Archive for the ‘Protective Services and Investigations’ Category

Mugging On Live TV

April 11th, 2014 Comments off

We always tell clients to play down their personal wealth when travelling, to avoid becoming a target.  This poor lady isn’t even wearing anything that would be considered flashy, but it goes to show how brazen the crime can be in Brazil.

The fact that it is daylight, with a live camera rolling didn’t faze this crook.


Hit By a Car – I Saw it Coming

April 9th, 2014 Comments off

There is a lot to watch out for and think about in ‘the big city’.  Whether someone is driving or walking, they have to be cognoscente of other cars or pedestrians, traffic signals, construction zones, potholes or cracks, and a host of other obstacles.

While driving into the city for an early meeting, I was doing my best to keep all of the above in mind.  Whenever I turned left at a light, I still checked to make sure the cars that received a red light didn’t try and run it.  Legally, it was my turn, but I wasn’t about to trust that a rushed or distracted driver wouldn’t try.  Sure, I’d win the ‘right of way’ case, but I’m still not putting my safety on the line, when it takes a millisecond to glance side to side.

Not everyone governs himself or herself the same way.  This was the case for a pedestrian that I witnessed getting hit by a car.

If you have a security consultant vs. an expert, you’ll notice a difference.  If a consultant is building a contingency plan for an active shooter, work stoppage or travel security plan, do you sit back in your office, and let them put it together without your input?  I’d hope not, because ‘cookie-cutter’ plans don’t cut it.  Let’s use the travel security plan as an example.  If you have colleagues traveling to LATAM, only you know the intricate details related to your business, industry and potential habits of your colleagues.

The security expert will be able to offer solid plans on the areas to avoid, safest routes from the airport to the hotel and meetings, best areas for dining, and offer tips on how not to be a target.  Most importantly, the expert will ensure your involvement in the planning process.

You know your employees and company culture better than an outsider.  You would know that one of your colleagues loves sports memorabilia, and may dash out of the hotel unscheduled looking for a sports shop.  Or you would know if a colleague has a medical condition, so prescription and medical device information needs to be included in the plan.

The person I saw get hit by a car didn’t collaborate to ensure their safe travel.  Walking along the sidewalk, the pedestrian was approaching a street crossing, where the car in front of me had to make a right turn on.  Without looking for turning vehicles, the pedestrian continued their pace and stepped right off the curb, into the path of the car in front of me.  The driver either wrongly assumed they had the right of way or was distracted.

The driver slammed on their brakes and hit the pedestrian, albeit barely, because the person jumped to avoid the impact.  The pedestrian was fine, and continued on their way with only a few disgusted facial expressions for the driver.  Lucky for both, it was a minor incident.

Don’t be that pedestrian.  Don’t simply rely on a consultant.  Collaborate with an expert, and involve yourself in the planning of your colleagues’ or family’s safe travel and ensure duty of care.


Your Business Should be Yellow

February 27th, 2014 Comments off

I was driving my kids to school this morning and passed an almost unmarked police car.  I say almost because the car was grey and all of the decals were also grey.  So it was unmarked, until you were close.

I explained to my kids why a police car would want to be in disguise.  I said to catch bad guys, simply.  And that it’s not as easy to run up and catch on those doing bad if they see you coming.  Then I asked them what colour they thought police cars used to be when I was their age.  After naming almost every other colour, they finally got to yellow. The colour that folks doing bad loved.  They would stop whatever crime they were in the middle of doing, watch the police cruiser go by, then go back to no good.

At some point, the police shifted their focus from standing out for people who needed assistance, to being covert and catching bad folks.

What is best for a business though?  Go yellow!  Unless you are in the business of catching bad people, you need to operate all areas of your business as a deterrent.

  • Your parking lot should be well lit for staff arriving early or leaving late
  • Your executives travelling into LATAM should have protective drivers
  • Facilities should have visible security cameras
  • Display signs that you are using Smartwater CSI to protect and track your cargo

If you experience internal theft, drug use or workplace bullying after putting deterrents in place, hire an undercover investigator to expose the staff responsible, then press charges.  That will get passed as gossip and be a deterrent to any other employees.


When You’re Given Lemons, Make Snake Pizza?

February 6th, 2014 Comments off


We’re all familiar with the term ‘When you’re given lemons, make lemonade’, but a pizza restaurant in Fort Myers has taken it a step further.   They call it Everglade Pizza.

Wildlife officials in Florida are trying to cope with the insurgence of snakes, specifically Burmese Pythons, so they are being hunted to protect the nature preserve.  Evan Daniell, the owner of ‘Evan’s Neighborhood Pizza’ in Fort Myers came up with the idea to take advantage of the over abundance.  Use the snake meat on pizza.

Maybe not your style, but what lesson can we take from Mr. Daniell?  What aspects related to your work routine could you use to your advantage?

I have a personal example.  There was a demonstration at one of our clients corporate buildings, with approximately twenty demonstrators.  AFIMAC deployed security and kept the demonstration in order, without incident.

The demonstrators didn’t only cause issue at the corporate location though.  They yelled at passing cars, entered other local businesses and caused a general disruption in the area.  They did this with the hope of giving our client a bad image.

I went around to each business in the area personally, introduced myself, explained what our client’s industry was, why there were protesters, and explained what contingencies AFIMAC had in place.  I also explained AFIMAC’s other services when asked.

It resulted in one business relationship for our client with one of their neighbours, and two new clients for AFIAMC services.

Hey, I’d rather have lemons than snake on pizza, but you catch my rational, I’m sure.


How to Handle an Interview – Kudos vs Yikes!

January 29th, 2014 Comments off

Kasim Reed Mayor of Atlanta just sat through a very pointed and direct interview, an interview that could even be argued as biased.  Regardless of what role the Mayor of Atlanta played in the traffic disaster caused by the weather over the last few days, he just provided a clinic on how to deal with difficult people in difficult situations.

Watch the interview, and observe how well Mayor Reed handles himself.

And where there is an example of ‘good’, there is sure to be an example of the ‘bad’.  Yes, another politician, Rep. Michael Grimm, didn’t handle a subject he didn’t want to discuss very well.  Watch how he threatens to throw the reporter over a balcony in this video.


Hun, Do I Look Phat in These Pants?

January 14th, 2014 Comments off

Okay, off the top I’d like to say that I do not condone becoming physical towards another person for any reason, unless you are defending yourself.  Not everyone shares my opinion though, especially if alcohol is involved.

With that in mind, going to a post game rally for a losing team wearing the opposite team’s jersey; may not be the best idea.  Actually, it’s straight up a bad idea.  But, that is of course what one man did.  He strolled through a huge crowd of opposing team fans ‘like he owned the place’ after his team won, and not surprisingly, some folks took offence to it.  He was jumped and beaten by three people.

If the police response was not so swift (within 10 seconds), the man could have been a lot worse off.  Kudos to the police for excellent crowd control.

Yes, we should be free to wear what we want and where we want, but there are still other factors at play other than looking good and strutting our stuff; if anyone says that any more.

Wearing an opposing team’s jersey through the losing crowd’s rally is no different than wearing expensive designer jeans or a big chunky gold watch to stroll the streets shopping in Brazil or Mexico.  You will stand out. You may become a target.

It’s okay to look phat, but be conscience of where you do.

Phat Slang

adj. phat·ter, phat·test Slang

Excellent; first-rate: phat fashion; a phat watch.


Speed Kills

December 12th, 2013 Comments off

It seems as though there are stories related to vehicle speed in the news consistently and some of those stories detail fatalities unfortunately.  Here are a few examples I found with a basic search:

Driver Kills Woman Doing 143km/h in 80km/h Zone

Driver Clocked at 233km/h on Highway (this one did not end in fatality luckily)

Couple Killed by High-Speed Drivers

If the maximum-posted speed anywhere in the country is 100km, why do we sell cars that can reach speeds of 260 km? I called 911 a few months ago because a vehicle driving at approx. 160 km passed me on the highway.  The driver was using the shoulder; not even a designated lane.

Outside of professionals on a racetrack, emergency response units and a few others, who are these lethal speeds necessary for; drunk drivers, criminals trying to outrun the police, street racers, young adults trying to show off? I read an article on a police blog that warns speed is causing an increase in fatalities and it suggests that an action plan is required. It reads…

Needed: An Action Plan The highway safety community-police, courts, engineering, and public education needs a new action plan to adjust to this paradigm shift and prevent the ship of safety from steering into this speeding storm. This action plan includes the following elements:

  • increasing public perception of the hazards of speeding
  • using new paradigms in highway design
  • setting self-enforcing and realistic speed limits
  • convincing officers on the need to enforce the speed laws
  • using metrics to target and evaluate efforts

I’d be looking at the bigger picture.  If this were contingency planning for anything related to disaster planning, big picture needs to be taken into account.




How to Know if They Are Faking

December 12th, 2013 Comments off

With all due respect to not only the deaf community but to anyone that relies on sign language as a form of communication, I have to say, faking sign language on a world stage for four hours is impressive.  Give it a try for two sentences.  It’s no small feat.

Thamsanqa Jantjie certainly has nerve.  Being partially deaf myself, and as a parent that has learned basic sign to help communicate with my special needs daughter, I found the fake interpreter disappointing for those watching the memorial, but had to laugh at the situation.

Mostly though, I was left wondering how exactly a fake interpreter got on stage beside world leaders?  Was he someone’s brother, did he get forced into the role as a last minute replacement or did he have fake credentials?

Well, the company that Thamsanqa was hired through has disappeared and Thamsanqa is claiming that he is a professional, but began to hallucinate at the memorial.  Sighting that he gets panic attacks and has previously spent a year in a mental hospital.

“Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said an investigation is under way to determine how Jantjie was hired and what vetting process, if any, he underwent for his security clearance.” Read more…

What!?  Wait, “if any”!?  This is a person that stood within an arm’s reach of world leaders and admits he has a violent past.  Yikes.

A few lessons can be learned here:

1.   When hiring people through a 3rd party company, vet their vetting process – don’t take their word for it

2.   Conduct background screening of your own people – education credentials, criminal backgrounds, etc.

There is a positive in Thamsanqa’s actions I believe.  The world is now talking about sign language and its gaining attention from those that may not have otherwise known its importance.

Have a nice day.




My First Job: A Lesson on Workplace Fraud

November 5th, 2013 Comments off

Technically, my first job was delivering newspapers and fliers when I was ten years old, but my first clock-punching job was at a pet store five years later.  I was in high school; so I worked weeknights and weekends (Saturdays – stores weren’t open on Sundays back then).

I was young, naive and admittedly ignorant to fraudulent behaviour.  But I was observant and made good decisions.

Being the new young kid in the store, I was given all of the grunt jobs and kept away from customers and completing sales.  In the beginning it was so I could ‘learn the ropes’ but it wasn’t rocket science, so I picked it up quickly.  But the senior staff always pushed to keep me away from the customers.  It was a commission-based team at this pet store.  Minimal commissions, but it added up.  Not to mention that there were larger incentives for being the top selling staff member.

After doing my fair share of cleaning fish tanks, finding the lost 5 foot python that was missing for the last 8 months (that’s another story), walking the dogs behind the store, cleaning the bird cages, etc. I decided it was time to deal with the customers and make some commissions.  There were newly hired staff that needed to ‘learn the ropes’ anyways – so let them walk the dogs.

The manager agreed and I was trained on how to use the cash register, just as all the other staff that completed sales.  I jumped into sales and did fantastic but it didn’t take me long to realize that my sales just weren’t measuring up to one of the full time employees.  I knew my sales were more than comparable but for some reason, they always beat me for the top incentive.  It was fraud.

We were only supposed to enter our employee commission code into the cash register on sales we initiated and closed.  The coworker that had top sales month after month was always offering to cover the cash register.  Even skipping breaks on busy Saturdays.  Why?  They were entering their commission number for almost every sale – even when it should have been another coworker’s number.  They were stealing from the store and coworkers.

$50 dollars from lost commissions was a really big deal back then, but huge in principal regardless.  I raised my concerns with the manager and when the previous week’s receipts were checked, I was right.  That employee’s commission number appeared on almost every sale, including the sales that I knew I made.

The manager was shocked.  It had been going on for over two years, but it only took me a couple months to catch it.

This was my first encounter with theft in the workplace, but it certainly wasn’t the last.  Some used to surprise me but not anymore, especially working for a company that conducts theft and fraud investigations.

Companies should conduct random security audits and investigations.  You may be surprised how much you could uncover.



HRCI Credits

October 24th, 2013 Comments off

AFIMAC Online Training is running a limited time 50% off promotion for all courses through until Halloween October 31st.  Please note several courses meet the criteria for HRCI credit.  Click here to review courses.

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