Should You Hire An Armed Or Unarmed Security Guard?

You've decided that you need the presence of a security guard at your business or event. Now comes the tough question: Do you need a guard who carries a weapon, or is it better in your situation to have someone who does not have a gun?

To decide, you'll need to look at your environment, what you need to protect and even your budget. Here are the pros and cons of an armed security guard.

Reasons to Have an Armed Security Guard

  1. You're protecting something valuable. If you have jewelry, artwork or something else that is very expensive and hard to replace, and may be the target of criminals, an armed guard can provide a further deterrent to would-be thieves.
  2. You're protecting people. Every year, more than 500 people are murdered in their workplaces. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 518 homicides at work took place in 2010, the most recent year for which they have statistics. Of those, about 78 percent are shootings and most take place in private sector workplaces. A well-trained, armed guard may be able to discourage would-be killers from entering the building at all, and may be able to minimize injuries by quickly targeting the shooter.

Reasons to Use an Unarmed Security Guard

  1. You're worried about violence. It's true that if a guard has a gun, and there is a security incident, it is more likely to turn violent. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found that during bank crimes, 64 armed security guards were injured for every 1,000 incidents, compared to 1 injury per 1,000 for unarmed guards. You may not feel that what you are protecting is worth the risk that someone will be shot or injured during an altercation. 
  2. Your insurance company may not approve. If you have a public business, an armed security guard in view can be counterproductive because it may actually increase your possibility of an insurance claim. Even if the security company you work with carries its own insurance (most do), you may still be liable for any injuries that occur when an armed guard is on your property. Having an armed guard on the premises can actually make it harder to get insurance or may make your premiums more costly.

If you are on the fence about whether to have an armed or unarmed guard at your business, talk through the pros and cons with a security company like Security Unlimited.