As a professional security officer your primary duty is to be observant of everyone, everything around you. Here are a few tips to help you improve your observation skills:
1. Visual inventory - at the beginning and throughout your work day take a visual inventory of your surroundings. Look for doors that are not normally opened, new visitors, and potential safety hazards. Make a point to check often throughout the day and investigate when something doesn't appear quite right or normal. (One officer reported that he takes a photo of his work area with his phone at the beginning of his shift. He can compare later observations with the photo he took. Good idea!)
2. Make notes in your activity log or notebook - Taking notes helps you remember. Notes are also a good reference when you see something out of the ordinary. Even making notes of "normal" activities will help later if something is found out of place or out of the ordinary. Note deliveries, visitors, door opening and closings.
3. "Observe" - the best way to be observant is to observe your surroundings. Look for clues that something may be out of the ordinary. If you normally see business visitors at your post, try to be observant of clothing, or items that may signal the individual is not who they appear to be. One security officer had a visitor that asked a lot of questions about the business. He left and returned several times over the period of an hour. The officer later found the individual trying to enter the building from the loading dock in what appeared to be an attempt to burglarize the business.
4. Share information - Share your observations with fellow officers. Let them know of any strange happenings that occurred during your shift. Sharing information will help your fellow officers identify suspicious activity and may even protect them.
Always make an effort to be observant. After working a shift for several hours it is easy to become complacent. When you observe something out of the ordinary ask questions, and continue to observe. This is a great preventative measure as criminals will not like the attention!
Member of the Guardstar Academy Staff. All Guardstar Academy staff are experienced law enforcement, security professionals and/or private investigators.