Security Guard list/Pettersson/dt1st/mark2nd
Despite of a dramatic decline in crime, the security business continues to be a growth industry. While the number of burglaries and attempted burglaries in the city of Los Angeles last year was half the number of a decade earlier, the state's Economic Development Department projects that, from 1995 to 2002, the number of guards in L.A. County will grow by 30 percent, to a total of 55,830.
Part of the reason is that the industry is moving into new territories. "Security is being used in areas where it has never been used before," said Daniel Boyd, president of Boyd & Associates in North Hollywood. Boyd cites gated communities and high-rises as places where the demand for security personnel has grown substantially over the past few years.
A more diverse and demanding clientele means security firms are broadening the types of services they provide. Boyd's guards often perform concierge duties in high-rises and monitor machinery at industrial plants. In addition, the use of high-tech security equipment creates a need for skilled technicians to install and maintain it, while making traditional guards a less crucial part of security operations.
L.A. County's largest security firm, Inter-Con Security Systems Inc., specializes in the kind of sophisticated security needs that are not easily met by traditional guard firms. Although the company provides short-term investigation and consultation services, its main focus is in designing, staffing and administering complex security operations.
Its clients include manufacturers, health care facilities, museums, diplomatic compounds, federal, state, and local government, foreign governments and public utilities. One of the company's most noteworthy assignments is to provide security and related services to the NASA Space Shuttle Program.
Ten years ago, it employed 725 security officers in L.A. County and 4,500 companywide; this year it reported 3,402 security personnel in L.A. and 16,000 companywide. A large number of the employees work overseas Inter-Con provides security at numerous U.S. embassies. International government security services is now one of the most important areas of growth for Inter-Con.
Like many others in the industry, Vice President Neil Martau is concerned about the image of security firms, citing small firms that hire unlicensed guards at minimum wages. As a result, untrained and unprepared security officers are often put in situations in which they can do more harm than good, Martau says.
Established in 1976, Inter-Con is a privately owned firm. Last year the company moved its headquarters from Alhambra to Pasadena.
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