Archive for February, 2012

Seattle Neighborhood tired of crime…

Posted in WCSC on February 4, 2012 by West Coast Security Concepts

Why does this not surprise me?  More and more crimes are happening in neighborhoods and either goes unreported, or when no action is taken.  This is not the fault of the police departments; it is a fact of our current economy. 

Unreported Crime – People have several reasons for not reporting crime, so let’s look at some of them.  First and foremost is a language barrier.  In many countries people do not report crimes because in their culture, it is acceptable, call it the hunter hunting its prey if you will..  Fear is a big role here, a majority of time when a crime against persons happens in other cultures, the individual is threatened, and their family is threatened.  Why would you report a crime when this weighs on your shoulders?  Remember the word fear…

Law Enforcement takes no action – While most police officers usually become them because they have a desire to help people who cannot help themselves, it is not always so (I will go more into this under fear).  With the current state of our economy, and if you know me personally you have heard me say this time and time again, budgets are being cut so drastically that our police departments simply do not have the money or man power to do anything.  Shrinking budgets have certainly made for shrinking man power, shrinking man power has made for higher case loads for detectives, and for that shrinking budget, well good luck getting your crime solved.  Once again, this is not our police departments fault, so who do you blame?  I think as an individual you have to decide that for yourself based upon your own opinions, this is simply mine.

Fear – Let’s look at the recent history of the Seattle Police Department.  Over the recent years we have seen stories depicting certain officers, in one case the same, using excessive force.  Now let’s stop here, I am not saying this force was or was not justified, but simply said, I was not there to witness it or see the whole story of what actually occurred, frankly, neither were you.  We have a number of checks and balances for our departments, so before anyone should make comments, we should allow for the checks and balances to happen.  Stop judging an incident you see on the news, the news cuts out a lot of what you see, they want you to see what they want because of ratings, ratings mean money for them. Back to fear… So as we as citizens see these types of incidents from our news media, and from what short clips people have put on social media, it makes people afraid, afraid of the men and women we pay to protect our cities.  While some of the issues may be true, I would say most are not.  I know many Seattle Police Officers from over my years in my industry, and while I am not afraid of them, I understand why people are, they understand as well. 

Lawsuits – People make money off of suing each other, so this “pro-bono” attorney you see on the news, he will charge some kind of fee for his service, most likely call it a document fee, or office fee.  Tied in will be his fee, he just does not word it that way.  If you get an attorney that says he is pro-bono, get it in writing.  A true pro-bono case will cost you nothing if you win your case as well.

Recent stories certainly have depicted a lot of crime in two neighborhoods in Seattle.  Belltown for one, and plan and simply the whole Rainier Valley.  I understand the frustrations of residents and honestly was excited to see the residents of New Holly march, take back your neighborhood, you all know who the people are that cause the issues.  Work with your community leaders, apartment community managers, law enforcement, and if you have it in your community, security.  Report things as they happen, as they say in my industry, if it is not written in a report, it never happened.  This goes with reporting crimes, if you don’t report it, it does not happen.  Crime statistics play a big role in the budget process for governments, and private entities.  When they see a decline crime, oh by the way, that’s reported crime, they use this to justify shrinking budgets and man power.

Now let’s talk about Belltown.  Belltown falls right outside of the Downtown Seattle Metropolitan District (MID).  look at the map directly on the MID’s webpage.  So why is the crime coming to Belltown?  After looking at the map, the MID has a group of people they call ambassadors, and they simply report everything to the police.  I find the MID boundary to be an interesting one.  So how this works is, the MID is financed through tax assessments on Downtown properties and covers a 225 square block area in Downtown Seattle’s core. Each day, the MID’s 62 Downtown Ambassadors patrol the streets of the Denny Triangle, Pioneer Square, Retail Core, Waterfront and West Edge neighborhoods in order to maintain Seattle’s healthy, vibrant urban core.  What do the ambassadors do, well from what I have seen they are really glorified tour guides (look at the stats posted by MID, it shows observed, nothing actionable), the job description for these individuals says so also.  So look at it from this point of view, these individuals call the Seattle Police and the police tell them to move on.  So after being told to move on so many times, where are they going to go?  North, where no cops are around much, and no one is telling them to move on. What’s north?  Belltown… Belltown, we are always here for you, and contact us for an educational meeting where you can learn about us, stress your concerns, and we will tell you how we can help.

Many years ago I worked for a company that was hired by what was then the Downtown Seattle Association, now MID.  This companies Security Officers responded to all needs of the contracted are, which was then, First, Second, Western Avenues, and the Waterfront.  Belltown has its own business association, which has spoken for the businesses in the area to the city telling them they are tired of the crime… A promise has been made, but it is apparent with the crime rate, they have been broken.  Once again, this is not the Seattle Police Departments fault, they can only do so much with the budget they are given, and the man power that your leaders say they can have. 

 Businesses can take back their neighborhoods by simply looking for solutions.  Neighborhood watch, sounds good, is free, people are gung-ho at first, then lose interest as time goes on, or are simply too afraid to participate. Security, great solution, can be expensive, but still cheaper than the police department, and in most cases have more rights on private property than a police officer.  So as we exam this solution, who will do the work, well every security company says they will, they actually do the same as the ambassador program, observe and report, call the police, wait.. have we mentioned response times? That will be a topic for later.  A true proactive solution from a Security provider such as mine hires the right staff, provides the proper training, better than average pay, and the benefits.  The guy who makes $10 to $12 an hour honestly doesn’t care, he is thinking about other things.  So the company that pays $10 to $12 an hour comes in, and bids low for contracts… Think about being the person that looks at the request for proposals sent in, Company A is bidding at $18 an hour, and pay their staff $10 an hour, and maybe after 3 years of work an officer will be at $12.  West Coast bids $7 to $12 an hour higher, and pays their Officers $15 to $18 an hour, has a hiring process that is not heard of from a Security Provider, and provides only the best for each solution.  In this scenario, Company A would initially win the bid, but after a while the contract would be terminated and the process starts over. 

Security Providers come in all the time and promise things, but they always fail at it.  In this case, it is the providers fault, not the individuals.  When you pay your employees crap, offer crap, and provide no training, you have a high turnover.  The bottom line in the security industry is, you get what you pay for.  I have found this to be true even as we have started to provide Courtesy Patrol to apartment communities.  We have spent time over the last week talking to property managers that are concerned that the Officers from our competitors are not showing up, or simply just not paying attention.  One even thought that an Officer was copying and pasting information into their report with issues that have been repaired and verified repaired.  West Coast refuses to hire just another warm body to cover and hope that our customers won’t notice.  The customer does notice, that is one of the reasons contracts change hands all the time, and let’s face it, big companies simply do not care.  Our professionals live in the community, which includes our command staff.  We care, that is the bottom line, we listen, and we provide what we promise.  


 About 100 residents of Seattle’s New Holly neighborhood marched Friday night in an effort to stop crime that was happening in their neighborhood the last couple of weeks.

Home invasions, car theft, armed robberies and assaults have been occurring in the neighborhood, and neighbors took action by marching with signs and flashlights.

Residents ended their march at the Othello Street Sound Transit stations where they spoke with KIRO 7’s Chris Francis on the change they wanted to see, and wanted a stronger police presence.

“I want my son to be able to walk around safely,” said Roberta Jacobs, a New Holly resident. “I want my husband to be able to take the Light Rail without worrying about him getting assaulted or mugged.”

South Precinct Lieutenant John Hayes was at the march and told KIRO 7 it was all about the knowledge and communication.

“When you have a community that understands where the suspicious circumstances lie, you have a community that is more comfortable,” said Hayes.

On Monday, Seattle police chief John Diaz and city councilman Bruce Harrell will be at Seward Park to talk about the recent crimes.

“I think there’s an outrage, people are really tired of being scared,” said Jacobs.


Seven Business Truths

Posted in WCSC on February 2, 2012 by West Coast Security Concepts

So I ran across this article on Facebook from one of the pages I follow and thought I would share.  After reading this, they are very true for me at least and how I should keep my mind focused on things.  I put my two-sense in bold type.

 7 business truths I wish I’d been brave enough to believe, 732 days ago.

Side-note :: I eventually DID come to believe each of the following truths, along the wild & winding road. But if I’d known & believed them at the BEGINNING of my entrepreneurial journey? We’d be living in the United States of Franzen, by now.

1 :: Proceed like you’re already PLATINUM.

To borrow a potent question from everyone’s favorite Jersey Girl-made-good, “If you were the BEST in the world at what you do, how would you BEHAVE?” Behave like that, from day one.
And pretty soon, the BEST is precisely what you’ll be.

After looking back at all of the years I have been doing Security, and the different positions I have held, I think I can honestly say I am an expert in many areas.  By no means am I saying I know everything, but I know a lot.  With that said, I have to sell myself in written material as well in person because of the fact this is a very large industry.  I have always shown I am the best at what I do, through the good, the bad, and of the course ugly.  With different events and paths that I have taken, I have never let the bad or the ugly keep me down, I have just learned from it and moved on knowing that I did nothing wrong.  What is keeping me motivated is after working so long in this industry, I know that I provide a better solution than any of my competitors, if I don’t have the solution, I always manage to find it.  I am quick on my feet. 

 2 :: But . . . fall in love with your worst-case scenario.

I got up close & personal with my worst-case scenario – working in a dive bar for peanuts, and snacking on government-subsidized cheese — and realized that if everything imploded like a dying star, I’d still be fine. I’d still be loveable. I’d still be charming. I’d still be me. Rock-bottom failure = more fodder for the memoir!

My worst case scenario was the last 5 years of my career, OK, OK, I can’t say it was all bad, just 98% of it.  While I did learn and grow a lot from my favorite place on the east side of Seattle, it took more out of me in 5 years then anything has in my adult life.  I have realized now that it is time for me to do the things that make me happy, and that includes being a business owner.  I know that I am the best at what I do, so I can not dwell on the past, I have to look towards the future.

3 :: Get your finances aligned by a pro, from the get-go.

Admission: I thought I could wrangle my own finances, forever. I mean, that’s why the Goddess of Prosperity invented Turbo Tax, riiight? Do yourself a glorious favor: spend $50 on a consultation with a professional number-cruncher, and get cleaned up & confident. You’ll sleep better — and keep more of what you earn.

I have learned the hard way, and I am going to take this advice further than I already have.  Without the help of Amanda Mayo and Doug Schlicter with the Strenua Group, I would be knee deep trying to figure things out in QuickBooks (lost in taxes).  Thank you both.  I think it is time to be realistic and sit down and talk things over as a whole with a CPA instead of just my tax needs.

4 :: Remember WHY you’re here. And WHAT you want.

Write it big. Blow it up. Frame it. French kiss it. Silkscreen it on your t-shirts. Tattoo it on your forearms. Do whatever you need to do to keep your driving purpose front and center, at all times. The locked-in perspective will keep you focused . . . and sane.

Why am I here?  I spent several months re-examining myself and my career goals.  I am on track with where I want to be right now.  Things are happening, and I am not going to worry about them, because at the end of the day I will figure it all out with the help of my family and friends.  I have branded myself, and I will fight for my brand and keep my drive to push forward.  I am going to be the best provider of my industry in the Puget Sound.  I will make no excuses, just be honest.  Honesty is a strong word and something that I believe everyone should live by.  Do it, live it, own it.  You own your life and your goals, do it, or you will fell worthless for life even though you are not.

5 :: Put your cheerleaders on speed dial.

Your mom. Your auntie. Your mentor. Your partner. Keep them clued in, and close. But don’t use them as human Kleenex boxes — call them when you’re in celebration-mode, not just when you’re in crisis-mode. They want — and need — to know that you’re making progress. That they don’t need to start up a charity collection for your survival. Unless, like, they do. And that’s OK, too.

This is very true.  I get mad at myself when I come across as Debbie Downer, so they the hell do it?  Everything in life comes with good and bad, but we all have to play the cards we are dealt.. or do we?  I have reshuffled mine, I am now playing that cards that I choose, instead of the ones that were chosen by others.  I am looking at the future as a bright one, I know it will be, just takes patience and time.  I cannot let the negative get me down anymore, just move forward from it and look at what I learned out of it.  My family, friends, and people that I choose to be part of my business goals all need to see the good as I move away from the negative.  I promise to make more of the good calls instead of the bad.  I thank everyone that has helped me through the rough patch and know that I have not forgotten you.

6 :: Get a just-for-the-joy-of-it hobby.

Hobbies keep you fluid, playful & expansive. Which is exactly how you’ll want your brain to be wired . . . if you want to receive your next brilliant business idea.

I think the most important thing I have done for myself this year was getting my Beagle.  No matter how bad things get, he is there to make me smile.  Instead of mopping around the house, I am outside no matter the weather with him.  He is a constant tangible thing, even through the whining.  I have come up with many ideas while outside walking him while he tugs on the leash and nips at my fingers.

7 :: Live 100 years in the future.

It’s the most critical question you can — and must — ask yourself, with each new client, opportunity, invitation & growth spurt: “100 years from today . . . will it matter?” Or, if that’s too heady, start with this: “1 year from today . . . will it matter?” Will it leave a lasting legacy? Will it continue to elevate lives? Will it enhance your visibility, the breadth of your voice, your income, your influence?
Is it vitally important? Or does it just ‘feel’ urgent?

With the state of the economy and the way my industry is ran, I know that my morals and goals will keep my company going.  If it is not as The Lombardi Group Inc., let be from what I have shown and taught people.  I have a lot of thinking to do after a meeting I had with Amanda this week in regards to where I want to be with my company in 2 to 5 years.  The ideas are spinning, it’s time to put them down on paper and make them reality.  My industry does matter, as we have shrinking government budgets, my industry will be relied upon more to protect our communities.  We will need the best of the best, not the warm body that is barely breathing to move forward.  I will not be like the big corporations or the others in the industry who really just do not care, I care and that is what matters. 

Sorry that’s some of this is long, but I appreciate your time in reading this.  I think we all need to stop and ask these questions to ourselves, think hard, and answer them.