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Everything You Need To Know About Security Threat Assessments for Commercial Facilities and Schools

Written By: Brad CampbellFebruary 13, 2024

We live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by threats, both perceived and real. 

Out of all the potential security threats out there, threats to our property or our well-being are at the top of the list of risks we face in our day-to-day lives. 

Business owners face the possibility of burglary and theft, government facilities and airports are confronted with the risk of terrorist attacks, and even schoolchildren don’t feel safe in their classrooms due to the potential for active threat incidents. 

One of the best ways we can improve security to protect ourselves and our property against these types of dangers is by conducting a security threat assessment.

What Is a Security Threat Assessment?

A threat assessment, as applied to a commercial building’s security, is the practice of determining the seriousness of potential security-related events, the likelihood that such scenarios will occur, and how to best mitigate each potential threat on your property. 

Every type of commercial property has a different threat profile, which is influenced by things like where it is located, what type of business or facility it is, and various other factors. 

While there are general commercial security measures that can be applied to many different types of commercial properties, a threat assessment can help determine how to best implement these, as well as provide recommendations that go above and beyond the basic defenses.

security threat assessments1

Security threat assessments are conducted on a property by security specialists to evaluate the actual risk of perceived threats and make actionable security upgrade recommendations to mitigate all potential threats. 

A perceived threat could be anything from a smash-and-grab theft to an active threat scenario, or it could be a natural threat, such as a hurricane or earthquake.

When a security professional conducts a threat assessment, they will speak to the property owners to discuss their concerns (learning what their perceived threats are) and security goals. They may also discuss threats that property owners had not thought of or were not previously aware of.

The security expert will then carry out a thorough examination of the property in order to identify vulnerable points, especially in terms of forced entry, and make recommendations about how to strengthen the building’s defenses to protect against potential security-related incidents. 

These recommendations often include upgrading the level of glass security measures a building’s windows and doors are equipped with, as these are almost always the most vulnerable points on any type of commercial building.

Essential Parts of a Security Threat Assessment:

  • Evaluate a complete spectrum of threats (both manmade and natural)
  • Make a list of credible threats and scenarios
  • Quantify the likelihood and potential impact of specific threats
  • Assess and evaluate existing security countermeasures against all potential threats
  • Suggest upgrades to building defenses (like security glass)
  • Re-evaluate perceived threats after security upgrades

Why Are Security Threat Assessments Necessary?

A threat assessment helps you plan for and protect your facility, critical infrastructure, employees, and other building occupants against common threats to your specific facility. 

For example, a threat assessment of a government building may focus on violent threats, which government facilities are typically more at risk of than other types of commercial properties. 

Such a security threat assessment might determine that the government building needs security upgrades to protect against terrorist attacks, which can involve both active threats and bomb attacks. 

Both these types of threats require very specific physical security responses, such as ballistic-grade and blast-resistant security glazing, which a threat assessment will define.

security threat assessments2

As another example, a threat assessment of a retail store will usually be more focused on mitigating property damage, either caused by vandalism, rioting, forced entry attempts, or storms, as well as different types of retail theft, including burglary, smash-and-grab theft, and looting.

In this case, the security threat assessment might specify ways to reinforce the retailer’s storefront windows, entryways, and display cases using forced entry-resistant security glass, among other things.

When it comes to these types of human threats, a threat assessment looks at things like the attractiveness of a particular facility as a target for certain types of threats and how effective the building’s current security measures would be in the face of different threats. 

security threat assessments3

For instance, if you own a jewelry store and are concerned about break-ins and burglary, a security threat management professional would examine things like your entry points, storefront glass, and security systems.

The security professional would then be able to make recommendations about how to upgrade your defenses by doing something like retrofitting your windows with anti-theft security glass.

Examples of Potential Threats to Commercial Security:

  • Forced entry and burglary
  • Smash-and-grab theft
  • Rioting and looting
  • Armed robbery
  • Active threats (such as school shooters or insider attacks)
  • Bomb blasts
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Natural disasters (like storms, hurricanes, and earthquakes)

Who Can Benefit From a Security Threat Assessment?

Anyone who owns a business or operates a facility that faces any level of man-made or natural threat can improve their security through a security threat assessment. 

Threat management strategies can protect against theft of property and merchandise, damage to infrastructure, and injury or loss of human life.

A thorough inspection and evaluation of your business or facility can provide you with the recommendations needed to defend it against all plausible threats. 

For example, upgrading vulnerable windows and doors on your business with Riot Glass or ArmorPlast® is one of the best ways to protect your property from all forms of forced entry, as well as natural threats like storm damage.

Other types of facilities might be more concerned about violent attacks, in which case a security expert can provide suggestions to fortify vulnerable points of entry against an armed individual attempting to get inside and carry out an attack.

Examples of Facilities That Can Benefit from Security Threat Assessments:

  • High-end, luxury, and specialty retail stores
  • 24-hour convenience stores
  • Cash handling businesses
  • High-risk businesses (like cannabis dispensaries)
  • Government buildings
  • Banks
  • Office buildings and campuses
  • Schools
  • Businesses in high-crime areas

Threat Assessment in Schools

It’s hard to discuss threat assessments without mentioning the existence of school threats. It’s an unfortunate reality that children living in the US have to think about and deal with practically every day. 

A school threat assessment can help determine the probability of a school shooting or another type of security-related incident happening and the best ways to protect students and staff if such an event should occur.

security threat assessments4

One method of addressing the risk of active threats in schools is attempting to prevent a violent act from occurring in the first place. 

This is typically done by an interdisciplinary team including school mental health professionals, administrators, and school or local law enforcement. 

These trained professionals attempt to identify threats or individuals who pose a risk of violence, then determine the threat level and appropriate response.

However, many times there is no prior indication that a violent attack will occur at a school, and there is no single profile of an individual who will cause harm to others. 

In this case, a threat assessment by a security professional can help come up with the best ways to upgrade a school’s defenses to harden its physical security and minimize the risk of harm in a violent attack scenario. 

For instance, putting ballistic-grade glazing for doors and windows in place can save lives by acting as an access denial window and door barricade, keeping active threats out of classrooms and delaying them long enough for law enforcement to arrive and deal with the situation.

The extra reaction time and forced entry protection provided by such access denial solutions can make all the difference between a scary situation and a tragic one when an active threat incident unfolds on school property.

A professional security threat assessment for schools will help with the implementation of a comprehensive school security strategy.

Examples of School Security Measures a Threat Assessment Might Recommend:

  • Retrofitting security glazing on glass doors and windows
  • Upgrading entryway and classroom door locks
  • Implementing access control systems
  • Hiring security personnel
  • Closely monitoring parking lots, schools grounds, and common areas
  • Creating emergency response plans (including active threat responses)
  • Conducting active threat and lockdown drills
  • Implementing training for faculty and other staff
  • Developing an anonymous tip reporting system
  • Installing two-way communication systems in classrooms

Conclusion

Just because real threats exist doesn’t mean we have to live our lives in constant fear. 

Our personal safety can be safeguarded and the security of properties can be upgraded to improve peace of mind and mitigate risks in the unfortunate event of a hazardous security-related incident, whether man-made or natural. 

Conducting a security threat assessment is the first step towards making these upgrades and protecting buildings and their occupants from damage, theft, and physical harm.

Contact Riot Glass, LLC today for a consultation or to schedule a threat assessment for your property.

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