Security Issues in Day to Day Life
The daily bread and wine of any average Joe, with a safe haven to rest the foot on and a fine slumber to beat the heat, is all a part of our day to day lives. But how safe is this haven, the world being filled with terrorism, hate crime, social fanatics, revulsion, and malevolence? Sure, you have burglar security alarms, close circuit TV, window and door locks installed at your homes and you never let a stranger in. But how about the security of a place, you have no control of; workplace, the grocery store, movie theatre, the shopping mall, airport and all such public retreats?
These are the places where we spend most of our times moseying around, when we are not at homes. What if a stranger walks in and poses a threat to you or your family? Are the security measures adequate? After September 11 2001 terror attacks, the security measures are said to have increased and gave rise to the creation of The Department of Homeland Security on October 8, 2001 under the Bush Government. (Cited in www. dhs. gov) The 9/11 terror has not only attacked the Twin Towers (also known as the World Trade Center) but also the lives of the people dwelling around the globe.
It has raised some serious questions on the security measures taken at various public places. It often makes us wonder, how much security is enough? To analyze the current security order at various places, I first considered a mall that I pay frequent visits to, one of the best in the city. At the entrance, I am always warmly greeted by the dual pair of smart officers dressed in uniforms. The door has a magnetometer screening (door frame metal detector) installed, through which I pass comfortably, without any hitch. The mall is very huge and spacious. There are not officers wandering inside the malls and it seems unnecessary.
On a quick note, all the security measures taken by this mall management team, looks good enough and sound for any public place. But on stretching my thoughts further, I come to realize about the rear door of the mall. It opens up inside a huge complex, which has more shops and joints in turn. The rear part of this mall has four to five doors, two to three of which are marked as ‘Exit’, while the others allow entry inside. There is one officer watching the door but no magnetometer screening is installed on this door. It clearly points out a small flaw in the security system of this mall.
It doesn’t pose as a great threat to the society but it is definitely a flaw and the security system installed can be breached. According to a post in the Washing USA Today, the investment in additional security of malls is scant even after the September 11 attacks in 2001. “Since nothing has happened (since 9/11), security has become a less important priority. It’s now much more difficult to justify costs for additional security. ” (Cited in www. usatoday. com, 2006, Kevin Johnson) As per the survey conducted by USA Today, only 16% of shopping centers have increased security measures after the 9/11 attacks.
The survey also claims to have found that the state government hasn’t done enough to boost the security conditions in private sector. Many security directors are also of the view that the security training provided to the security officers is inadequate. The Grocery store I visit every week has some similarities to the mall with some differences too, that needs to be evaluated. The regular grocery store around the corner is a vast store where many people walk in every day for their daily needs like bread, milk, eggs, cereals and other provisions.
The store has a similar magnetometer screening installed at the entrance of the mall. A single officer guards the door unlike the mall, where there are two officers standing to welcome us. The officer is neatly dressed in uniform and there is no rear entrance or exit in this store. Although there is a parallel door at the front of the store, that rarely opens up, but doesn’t have any metal detector or officer guarding it. I remember once walking into the store with a laptop tied around my back in a backpack, and the magnetometer screening started to beep.
To my utter surprise, nobody stopped me and I walked inside freely. The officer was looking the other way and didn’t bother to screen me with his hand held metal detector. The security system in the grocery store reminds me of the measures taken at the mall. There is a good enough security system in place but it is not flawless. Proper measures have not been taken to honor the security system that has been installed. It will be a piece of cake, to breach the security systems installed at these local grocery stores and malls.
The security not only needs to be in place for external terrorists but for domestic violence also. There have been many cases of open thefts and shootouts inside or outside a grocery store, leaving behind fatal victims, who due to lack of time, break down on their way to the hospitals. If proper frisking or screening were available, such incidents will duly stamp out or at the least turn minimal. After the 9/11 attacks, the government authorities have claimed to strengthen the security measures at Los Angeles International Airport.
Security checks are said to have become stricter, the curbside pickup and drop offs have been restricted, all private vehicles entering the airport have to park at central parking, additional entry points have been blocked, and many such additional measures have been taken to bolster better security for travelers and visitors in the area. (Cited in http://articles. latimes. com 2003) My last visit to the Los Angeles International Airport has still fresh memories. My friend dropped me off at the terminal for my airline and parked at the central parking.
We both entered the airport guarded by security officers through the magnetometer screening and after checking in of baggage, we proceeded for the security check procedure at the security checkpoint located for my terminal of departure. These security checkpoints follow strict procedures. Every individual has to pass through the screening process, entering through a metal detector and everyone is required to remove shoes before entering for screening. If any alarm is set off during the process, the person has to undergo through additional screening. All carry on baggage are passed through the x-ray machines.
This whole process ensures that any traveler is not carrying any dangerous or prohibited item during their air travel. There is a list of prohibited items that one cannot carry during the flight. All international travelers entering the United States of America undergo through a biometric screening, which adds an additional layer of security on people entering into the United States, across borders. (Cited in www. tsa. gov) Airports have an adequate layer of security and prove to be efficient in maintaining the initiative to provide better security to everyone.
As compared to malls and grocery stores, airport has a tighter grip over the security and the officers seem to be better trained than those guarding the malls and grocery stores. The number of security officers designated at the airport is higher than malls or grocery stores. It doesn’t necessarily indicate that equal number of security personnel should be employed at all public places but the number should be adequate, depending upon the in-flow of traffic. Also, special care should be taken to remove all loopholes from the security system and an effort should be made to maintain it in the same way.
The Homeland Security needs to focus on private sectors like restaurants, malls, grocery stores, etc and increase the security. All security personnel, whether guarding the door of a mall or a grocery store, needs to be adequately trained for all emergency situations, including terrorist attacks, gun fights, riots, burglary, etc. After analyzing all the angles of security measures at various places like malls, grocery stores, airports, one can conclude that the Security System is definitely in place but it needs to strengthen for better prospective of smoother lives, for one and all.