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Thread: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

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    Default Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Aloha to all. If this is the wrong forum for this question, I'm sure the mods will move it to the appropriate area. I've been doing security patrolling work for about three years now but mostly on small sites. A few months ago I've been assigned to a very large site that consists of about eight acres with two large warehouses which are about two and a half football fields long each. The warehouses are being renovated and there is no lights or power on the site. Most of the available light I can see is from street lights and parking lot lights. There are a few construction vehicles on the property, storage containers, gated storage areas, etc. all of which the boogie man or some homeless guy could be lurking.


    I acquired a high powered flashlight (Nitecore Tiny Monster - 2000 lumens) to help me light my way and to see what's in the dark recesses of this huge cavern I stay in and about during my shift. I was wondering how do the experienced members that patrol large dark sites go about patrolling and observing with their flashlights? Do you do a sweeping motion side to side as you are walking along or do you light your way ahead with very little sweep? My torch throws a very wide and floody beam. Even so, I find myself sweeping side to side. I would appreciate it if others could share there own techniques on foot patrolling at night and help me develop my skills and confidence.

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    ~

    Can you get Training by a security company in your area ?

    ~
    ~ "She" says ...... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    No training unfortunately.

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    If I were you I would strongly suggest that you carry a second "backup" light, just in case your "Tiny Monster" should ever happen to fail.

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Another STRONG suggestion for a backup light. Murphy's Law will bite you in the tush whenever it gets the chance.

    I will say that I'm not in the business but some of my friends have been and for a very long time, so here are some basics you probably already know or should...

    Always make sure your communications are open, check in before you start a tour, and check back in when you are done. Make sure the person you're checking in with understands how long a tour is going to take and that they will know when to call for help if you have not signaled that you are done with your sweep.

    For your safety it would be better if when you are checking in you're using at least a 10-code. If something does go wrong, someone else will not be able to just be able to call in and say, "I'm done" and have your dispatcher think that it's you.

    As for a sweep, if you're not logging in at stations in a set pattern throughout your tour (like the old style time clocks made you do), then try to vary your pattern so that anyone sneeking in would have a harder time doing so.

    Use all your senses. Stop along your tour to just listen. Is there a different smell in the air? And so on.

    Remember to look up and down as well as to the side. We live in a 3 dimensional world and not in a 2 dimensional comic book (well most of us anyway).

    Don't give yourself away. Don't make a lot of noise. Don't smoke on tour. Use your head.


    And get some training. Do it soon. A course at the local community college might just have what you need. What you are doing is your job but with training you'll feel better about it and you can avoid a bit of danger or a little extra excitment.
    "Show them a light, and they'll follow it anywhere..."

  6. #6

    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    In a construction site, clients generally hire security to protect from the following in the event of a breach from two and four-legged intruders: a) establishment of temporary habitation; b) damage to land, dwelling, and materials; and c) theft of material.

    Your advantage as the protector is time and familiarity of the area. Spend some time becoming VERY knowledgeable with the area and its contents during the day when you do not need to use your flashlight. Get to know where the transients may possibly setup camp. This should be fairly uncomplicated to do. Just look for an area or spot where two or more sides are covered AND can obstruct the view of security. Determine where exactly they already have done so. Look for signs such as grass pushed to one side artificially, soil compacted so as to accommodate animal or human presence, and debris left as a result of animal or human habitation.

    Next, determine just what will invariably be damaged first and foremost. High-value equipment, scaffolding, and temporarily-stored building material easy targets for the pseudo-miscreant looking to impart minor grief and irritation. The dwelling itself may suitably be the target for the serious arsonist.

    Finally, look for targets of pilferage. Unlike what is depicted in popular celluloid, dump trucks and large and heavy storage containers are rarely the targets and best left to the imagination of Hollywood writers. What invariably become targets are items such as portable power tools, spools of copper wire, boxes of light bulbs, and various and sundry items that can be easily lifted, taken, placed in a small inconspicuous vehicle and then pawned or sold quickly. You will NOT likely see an expensive rosewood desk valued at 10K taken. It's too hard for one, two, or even three punks to carry and "unload."

    Once you have determined all this, find the likely ingress (entry) and egress (exit) points where the intrusion may likely occur. If the area is fenced, find a weak spot such as where a tree may create a blind spot that the intruder may use to conceal their profile while cutting the fencing. If not fenced, find an easily-traversed path that can be quickly used to enter and exit the area that leads into a quick getaway such as a clearing next to a road.

    Next, establish your own paths that is NOT the ordinary means to inspect the area. Conducting the checks and inspections regularly establishes routine that can be used by the intruders against you. Once you know how to move about in the area during the day, it will help you move about at night. Know your area.

    If you have done all the previous things, you have the advantage; however, the intruders remain hiding and you remain out in the open conducting your tasks in the open. When patrolling at night, hide or remove anything on your attire that can reflect light to avoid being seen.

    It may sound preposterous; however, investing in an inexpensive, military night vision goggles is a good way to improve your low light capability without having to blast an area with several hundred lumens.

    You may be the butt-end of jokes from your colleagues for being ninja-esque; however, it is better to be laughed at for doing a good job, getting paid, and supporting your family than to be yelled-at by the client, fired by the boss, and not having the means to feed your family because you did a lousy job.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    When I was doing security (looooong ago) I carried a Maglite because it was 1) big so it was easy to find and grab and 2) long life and 3) could be used to swat at errant dogs and such. New lights are smaller and brighter and longer lived, but don't intimidate the dogs when you swing it at them.

    When in a low light environment you can often do quite well by using a low power light (5 or 10 lumens) so that your eyes remain accustomed to the dark. That way you can more readily see the things outside your beam and in the shadows.

    I've not tried it for security work, but I have a light with a super focused beam and no side spill, the Pelican Recoil model. I can shine it on distant buildings and see clearly because the foreground does not light up and desensitize my eyes.

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    In addition to what has been suggested, I would like to add an emphasize on scouting the entire site so you know whats supposed to be there, and, if there are existing trails/obvious routes people take from one place to another OTHER THAN the ones they were supposed to.

    That way, if you see something out of place/missing...you CAN notice it.

    The next parts really depend on what you're supposed to DO if you discover something amiss.


    Lets say you interrupt some gentlemen in the process of carrying the copper gutters from one of the warehouses towards the end of the property opposite where the entrance is...are you armed?

    Are you expected to STOP them, or, are you expected to radio someone and report it?

    This is a key concept, as it changes what you DO when you see them, and HOW you LOOK FOR them.

    If you are armed/and expected to STOP the crime...you can be more brazen in your patrol, and in your apprehension process, because you are a force there TO discourage looting, etc. IE: THEM KNOWING you are patrolling is a disincentive to TRY to steal/vandalize there.

    If your job is to patrol/report back..and NOT STOP them...its then a judgement call typically biased towards the "hardness" of the criminals you expect to face at that site. If its always vandals...they tend to run like rabbits if they see you.

    If they are stealing stuff, they tend to run if they think you would otherwise ID them, but to hide/hope you wander off again so they can CONTINUE the process once "The cost is clear".


    If you are supposed to call it in but not stop them...its actually better to pretend you DIDN'T spot them...and wander off as they hoped....but wander in the direction they might escape to/leave them the direction your call response comes from, etc.

    If you wander off and find the hole in the fence/ladder etc....you can call that in too....and leave it there, so there's people waiting on the other side when they "come down the ladder" etc.

    As for patrol style - many work...but the environment will make some work better than others.



    One school of thought is to patrol in the dark, with night adapted eyes, ears open, moving quietly...so you might see THEIR lights/hear THEIR activities...using only a little light as needed where its just too dark to safely move.

    That is most used where the environment is too obstructed for good sight lines, and your light will alert them to hide well before you can see them.

    If you have large open sight lines, and for example in daylight would be able to see perps...then a big 'ol flood is nice to make it LIKE daylight so you can see the perps.


    The broader the beam, the less time they have to hide. If the area is too wide/deep to light up with your beam all at once...you do need to sweep.

    If you think someone might be hiding and potentially considering shooting you...you need to do this as quickly as possible. A slow steady sweep is nice for observations...but makes taking a shot at you easier...they can time it and squeeze it off.

    If your light plays rapidly in a fast series of less predictable sweeps, they are less confident in their ability to get the shot off w/o being seen...and wait.

    You are of course more likely to sweep across them and not notice them if they are hiding, on a fast sweep, etc...and you'd be also moving to make a harder target yourself.

    This is why, ideally, one guy would not be sent into a large warehouse to apprehend a shooter...its too dangerous. (If they above might apply...I'd recommend ONLY calling things in)


    If again, its just a vandal/animal issue...a slow methodical sweep is fine...if its noisy to escape. If its not noisy to escape, the sweep needs to be less predictable, to make them feel they should sit tight and not run...as if they could quietly slip away...they might. Animals vary in their response...some bolt in panic, some seem oblivious to your presence.


    This in another area where knowing the terrain works...if you know how they have to escape, you can "herd" them where you want them to go. If you know there's a dirt road/trail that leaves tracks, or mud, a large field, or whatever serves the function were you are...you can try to make them go where they can be followed more easily, rather than disappearing into brush, etc.

    If you have more than one light...you can leave one light on the floor to obscure their view of what you are doing/provide background lighting of say a way out in case they go for it, etc....and then use another light to search in more detail.



    If you being there is the deterrent...you patrolling with a giant light, so that you CAN be seen, might be all your boss wants....he's billing for a night watchman, and, by golly, there you are....and everyone's happy.

    The bad guys say..."They have a night watchman over at there...lets got to to the OTHER warehouses"...Mission Accomplished.


    If even KNOWING there's someone patrolling, they STILL go to your site, well, its either a very tempting target, or, for kids at least...part of the attraction (The excitement of you trying to catch them is a lot of fun if you're a kid).

    If its animals...well, they're there despite you too, and either go somewhere else because you are annoying/threatening to them...or they ignore you because they have no fear of you, etc.

    This means that you might sweep big lights at some areas of the patrol, but patrol in stealth mode in other areas/situations at the same site...depending on the combination of all of these types of factors.


    If you only call stuff in, you just need to know they're there...and call in that there's people there. You never need to turn on a giant light to see them/what they're doing in more detail...until the ones who DO stop them arrive, etc.

    You can call them in like in RECON, where they don't KNOW you're there, and they don't know they've been reported....until its too late....or in a confrontational manner where you hold them at bay, if that's one of your options, and so forth.

    Hope that helps a little.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    It is of course different if you are doing your sweep in a vehicle or on foot. Also have your supervisor or boss determine if they want you to patrol and make your presence known or if they want you to just patrol surreptitiously to determine trespass and thefts.

    I'll guess that since you do not have formal training they do not want you to intercede but rather to alert others and just keep an eye on things safely until the troops arrive. Let the pros handle the dicey stuff -- you don't have the training and doing otherwise would end in bad things happening.

    There's been a lot of other good advice here but you should be learning and getting training from your employer and not from us. We don't know all the details and we don't want the liability.
    "Show them a light, and they'll follow it anywhere..."

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Thanks to all that responded. TEEJ, chmsam, 0dBm: Wow, I appreciate the time and effort you guys put in your post.

    Too bad the security company I work for now (multi-national security firm) does not provide proper training other than watching a couple DVDs. I just wanted some opinions on how other experienced members would go about carrying out this scenario I originally posted. Obviously this thread could not replace professional training and I know I'm pretty much on my own in judgment and utilizing my wits when carrying out my responsibilities. But at least I have some better idea on forming my own actions from the information I've compiled not only here but from experience and coworkers. I will be printing this thread out to study a bit more. All the best.
    Last edited by mauiblue; 04-02-2012 at 12:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    This isn't swat tactics,

    You are there as a deterrant. Nothing more, nothing less. You shining that bright light also serves as a deterrant. If you encounter bold peeped, its best to call in the local law enforcement in case of s of engaging a peep. I can tell you, your light is and reports as an unmarked security is your sword in the night.escalation or even worse, them having a fire ARM, in which case you are then putting yourself at great risk. If you are armed, your may entail more specific measureS of threat engagement. Yes I'm using my new phone lol

  12. #12

    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Worked security for 5 years.

    Definitely sweep. If anyone is there, it lets them know they're not going to be able to sneak past you or (far more important) sneak up on you by sticking to the outside of your beam.

    Also, when ever patrolling a large warehouse, stick to the outer walls while making a perimeter sweep. Slowly work your way closer and closer towards the center. That way, you know you've covered every bit of the warehouse that is now behind you. If you do encounter someone, they're going to be right in front of your sweeping flashlight beam. Makes it safer for you.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    sweep.

    and carry a backup light. Klarus XT11 would be a good compliment to the Tiny Monster
    because it is fairly small but huge lumens, and the switch system with instant strobe to disorient
    cannot be ignored (one of the best switch designs ever on a power-led light)

    and

    if you patrol the same site, I would get tiny tiny squares of reflective material (cut up a conspicuity tape and make tiny squares)
    and stick it down the furthest caves near the ground on fence lines or other, so when you do patrol... you can easily see how
    deep your beam is reaching by the bounceback of your little indicators, and it also help sweep large areas you can easily
    see how wide you are sweeping. where the main part of your beam is, and how fast based on the brightness of your little markers reflecting back at you. I used to work on an Air Force base, and had to patrol a huge abandoned runway where our little
    intel squadron was located, and the area was so huge it would eat any flashlight beam. put out some little chunks of
    retroreflectors...and it made a huge difference in knowing how deep and how good my sweep was.
    Last edited by 127.0.0.1; 04-03-2012 at 07:30 AM.
    posted by jh333233
    Dont cheat me, im expert in using crap light

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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    sweep.

    and carry a backup light. Klarus XT11 would be a good compliment to the Tiny Monster
    because it is fairly small but huge lumens, and the switch system with instant strobe to disorient
    cannot be ignored (one of the best switch designs ever on a power-led light)

    and

    if you patrol the same site, I would get tiny tiny squares of reflective material (cut up a conspicuity tape and make tiny squares)
    and stick it down the furthest caves near the ground on fence lines or other, so when you do patrol... you can easily see how
    deep your beam is reaching by the bounceback of your little indicators, and it also help sweep large areas you can easily
    see how wide you are sweeping. where the main part of your beam is, and how fast based on the brightness of your little markers reflecting back at you. I used to work on an Air Force base, and had to patrol a huge abandoned runway where our little
    intel squadron was located, and the area was so huge it would eat any flashlight beam. put out some little chunks of
    retroreflectors...and it made a huge difference in knowing how deep and how good my sweep was.


    On a long deep run, the use of reflectors can be deceptive though..as very little light will be required to reflect back to you, but the lux on target might not be sufficient to resolve a potential target of interest.

    IE: I can light up a reflector a mile away, but not SEE someone 600 yards away between me and the reflector.


    Dark - Control



    Camera Flash - Control

    Notice that the reflectors are lit up on the transmission towers that you can't see the rest of, just the reflectors down the right-of-way line...but no details/resolution of what's out there OTHER THAN the reflectors.




    Big Bruiser Shot

    Notice you can see further, but that reflectors were lit up way further down the line than the grass, or trees, etc, could be resolved?



    4Sevens S18 Shot

    We can see further here with more throw, but the same reflectors are still lit up as with the B Bruiser




    SR90 Shot

    Again, all the reflectors are lit up, but, we now see even further, as far as being able to resolve details, etc.


    And so forth.

    Hanging a shirt or other non-reflective target at known ranges might be better at telling you if you WOULD be able to see someone at that range if they were there..if you could resolve the shirt, etc. If the people you need to see will be wearing camo...it should be a camo shirt, etc.

    If the reflectors were only used to mark the boundaries...so if you see the reflector, but not things between you and it, you know there could be things in the shadows, etc.

    On the other hand, in an industrial environment which is typically fenced, etc...if you can't see the FENCE, you know there's stuff you can't see between you and the fence.


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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Some artificial light would go a long way toward helping. It would be nice to find a way to either tap into a generator or some propane powered camping lights. There are some solar charged LED garden lights on the market, but most of them only run 3- 5 hours after dark.

    Is there any chance that you can drive a vehicle around the warehouse and site with one of those 12 volt plug in lights ?
    Last edited by HarryN; 04-03-2012 at 09:18 PM.
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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Hi HarryN. During the first couple weeks I worked at the site I actually used a propane camping lantern to give me some lighting. It just gave me the spooks because of all the shadows it helped generate. I would not drive around a vehicle on that site as there are many screws, nails, etc. that could flatten tires on a personal vehicle. A relief security officer told me one night he had two flat tires. I do run a small LED light in my car's interior to give me enough light to read and write in my log book.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Quote Originally Posted by mauiblue View Post
    Hi HarryN. During the first couple weeks I worked at the site I actually used a propane camping lantern to give me some lighting. It just gave me the spooks because of all the shadows it helped generate. I would not drive around a vehicle on that site as there are many screws, nails, etc. that could flatten tires on a personal vehicle. A relief security officer told me one night he had two flat tires. I do run a small LED light in my car's interior to give me enough light to read and write in my log book.
    Security companies are supposed to provide security officers with certain things. Including a half-way decent flashlight. But, they usually provide just the uniform. And if it's a mom & pop security company, they take money out your check to pay for that uniform. (Hell, even some of the bigger companies pull that BS too.) My last security manager didn't know about my flashaholic interests. She advised me to buy my own flashlight, and even suggested I get a 2AA Mini-Mag (like the one she always carried on the job). Just the way it is. Often times, you have to provide your own gear and needed pieces of equipment to do the job properly.

    Harry most likely assumed that they issued you a patrol vehicle. My last job site was littered with the same type of crap. Never use your personal car for patrolling. Among other things, you're definitely not getting reimbursed for gas. I'm guessing your relief wasn't reimbursed by the security company for those two flat tires. It happened on the job, so he should have been. Then again, security companies should issue flashlights to any officers who work 2nd and 3rd shifts. But, they don't.

    Missing equipment, broken equipment, attitude from non-security personnel who work for the client, relief who shows up late or even not at all, stuck working a double shift with less than last minute's notice, no sick days, no holidays off, no personal days, getting paid peanuts, being treated like crap by your own boss because you actually try to do a professional job . . . Just standard operating procedure in the security industry.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Yep, the company I work for (large multi-national security firm) provides uniforms and very little else. You eat your meals on the run. The flashlight they provided is a joke. The relief security officer I mentioned about didn't get reimbursed for his flat tires. It is a relatively easy gig but I know that if some crap goes down, there will be some drama more or less. I do my best in protecting the clients assets even acquiring a couple quality flashlights on my own to aid in my patrol. It is just too bad good training is nonexistent. Money is okay for what I do but sometimes the stress of patrolling this large area can be unnerving.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Patrolling a large warehouse/property - question on how to go about it

    Quote Originally Posted by mauiblue View Post
    Yep, the company I work for (large multi-national security firm) provides uniforms and very little else. You eat your meals on the run. The flashlight they provided is a joke. The relief security officer I mentioned about didn't get reimbursed for his flat tires. It is a relatively easy gig but I know that if some crap goes down, there will be some drama more or less. I do my best in protecting the clients assets even acquiring a couple quality flashlights on my own to aid in my patrol. It is just too bad good training is nonexistent. Money is okay for what I do but sometimes the stress of patrolling this large area can be unnerving.
    To the average security company, training is little more than the basics of how to conduct yourself so that the company doesn't get sued.

    If you work 1st shift, you're legally entitled to a 30 minute break for every 6 hours of work. It's different during 2nd and 3rd shifts because the security company can argue that it would be unreasonable (unrealistic) to expect them to bring in someone to relieve you just for the lunch break during night time. At one client site, my first day consisted of the other security officers handing me a memo they had gotten awhile back. The head of security (who worked directly for the client) had written down that the morning shift was not entitled to a lunch break.

    Needless to say, I was able to do quite a bit with that piece of information that the idiot had actually written down and then passed around.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

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