Threats and Legal Aspects to Security

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1. Evaluate threats to safety and security within the private, corporate, and local level.

2. Analyze the legal issues present within the private security profession and the court of law.

3. Outline various crime causation theories and how this impacts workplace security.

Unit Lesson General Overview Have you ever entered an area or a building and immediately felt as if you were in imminent danger? Do you remember that feeling you get in your chest and gut when you almost slip and fall on the wet tile floor in your house? Alternatively, have you entered a building and felt like you were trying to enter an armory? Have you ever been stopped in an arena or airport or even a shopping mall and asked to provide your bag for searching? You’ve probably answered yes to at least one of these questions.

We have all, whether we realize it or not, experienced threats to our safety and security and benefited from the legal aspects of safety that help provide ethical standards and expectations for the maintenance of safety. Threats to safety and security can be intentional or unintentional and, as such, have numerous sources.

These sources range from accidents and human error, to natural and environmental disasters, to civil disorder and crime. For example, identity theft is a major concern since much of the commerce transactions are now done online. Oftentimes the theft is a result of human error, such as not shredding documents that contain personal information or not using a secure web browser to conduct transactions. Human error is also exhibited when employees do not properly handle merchandise, resulting in its theft, damage, or lack of repair.

Natural disasters are said to be a direct result of “the forces of nature.” We often see natural disasters in the form of forest fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis. On the other hand environmental disasters are the result of hazardous materials being released into the environment.

These types of disasters are the result of some type of hazardous materials being released in larger amounts into the environment (e.g., oil spill, leakage of nuclear reactors). Fire and environmental disasters are examples of how the sources of the threats to security and safety can be hard to identify and/or intertwined. A fire can be started by lightning, it can result from human error that causes a spark (e.g., a loose metal chain being dragged across concrete at high speeds), or it can result from intentional criminal behavior, in which an arsonists sets a fire to cause widespread damage.

An environmental disaster, such as an oil spill, may have resulted from an accident, such as two ships colliding or some mechanical failure. Environmental disasters can also be the result of companies intentionally

Reading Assignment Chapter 2: Threats to Safety and Security Chapter 3: Legal Aspects of Security

Learning Activities (Non-Graded) See information below.

Key Terms Refer to the key terms within the textbook.

BCJ 4385, Workplace Security 2

dumping hazardous materials in areas that are not equipped to keep that material from getting to the water source and having long-term negative health effects on people in the area surrounding the dump site. Untreated mental disorders and substance abuse are also threats to safety and security that are often overlooked until a major incident occurs. While substance abuse has been labeled a “victimless crime,” persons under the influence of a substance can cause great harm and even death to themselves and others around them.

We see this in the aftermath of vehicular accidents involving drunk drivers and workplace accidents involving someone under the influence of a narcotic or illegally used prescription drug. Persons suffering from untreated mental illnesses can pose the same threats to safety and security as someone under the influence of a substance. Both substance abuse and mental issues are seen as conditions that, when treated, may result in significant reductions in the threat risk associated with the conditions. Sometimes threats to security and safety are viewed as “peaceful” and “harmless” or necessary to promote the cause of an individual or organization.

Civil disorders fall into this category. We often think of the “sit-ins” of the 1960s, of protestors camping out in public places to influence policy, and workers going on strike. However, what starts as a “peaceful” civil disorder can easily erupt into a riot. Once civil disorders morph into riots they join the ranks of many other crimes that threaten societal security and safety. Such crimes are violent or non-violent, economic in nature, and victimless. These crimes occur nationally and internationally, in “suites” and on the “streets,” in the workplace and at home. Theorists have tried to address the casual factors for crime and are divided as to whether the causes are psychological (ego state, personality disorders), sociological (external forces: ecological, social, and cultural), physiological (heredity, biochemical, anthropological), or caused by other factors (economic, drug, culture, urbanization).

Many people believe that the answer involves multiple casual factors. In the United States there have been reactive measures to address threats to safety security, regardless of their intent and source. In 1970 the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which established safety guidelines that employers must meet to ensure the provision of a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. There is also the existence of civil liability (strict or vicarious) that applies, regardless of the intent or who is to blame. Plaintiffs/ petitioners in civil liability cases are eligible to receive punitive damages and compensatory damages. Thus, the jury is able to both punish the defendant/ respondent for the breech of safety and security and provide some form of compensation for the harm and damage experienced by the plaintiff/petitioner.

Proactive measures to reduce crime-related threats to security and safety on the streets (early intervention) and in organizations (loss prevention and asset protection) are utilized by public law enforcement and private security agencies. Many argue that prevention, early intervention, and deterrence are the best strategies to address threats to security and safety, and that collaboration between law enforcement and security agencies to implement and maintain these programs are essential to the success of maintaining safety and security in communities.

There are existing laws and statues (tort, contract, administrative, property, employment, criminal, arrest, and evidence) that govern how threats to safety and security can be monitored, how violations can be addressed and prosecuted, and the dispositions that can result if defendants/respondents are

found guilty of violating safety and security. Criminal and/or civil charges can be found against persons accused of violating individual and/or societal safety and security. There are varying burdens and degrees of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt, clear and convincing evidence, preponderance of the evidence, and prima facia) that are associated with the type of charges filed and the various court proceedings that occur while a case is being tried.

Reference Ortmeier, P.J. (2013). Introduction to security: Operations and management

(4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Questions to Consider

1. How are the intent and the source of a threat to safety and security interconnected?

2. What is the difference between threats to safety and security that are the result of 1) an accident and human error, 2) natural and environmental disaster, and 3) disorders and crime?

3. Historically, why has safety legislation been reactive instead of proactive?

4. In addition to OSHA, what other safety and threat regulatory agencies are needed, and why?

5. How do the burdens and degrees of proof differ between criminal trials and civil lawsuits and between the various types of court proceedings?

6. How is a tort different from a crime? 7. How are the various types of laws utilized to reduce threats to safety

and security?

Learning Activities (Non-Graded)

1. As a continuation of the Activity in Unit I,, brainstorm about the legal aspects associated with the threats to safety and security you identified. Consider whether it would be a civil or criminal case, the types of laws that would apply, the procedure for evidence collection, and the types of testimonies that would be given during a trial.

2. Search the internet for a current event that discusses threats to safety and security that are similar to the ones you identified in Activity I. What are the similarities and differences between the current event and your observations? What was the outcome of the current event? Do you think the same outcome would result from your observations? Why or why not?

Non-graded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.

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