When it comes to security guards, you have two main options: uniformed security guards and plain clothes security guards. Uniformed security officers are what most people envision when it comes to security. Plain clothes security guards have the same training but don’t necessarily look the part.
Plain clothes officers can be just as effective as uniformed guards in stopping criminals in their tracks, sometimes more so, depending on the circumstances. Before deciding which to use, understand the benefits of plain clothes guards vs. uniformed guards.
1) Plain clothes Guards Blend Into Their Surroundings
Security guards that blend in may not seem like an advantage. It might seem counterproductive, but sometimes you want security guards that aren’t so obvious. When someone sees a guard, they can take measures to avoid apprehension. If they don’t know who might be watching, it’s harder to commit a crime. When anyone can be security, criminals can worry that everyone is security.
If you’re trying to catch a regular shoplifter or even figure out which employee may be stealing, the presence of a plain clothes security guard could be beneficial.
In the case of a violent intruder, their first act may be to eliminate obvious security. They may target a uniformed guard immediately to take out the person most likely to stop them. If intruders don’t detect a security presence because the guard is in street clothes, the officer has a better chance of controlling the incident quietly and without endangering any bystanders.
2) Ununiformed Guards May Be Less Intimidating
Studies have shown uniforms make a difference in how you perceive someone. Uniforms, like those worn by law enforcement or security guards, instantly give off an air of authority that may be intimidating, especially in retail. Imagine walking into a small store only to see someone in a uniform with a gun. Their presence can make shoppers feel unwelcome or in a high-risk area. A guard who just seems like another shopper seems friendlier and far less intimidating. You can choose guards from a demographic similar to the typical clientele of the establishment. What is the best type of guard for your retail business?
3) Undercover Security Can Catch More People In The Act
Shoplifting isn’t just teenagers dropping lip gloss into a purse or a vape pen into a pocket. Organized retail crime is on the rise and becoming a significant issue for owners. In a recent survey, 90% of retail respondents had been victims of this type of crime.
In the 2021 Retail Security Survey conducted by the National Retail Foundation, respondents reported organized retail crime gangs becoming increasingly aggressive and violent. Increased aggression was reported by 65%, and increased violence by 37%.
These groups look for security guards and actively try to avoid them. To better catch them in the act, a plain clothes security guard may be necessary. Instead of seeing a uniform, they just see another customer, making it easier for the guard to catch them in the act.
Not only is your store able to file charges against the thief, but the guard can also notify other stores in the area so they know who to look for within the rest of the group. This could allow stores to catch more organized crime gangs.
4) Difficult To Track Security
Individuals who are planning to commit a crime study the security guards’ routines. They note how frequently the guards check each area of the store or building and how long it takes. Once they know the pattern, they can develop a plan to commit the crime and get away.
If they don’t know who the guard is, it’s difficult to track patterns. This is one of the best benefits of a plain clothes security guard. It’s still essential for the guard to vary their routine to ensure they’re not easy to pick out.
5) Easier To Monitor Employees
Plain clothes guards are a smart solution if you suspect employees are stealing or helping customers steal. They blend in like customers but know exactly what to look for. They may notice employees taking cash out of a register or helping a friend steal merchandise by taking the security tags off for them.
While you’ll need to vary your guards for this to work, it’s perfect if you suspect any trouble from employees.
6) Looks More Professional In Some Settings
In some organizations, a standard security guard uniform stands out like a sore thumb. Instead of looking professional, the uniforms just draw attention to your business’s security risks.
Having them dress more like regular employees creates a more uniform look throughout the business. For instance, if employees typically wear suits to work, having your guards wear suits looks far more professional.
7) May Gain Trust Easier
While people may trust uniformed security guards to keep them safe, they’re not as likely to share rumors or brag about the bad things they’ve done. If your security guards look like regular employees, other employees might share their tricks for stealing.
Customers may even mistakenly ask the plain clothes guards to help them steal something. Without looking like a guard, they’re more trustworthy to those wanting to commit criminal acts.
Contact BOS Security
If you’re still trying to choose between uniformed and plain clothes security or a combination, the experts at BOS Security can help you determine how to get the most from your security budget., Ask our team any questions you might have about security by contacting us at 404-793-6965.
Our free Security Needs Assessment is the perfect way to uncover potential risks right now and help you develop a better security strategy.