August 19 2018
Most employees of a business, come to work, punch in, do their job and punch out and go about their business without fear of anyone following, stalking, threatening or harming them.
But there are a group of workers employed as contractors and employees who protect assets, employees and visitors at every type of business imaginable, and sometimes their duties are not welcomed by those who violate the rules, break the laws, or pose a threat to the security of a business, school or church.
Loss prevention agents for instance are credited with recovering millions of dollars of stolen property each year while detaining upwards of a million shoplifters, dishonest employees and ORC suspects.
Some of those resist, fight, threaten and more frequently now than just three years ago, pull weapons on security officers detaining them. Not happy about their circumstances or the fact that some courts have become stricter on sentencing guidelines for repeat shoplifting offenders, hardcore street criminals and organized retail theft organizations have used intimidation, and fear to convince unarmed loss prevention agents to back off and allow the theft suspects to flee.
In the past eighteen months, sixteen store and mall security officers have been assaulted in the parking lot of their employer while going to their vehicles at the end of their shift and two were followed to a convenience store and another previously arrested shoplifter confronted a security employee at their home at the end of their shift.
Off duty retail security officers and asset protection agents in the past four years have reported dozens of incidents where they’ve been threatened, assaulted and warned to drop pending criminal charges or they and their families would face further consequences.
A contracted federal security officer assigned to a high-profile government facility in northern Virginia found two employees who leaving the property often without authorization while remaining on the clock. His report led to an internal investigation and soon thereafter the termination of both employees.
Three days later the security employee was confronted in a parking lot of a Wawa convenience store and told that he had better have his head on a swivel and move his family from their residence if he knew what was good for him.
While a police report was filed, no arrests were made and no further threats from the men were received.
So far, this year, police have concluded that 13 security officers shot and wounded on duty and seven security officers fatally wounded were all targeted.
The shooters in each of those twenty shootings had known the security officers prior to the shootings, law enforcement investigators concluded.
In five of the shootings, the shooter and the security officer had personal beefs that were not related to the security officer’s job.
In three fatal shootings of security officers, police in California, Georgia and Texas say that the homicides were a direct result of a negative contact that the security officer previously had with their shooter prior to the fatal shooting incident.
In 2017, police in nine states investigated and linked the off-duty deaths of four security officers directly to their jobs.
All four, were followed and murdered within days of their initial confrontations with the men who would later murder them.
In Chicago, the murder suspect had stalked the security officer for more than forty-eight hours before shooting him to death when he arrived home from work and stepped out of his vehicle.
And, just three days ago, Albuquerque police arrested a man for stalking, threatening and harassing a female security officer. When the threats became more violent, the security officer call police for help.
“We look at escalation,” Officer Simon Drobik said.
He said that’s exactly what’s happening in the case involving 31-year-old Benjamin Olguin.
Monday, Olguin was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking after police said he showed up to El Mezquite Market when he wasn’t supposed to be there.
His first stalking charge came in May. A private security officer called police saying Olguin continued to show up at the property looking for her at least a dozen times.
The woman also told officers Olguin showed up and flashed a gun at her fiance. That day, officers found Oguin had six rounds of ammunition and two knives in his car.
“Eventually these guys have to be put in jail because they won’t stop stalking an individual and they become obsessed,” Officer Drobik said.
Then Monday, Olguin showed up at the market again.”She was able to detain him at one point until we arrived,” Officer Drobik said.
According to the criminal complaint Olguin threatened to kill the security guard and said if he didn’t do it that day he’d be back to “finish the job.”
The threats are more than words said Jimmy Fusco a retired NYPD officer now working security in south Florida. Eventually, the words will manifest into aggression and violence and could easily end with an off-duty officer being injured or killed while no one around to assist them.
Workplace Violence has steadily been on the rise for the past decade said Dr. Samantha Parker, author and speaker on workplace violence.
US government statistics show that workplace homicides are ticking upward and those working in the areas of public safety including law enforcement, security and emergency responders are facing an increased threat both on and off-duty.