8 Common Misconceptions About Security Guards

Last Updated: May 15, 2024

Security guards play a key role in ensuring the safety of people, properties, and communities. Nevertheless, their contributions often go unnoticed due to the little public understanding of the nature of their job. In large thanks to Hollywood movies and TV, security guards are often believed to be big, muscular men with guns behind their belts, ready to jump onto any problem in a superhero style. However, this is not always the case. Let’s take a closer look at the eight common misconceptions and facts about security guards.

Myth #1: Security Guards Should Be Strong and Muscular

Contrary to popular belief, security guards don’t necessarily need to be strong and muscular. Undoubtedly, physical fitness is important for those in security, but it doesn’t mean that all security guards need to look a certain way. Yes, a physically fit guard may be more successful in stopping a robbery, but other traits and abilities can be just as effective in risky circumstances. For instance, security guards’ primary responsibilities, like preventing crime and de-escalating confrontations, can be fulfilled with excellent observational abilities and strong communication skills.

Myth #2: All Security Guards Carry Guns

Many people believe that security guards carry guns, but this isn’t always the case. Security officers are not police officers, and they are rarely required to possess guns. If they do, they must take additional training courses and follow strict safety regulations and protocols.

Myth #3: Security Guards Have No People Skills

It is a common misconception that the primary duties of security officers involve forceful conflict resolution. On the contrary, security guards work to foresee, minimize, and de-escalate issues to prevent open conflict and keep everything under control. To achieve this, they must employ advanced communication and peaceful conflict-resolution skills.

Myth #4: It Requires No Training to Be a Security Guard

Indeed, security guard roles often require nothing more than a high school diploma to apply. However, such roles provide extensive on-the-job training in various subjects, ranging from problem-solving and communication to legal restrictions and emergency procedures. Security guards must be able to react quickly and effectively to find solutions to a broad range of problems. As such, they should be continuously aware of their surroundings to foresee such situations and choose appropriate responses.

Myth #5: Security Services Are Unnecessary

There is a common misconception that only big businesses or wealthy people need to hire security personnel to protect themselves or their assets and property. Among other facts about security guards, you should know that any business or person could benefit from comprehensive security solutions. Most companies offering security guard services provide flexible options to reflect your personal needs and budget, including unarmed guards, mobile patrols, and special event security.

Myth #6: Security Guards Can Handle Any Problem

Even though security guards are experts in identifying and de-escalating conflicts, they are not immune to every possible problem. Security professionals can adapt and respond to a broad range of security issues, but they can’t always do it alone. As such, thorough security planning must be conducted in collaboration between the business owner, the security guard, and the security company.

Myth #7: Security Guards Just Sit There All Day

Many people believe that security roles involve sitting in a building lobby or behind a monitor all day. However, nobody would be hiring security services if this was, indeed, a fact about security guards. On the contrary, security officers are expected to be sharp and active, always prepared to respond to a critical situation. Security companies even have a variety of programs and strategies in place for increasing the productivity of their security teams.

Myth #8: Women Shouldn’t Be Security Guards

Unquestionably, the security industry is dominated by men, with a stereotypical security guard being male, often strong and muscular. However, this does not mean that the stereotype represents the truth and that women shouldn’t be security guards. The key skills of a good security guard include conflict resolution, communication, awareness, and attention to detail, and both men and women are capable of possessing these traits.

Today, more and more women are choosing to join the security guard profession—not only to increase diversity but also to bring their strong skills and abilities and deliver excellent security services.

Finding Your Next Security Position

While myths and misconceptions surround the security industry, it is in your power to break them. Security guards are not just a mountain of muscles, armed with a gun. Instead, they play an important role in ensuring the safety of properties and communities by employing advanced conflict resolution, communication, and problem de-escalation skills. If, after reviewing the facts about security guards, you believe you have what it takes to join the fulfilling security profession, start by browsing the Security Guards Only’s job board.

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Jeff Ketelaars
Jeff Ketelaars
Jeff Ketelaars is a seasoned security expert with over 35 years in the industry. He founded two security agencies and established Security Conscious in 1990, a firm that offers high-quality training to security professionals. As a skillful negotiator, Ketelaars has secured contracts for Canada's largest security guard union, advocating for fair treatment and compensation for security personnel.

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