Marianas Review Journal
BY JOY WHITE
As property crimes increase, Guam businesses look to private security systems to keep their properties, employees and customers
According to data released to the Journal by the Guam Police Department, the total number of reported property crimes, including burglary and breaking and entering, larceny and theft offenses, motor vehicle theft and arson, have increased from 3,696 in 2015 to 3,741 in 2016.
“[GPD] response time is lagging because there are just not enough officers on the street. They’re being called to traffic crashes with fatalities and serious injuries so they’re pulled away from patrol. There’s no actual patrolling, it’s responding. So the true neighborhood programs and patrol — the paradigm is moving more to [private] security companies and security camera systems,” said Paul R. Suba, operations director of manned secured solutions of G4S Secure Solutions (Guam) Inc.
Burglary and breaking and entering cases increased 33% from 2015 to 2016, which had 1,211 and 1,612 cases respectively.
However, burglary and breaking and entering cases decreased by 30% in the past five years. The number of burglaries and breaking and entering offenses has been decreasing since 2012, when 2,304 cases were reported, with 2015 having the least amount of burglaries and breaking and entering offenses.
Larceny and theft offenses decreased by 17% from 2,251 in 2015 to 1,866 in 2016.
Burglary and breaking and entering refers to instances in which a person has entered a home with the intent to steal property, while larceny refers to the actual unlawful taking of another person’s property.
Since 2012, the number of larceny and theft offences has fluctuated from year to year, increasing one year only to decrease the following year. There were 1,651 larceny and theft offenses in 2012; 2,521 in 2013 and 1,973 in 2014.
Motor vehicle theft increased between 2015 and 2016 though the number of cases has decreased since 2012. There were 256 car thefts in 2016; 222 in 2015; and 258, 378 and 454 in 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively.
Overall, there has been a decrease in total property crimes since 2012, which had a total of 4,417, compared to 2016’s 3,741.
Trends in burglary and theft can be attributed to various factors, said Suba, who has about 40 years of experience in law enforcement with GPD. A burglary or breaking and entering may be a “badge of honor” or form of a status among some “ethnic groups,” Suba said.
In his personal observation, the number of crimes could be related to the availability of drugs. “I feel that all of the crime increases are [influenced by] the cost of crystal methamphetamines, or ice,” Suba said.
As the availability of crystal meth increases, the number of individuals addicted to the substance also increases, leading to thefts at the workplace or elsewhere to fund the habit, he said.
Applying crime statistics to the real world requires an in-depth approach, Suba said.
Suba’s approach to security includes reviewing the daily police blotter and gathering as much information as possible, such as the location of the crime and the intent of the perpetrators. 7/10/2017 Businesses invest in private security in the face of rising crime – Marianas Business Journal https://mbjguam.com/2017/07/10/businesses-invest-in-private-security-in-the-face-of-rising-crime/ 2/2 Filed in: Guam News Tags: featured “You have to look at it in total when you look at statistics. That’s the value of statistics; you can’t just look at the numbers and the year and type of crime. You’ve got to go in depth and see what village and why that particular part of the village,” he said.
Suba and Greg Duenas, operations manager of G4S, said that whatever the reason behind the increases in crime, businesses are taking advantage of new technologies and proven methods to secure their properties. This is also the case with newly constructed housing developments that are considering automatic doors and other security measures, Duenas said.
“For commercial buildings and commercial hotels, it has been proven that a combination of cameras, alarms and security personnel [is effective],” Suba said. “[Security personnel] definitely raise the level of security and protection for those particular businesses or operations. And people today expect and demand to have that readily available or provided by the host hotel or condominium or commercial property, whether it be a residential guest staying in the facility or [residents] just parking a vehicle in the parking lot. You see more personnel walking the parking lots today and not only checking to ensure that there’s no theft, but also assisting tourists where to go or which particular store to go to.”
Duenas said that technology and the capabilities it provides also allow executives to focus seriously on security.
“You have a camera system set up in your office or at your building — the capability of that technology now is you don’t have to physically be there to see the video,” he said. “[…] And it works in sync with the intrusion alarms. When those alarms go off, you can just get on you cell phone and dial in to see the video.”
G4S is also moving toward incident prevention through technology and accurate data collection.
The company is currently testing a security application for smart phones called Secure 360, which allows clients to report incidents immediately. With the application, the company will be able to track incidents in real time.
Clients can use their smartphones to send out a panic alert to the G4S control center and, using GPS, the company can send its personnel to the exact location. The application also allows G4S to pinpoint areas of concern that might need more security.
“This is a tool that we’re going to use to work with our customers and it does give transparency to our customers because a lot of the products out there are after the fact, this is real time incident reporting. It’s real-time security management,” Duenas said.
G4S has launched the application in the Asia Pacific Region, North America and Australia.
Other community security projects G4S offers include the Visitors Security Officer and Beach Safety Officer programs in Tumon in partnership with the Guam Visitors Bureau. The company also offers its Stray Animal Removal Unit, using humane traps to capture stray dogs and cats. mbj