Security of a facility nowadays is vital. In order to ensure the safety of any facility and its occupants, a conscious focus on security is essential. Many facilities entrust security to more than surveillance systems and swipe card access and employ the services of a Security provider and Security Personnel. Recognising a security issue or threat before it become critical can make all the difference. Security personnel therefore should learn to identify specific indicators that a person may be armed. Here are seven signs everyone responsible for security should know about a weapon being concealed.
Please note however, that the following signs do not always guarantee the presence of a weapon:
Reaffirmation Check: Firearm offenders in particular will typically touch and/or adjust the weapon concealed on their body numerous times. This may be a gentle and difficult to observe bump with the elbow, wrist or hand. On rare occasions, it could be a distinct grasping of the weapon as they adjust it. Offenders often make this gesture when getting out of a chair or a car or when walking up stairs.
Unnatural Gait: Firearm offenders may walk with an awkward gait. They may fail to bend their knees because they have a rifle such as a sawn-off shotgun or perhaps a baseball bat or similar object partially tucked into their trousers. They may also walk uncomfortably because they have firearms, knifes or other weapons hidden in their boot or shoe causing discomfort. However, an individual with a disability may also not bend the leg or walk with an unnatural gait, but they will likely not appear to be nervous.
Jacket Sag: Placing a handgun in a jacket pocket, results in the coat hanging lower on the side where the weapon is located. In addition, you will often see the jacket fabric pulled tight from the weight of the firearm, and the weapon may swing as an offender walks. Often, the outline of the weapon may be observed in the pocket area. In some cases, the offender will attempt to hold or pin the weapon to prevent it swinging or even falling from their pocket.
Hunchback Stride: When trying to conceal a large weapon such as a baseball bat or rifle under a coat while walking, the butt of the weapon will often cause a noticeable bulge behind the armpit. Additionally, the jacket does not move naturally because it is supported by the outline of the weapon. Also, when someone wears a shoulder holster or straps on a sawn-off rifle, under their arm, a bulge in front of or behind the armpit will often be visible. Another indicator that should raise suspicion is someone who chooses to wear a trench coat or large jacket on a particularly warm day.
Bulges and the Outline of a Weapon: Careful observation can often spot the telltale bulge of the weapon or, in some instances, the distinct outline of a handgun, knife or brass knuckles in an offender's pocket. This may also sometimes be observed in a woman's purse, book bag or other hand carried item. In some instances, offenders wrap a long firearm in a blanket or long jacket.
Visible Weapon: Clearly the most reliable of all the indicators is when the weapon can actually be seen. In some cases, the butt of a handgun is visible because it is sticking out from a back or front pocket. A more common instance is the clip-on pocketknife that can be observed clipped to a front pocket or in the waistband.
Palming: Most often observed with an edged weapon offender. Palming behaviours often indicate imminent risk to the observer. The knife offender may align the blade of the weapon up along the arm or behind the leg to conceal it from frontal view. Just before a target is attacked, an offender will also typically have their eyes fixed on the intended victim.
Visual screening techniques are easy to learn and apply as long as those who need to use them are alert and observant. Observance of the offender should also be taken in context. Not all persons carrying a firearm are acting illegally and not all offenders may be in possession of a weapon. Caution is advised at all times, until the circumstances of the situation and the person or people involved can be ascertained.
Use these simple but effective techniques to your best advantage. The life you save may be your very own.