When it comes to security guards, you have two main options. Uniformed security guards may be the first that comes to mind.

The second is plain clothes security guards. While they have the same training, they don’t necessarily look the part.

However, they’re just as effective as stopping criminals in their tracks. Before deciding which to use, understand the benefits of plain clothes guards.

1. Blends In

The most obvious benefit is they blend in. While this might seem counterproductive, sometimes you want security guards that aren’t so obvious. When someone sees a guard, they might be able to avoid being seen. When they don’t know who might be watching, it’s harder to commit a crime.

If you’re trying to catch a regular shoplifter or even figure out which employee may be stealing, having a plain clothes security guard could be beneficial.

Another benefit of blending in is if someone violent comes in. People like this may target a uniformed guard immediately to take out the person most likely to stop them. If they don’t see a guard, the guard is in a place to better stop the criminal from hurting anyone.

2. May Seem Less Intimidating

Studies have shown that uniforms do make a difference in how you perceive someone. Law enforcement style uniforms, such as those for security guards, instantly give off an air of authority.

For some, this may be intimidating, especially in retail. Imagine walking into a small store only to see someone in a uniform with a gun. A guard that just seems like another shopper seems friendlier and far less intimidating.

3. Catch More People In The Act

General shoplifting is bad enough, but organized retail crime is becoming a major issue. In a 2017 survey, 90% of retail respondents had been a victim of this type of crime.

These groups look for security guards and actively try to avoid them. To better catch them in the act, a plain clothes security guard may be necessary. Instead of seeing a uniform, they just see another customer. The guard catches them in the act along with others they may be with.

Not only is your store able to file charges against the thief, the guard contacts area stores to let them know who to look for within the rest of the group. This could allow stores to catch more organized crime gangs.

4. Difficult To Track Security

If you want to commit a crime, you watch the security guards’ routines. Maybe every few minutes they turn to check another area of the store or building. Once you know the routine, you may be able to commit the crime and get away.

When you don’t know who the guard is, it’s difficult to track patterns. This is one of the best benefits of a plain clothes security guard. It’s still important for the guard to vary their routine just so they’re not easy to pick out.

5. Easier To Monitor Employees

If you suspect employees are stealing or helping customers steal, plain clothes guards are ideal. They blend in like customers, but know exactly what to look for. They may notice employees taking cash out of a register or helping a friend steal merchandise by taking the security tags off for them.

While you’ll need to vary your guards for this to work, it’s perfect if you suspect any trouble from employees.

6. Looks More Professional In Some Settings

In some organizations, a standard security guard uniform stands out like a sore thumb. Instead of looking professional, the uniforms just draw attention to your business’s security risks.

Having them dress more like regular employees creates a more uniform look throughout the business. For instance, if employees typically wear suits to work, having your guards wear suits looks far more professional.

7. May Gain Trust Easier

While people may trust uniformed security guards to keep them safe, they’re not as likely to share rumors or brag about the bad things they’ve done. If your security guards look like regular employees, other employees might share their tricks for stealing.

Customers may even mistakenly ask the plain clothes guards to help them steal something. Without looking like a guard, they’re more trustworthy to those wanting to commit criminal acts.

Contact BOS Security

If you’re still trying to choose, consider going with both. Ask our team any questions you might have about security by contacting us at 404-793-6965.

Our free Security Needs Assessment is the perfect way to uncover potential risks right now and help you develop a better security strategy.

Image: Prudence Earl