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Security firms thrive as safety standards tighten

April 22, 2014

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Security was ramped up at Monday's 2014 Boston Marathon. Photos: WBUR

According to news reports, some 4,000 security personnel were on hand for Monday’s Boston Marathon, the first since the 2013 bombing at the event killed three people.  From cameras to cops to bomb-sniffing dogs, and through bans on backpacks, face masks and more, officials are determined that this year’s event won’t be marred by tragedy, as Boston’s WQAD reports.

Authorities won’t say how much the extra safety measures along the 26.2 mile course are costing, but we can imagine.  And with similar public events, from fun runs to patriotic parades to summer concerts to Fourth of July fireworks about to take center stage as spring rolls toward summer, it might be worth taking  a look at the events security industry in your area and how stepped-up concerns might be creating business opportunities for some companies.  Recent news of more shootings in public spaces from courtrooms to community centers, and a stowaway who somehow made it around airport security in San Jose, Calif. also will give the security a higher profile as summer vacation season kicks off.

Of course, you’ll have to approach it a bit tactfully; few businesses are going to boast about reaping revenue from others’ misfortune.  But the latest in crowd control techniques, surveillance, security technology and jobs possibilities in the industry all can make for good, timely stories this season.

WLWT in Cincinnati touched on the topic with this report about the  upcoming “Flying Pig” run in that community; precautions there include the banning of bags and backpacks in favor of see-through plastic bags for runners’ clothing and other supplies.

And this is interesting:  StLouis Today reports Security lessons from Boston one year later that among other tactics, local police had background checks run on race volunteers.  Who was paid to do that?  Are similar efforts afoot leading up to big events in your area?

Boston Marathon 2014 CNN image
Stories about the 2014 Boston Marathon were filled with tales of perservance, survival and security.

The trade publication Security Info Watch says the demand for physical security equipment and services (vs. cybersecurity, which also is a booming industry) is already a $110 billion global market and projected to grow to $170 billion by 2017.   There are angles for a variety of business beats, from technology (video surveillance is hot and growing) to careers to small business / franchises.  Another report by Transparency Market Research has a slightly different forecast but notes that fears about terrorism have boosted security budgets nationwide.  This press release and the related detailed report are worth a read because they illuminate different facets of the industry you might want to pursue.  Biometrics also are a growing field, and

And there are interesting niches to the business; who knew that not only is crowd management a security specialty, it’s got big players like these two, Staff Pro Inc., which was just acquired by U.S. Security Associates, a contractor that claims 160 offices and 52,000 employees nationwide.  Who knew?  The press release says Staff Pro Staff Pro “specializes in crowd management, licensed security, ushers, ticket sellers, ticket takers, alcohol enforcement, event managers, and special event consultants.”

Music and arts festivals, like the recently wrapped Coachella festival, are a growing clientele for security contractors; if you’ve got such an event coming up you can give readers insight into the costs and concerns of both parties.

Here’s a link to major industry trade shows and associations; perusing the member list, programs and speakers will help you become familiar with industry concerns and find experts to interivew.    And SourceSecurity.com bills itself as a major industry resource; if you click the companies tab you’ll find an item in the dropdown menu that leads to events security firms.


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