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Security Consultants


People have been concerned with protecting valuable possessions since they began accumulating goods. At first, most security plans were rather simple. In earliest times, members of extended families or several families would band together to watch food, clothing, livestock, and other valuables. As personal wealth grew, the wealthier members of a society would often assign some of their servants to protect their property and families from theft and violence. Soldiers often filled this function as well. During the Middle Ages, many towns and villages hired guards to patrol the streets at night as protection against fire, theft, and hostile intrusion. Night watchmen continued to play an important role in the security of many towns and cities until well into the 19th century.

The first public police forces were organized in the middle of the 19th century. These were largely limited to cities, however, and the need for protection and safety of goods and property led many to supplement police forces with private security forces. In the United States, ranchers and others hired armed guards to protect their property. Soon, people began to specialize in offering comprehensive security and detective services. Allan Pinkerton was one of the first such security agents. In 1861, Pinkerton was hired to guard President-elect Abraham Lincoln on his way to his inauguration.

As police forces at local, state, and federal levels were established across the country, night watchmen and other security personnel continued to play an important role in protecting the goods and property of private businesses. The growth of industry created a need for people to patrol factories and warehouses. Many companies hired private security forces to guard factories during strikes. Banks, department stores, and museums employed security guards to watch against theft and vandalism. Other security personnel began to specialize in designing security systems—with considerations including the types of safes and alarms to be used and the stationing of security guards—to protect both public and private facilities. Government and public facilities, such as military facilities, nuclear power facilities, dams, and oil pipelines, also needed security systems and guards to protect them.

Security systems have grown increasingly sophisticated with the introduction of technologies such as cameras, closed-circuit television, video, computers, and motion-sensor devices. Security consultants assess their their clients' environments at work and home, and help them create a security system that best suits their needs. The increasing number of terrorist threats has also led to more frequent use of security services.

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