10 years. For every US$10,00 spent, the crimes dropped by 1.57% in a given area. Another study shows that with strong security guard presence, crimes can drop by 50 to a 100% compared to the streets and cities around them.
The Economic Impact of the Security Industry
Investment in the physical security industry clearly shows returns when it comes to lowered crime rates. More than that, security has a much-ignored return in terms of price stability. Security causes inflation to stay low, and prices to remain steady. Protected, secure neighborhoods and business not only provide employment for security guards, they create a stable economic environment for households and businesses alike.