24 Sep Tactical Edge: Personal Safety for “High Net Worth Clients”
Personal Safety for “High Net Worth Clients”
Tactical Edge Pro Training Consultant Mark Baker
Although this article is targeting a certain class of individuals or families, personal safety should be a daily common practice for everyone. In this submission, we will outline information to consider that can be used by anyone and should become part of their everyday routines.
Let’s face it, entertainers, actors, actresses, musicians, corporate high-profile individuals, CEO’s, CFO’s, and anyone with high net worth or perceived prosperity attracts attention. Some of the attention is good and often enjoyed but at times clients just want to their privacy, security and confidentiality especially when it comes to their private lives, family, travel and personal time.
Many people with a high net worth did not achieve their status by being subdued, timid or shy. They are risk takers, adrenaline seekers, ballers, intellects, eccentric, strategists, work alcoholics but are rarely concerned about the need for personal protection or safety. They believe they are not at risk of danger or of being targeted for who they are, what they have, or what they’re worth. This is especially true if they have never been faced with a situation of real or perceived danger. They have never thought of having a “security team or plan” in place if something were to happen, and many times they don’t think about their family ever being in danger. No one thinks anything bad will happen, but as we know it can and does happen every minute of the day. Nobody needs security or a need for law enforcement until the unimaginable happens.
Although there are numerous examples of inexplicable random acts of violence, (Colorado movie theater, Las Vegas concert venue) the 2 church shootings in Texas are prime examples. Parishioners worshipping in a place of peace and tranquilly when the worse occurs. In one shooting, 26 people were killed and 20 injured. An armed individual who heard the event shot the subject and pursued him until he crashed where the subject subsequently shot himself. In the other, thankfully a security team, (being that I observed several members of the congregation with weapons) or just a good guy (well trained) with a firearm, was present and ended a threat saving countless lives. What I found troubling about both videos was that most of the congregation literally cowered down in place.
So, what can we consider in our day to day lives to be safe? I often refer to the 7 P’s in my law enforcement training days: Proper, Prior, Planning, Prevents, Pathetically Poor, Performance. (I use to use Piss Poor, but it was unpalatable for the administration) the key is to have a plan!
Clients generally have a sense of purpose and are carrying on in their normal daily lives preoccupied with all that is going on in their lives and not thinking about a personal safety plan. Have a plan! Here is list of things to consider when preparing a plan.
- Personal Safety-be prepared, be alert to your surroundings. Have a “when / then” thought process. “When this happens, then I am prepared to…do what”? “What will you be prepared to do?” “What will you do…Run? Hide? Fight? Cower down? Be an easy target? Be prepared to “do something!” When outside the safety and security of your home, (which only you know if your home is safe and secure?) scan 360 degrees and know your environment, make a conscious effort to pay attention to people, places and things that are routine and those out of the ordinary, parking garages, alley’s, darkened streets etc… Pay attention to people around you and their mannerism or behaviors. There is strength in numbers if you have a companion to travel with you with family and friends, stay together. When walking, walk confidently with purpose paying attention to those milling around with no purpose. Are people hanging out wandering about, don’t be an easy target. Make eye contact with people as you pass, give a greeting or head nod, be confident but don’t stop to carry on a conversation with a stranger, keep walking. If you carry a purse, wear it between your arm and body making it appear a more difficult target. If you have a car / key fob, keep it in your hand as many have a panic alarm mode that could draw attention in the likely hood of danger. It is also a good idea to have that same fob next to your bed in the house should you need to alert other members of the house or neighborhood. Some have a key on them that maybe used as a weapon to strike with. Avoid wearing ear pods or constantly looking down at your phone. If you are distracted you are an easy target and a terrible witness when trying to describe what happened after it happened.
- Car Safety- if you drive yourself, always lock your car doors and park in a well-lighted area.Have your keys in your hand when approaching your vehicle to enter. Pay attention to anyone in the area where you are parking. Be ready to exit and enter. If you are getting things out or will be putting something in the vehicle, observe is anyone is located nearby. Don’t get so focused on your phone, rummaging through your purse or contents of bags if not in a safe environment. Observe your vehicle as you approach for any damage to it, unusual characteristics or even someone inside. If you think you’re being followed drive to nearest police station. If you don’t know where that location is, drive around a familiar area several times if still be followed phone law enforcement and advise them you suspect your being followed and request a response. If your vehicle breaks down or has a flat immediately or in close proximity to the place you left from, find the safest place to stop, sit in your car, with door locks, be aware of your surroundings, think when / then and call for assistance 1stbefore assessing the immediate problem. Time is on your side.
- Office / Home Safety-do you know all your employees? Probably not unless you have a small business, company or enterprise. Does your Human Resources Department (if you have one) brief you or your security team (If you do not employ any security measures or have security team or personnel) who would advise you on problem or potential problem employees? Do they / you regularly screen employees before and during employment? There is a plethora of data out there that can be researched including finance information. Are any of your employees in financial distress? Background screening is relatively inexpensive. Pay special attention to those that have special access, and any that appear to be in a financial crisis, including those that are in your “inner circle”. How about those you employ in your home? Housekeeper, nanny, car service / driver, window washer, mobile mechanic, pool maintenance person, lawn care, delivery driver, contractors, are any of those that are entrusted with being in your home and around your most valuable possessions, or more importantly your family, have they been properly vetted? Not to instill fear in everyone reading this article, but you have to consider the threats to your personal safety, assets and most importantly your family. Unfortunately, the threats that are on the top of the list are your staff, acquaintances, those mentioned above including friends and relatives who have gained your trust and have potentially unfettered access and know your routines, patterns, habits, travel plans, any of these could be exploited.
- Social media and the internet- these platforms contain an abundance of information that could be used to gather intelligence on certain individuals.What you’re doing, where you’re are going, who you are with and where you are located at any given moment. Vacation photos and locations posting can jeopardize your safety and your home security and make you, your family or valuables an easy target.
- Employ a security specialist, company, team or consultant to assist you with a plan and / or advise you in situations that requiring special consideration such as, traveling abroad, vacationing, asset protection, family comfort or just simply peace of mind. Education and people are essential elements to providing a level of comfort in your security planning. Technology is great but does not replace people when it comes to providing a level of protection to minimize danger and threats. The best security plan takes into account the client’s lifestyle and tailors it to provide a level of comfort, confidentiality and privacy while working towards mitigating any potential threats or unnecessary risks.
So why don’t high net worth clients employ a security specialist or even lay out a personal security plan for themselves or family? This I believe is due to several factors: Cost is the main factor and the belief that it may be too much of an expense to incur. In addition, having a security team or additional visible personnel may be viewed as raising the perception of being “privileged” or “above” their friends and acquaintances or a constant reminder that at any time danger may be present, raising their level of anxiety and resistance to a visible security team. Another factor is the misconception that it will hamper their lifestyle and flexibility or the notion that they have never needed it before thus creating a false sense of security
So, the question becomes what do I need to do to feel safe or have a plan to protect the ones I love? In this day in age, the thought of personal security becomes one of necessity. No matter the options you entertain, people with a high net worth need to consider a personal safety / security plan. They must know and vet their employees and those in their inner circle. They should pay attention when they or their family is traveling and the method of transportation they utilize especially when traveling abroad. Don’t be caught unprepared, have a planned, practiced response when the unimaginable happens.
The author, Mark Baker – recently retired as a Captain with a large Law Enforcement agency in Southwest Florida with over 30 years of Law Enforcement Experience. Mark began his career with the Florida Marine Patrol Auxiliary in 1987 in Panama City, Florida. In 1989, he became a full time State Law Enforcement Office working in several capacities in several locations in Florida including Panama City, Naples, Key West and Miami, before joining the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in 1994. During his law enforcement career, he has worked in Corrections, Marine Law Enforcement, Narcotics, Patrol, Criminal Investigations Division, Internal Affairs, Human Resources, Accreditation, Training and has been a part of the Executive Level Leadership Team since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. He is an adjunct instructor for St. Petersburg College, Multi-Jurisdictional Counter Drug Training Task Force and the Lee County Public Safety Academy. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville Command Officer’s Development program. Mark has taught thousands of law enforcement, probation, military, and corrections, local, state and federal officers throughout the United States in topics ranging from active shooter, leadership, drug investigations and internal affairs and has earned numerous awards and commendations. He is a highly self-motivated, goal-oriented, accomplished Law Enforcement Professional with an exceptional leadership and achievement record.