ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Taipan Magazine

Your Own Private Army Cashing In On Fighting Crime
February 1997

When Taipan's James Passin traveled to Russia last year, he knew what he was getting into.

Just two days after his departure, an American, financially involved in the Moscow Radisson (where James stayed), was mowed down by an assailant firing a Kalashnikov submachine gun. (The American had been fighting a legal battle with Moscow city authorities over control of the hotel. He lost.)

In post-communist Russia, this is par for the course. Hits are frequent and cheap in Russia. More than 1,500 people were murdered in Moscow during 1996. According to our sources close to the Russian mob, you can hire a hitman for as low as US$100 -- as long as you pay in greenbacks.

Unfortunately, the same economics apply in the U.S. Depending on what part of the country you're in and the economy of the region, you can hire a professional killer for just US$1000.

But as Taipan recently discovered, businessmen traveling to hotspots can hire private security forces which rival today's SWAT teams. In fact, private security forces have become so popular and effective that neighborhoods are entering the bidding wars for these companies.

Cashing in on crime

Last year, businesses and communities spent a total of US$62 billion on private security firms, compared to the US$40 billion public outlay for police.

With the increase in demand and new companies entering the market every year, estimates put private police services at US$110 billion by the year 2000.

One such company which has become a leader in the industry is Critical Intervention Services. They specialize in protecting high-profile execs, companies, and neighborhoods.

Dress to kill

Dressed in all-black uniforms-from their spit-polished combat boots to bulletproof vests--CIS officers dress to intimidate the bad guys. If their militant garb doesn't impress, these ninja-looking soldiers patrol with .357 Magnum pistols at their hip.

Prepared and packing

When confronted by criminals--who usually outgun and out-equip their police counterparts--CIS officers don the latest in high-tech crime fighting gadgetry: sophisticated heat detectors, night-vision scopes, video cameras and sound boosters for surveillance.

Such a show of force would probably spur outcries in a suburb or cozy office building. But CIS mainly concentrates on a market underserved by both police and the private security industry: low-income, high-crime private housing developments.

No rent-a-cops here

Don't fall into the trap of thinking these private security officers are police academy dropouts or ex-bar bouncers.

The fact is, only 10% of CIS applicants pass a screening that includes psychological testing, and 70% of these drop out during the 6-month probation. All CIS guards are certified by the state, and as such must complete 68 hours of training.

The company requires its employees to take at least 80 hours of additional training annually.

Decreased crime

CIS's rigorous training regimen is reflected in the area's crime statistics. Since starting in 1991 in Tampa Bay, Florida, CIS has cut down on crime in 50 of Florida's high-crime apartment complexes by a whopping average of 50%.

This drop in crime is due to CIS's sheer presence in these areas. In the area of actual law enforcement, CIS forces have limited arrest powers. Mainly they turn up the heat: monitoring drug dealers' movements, issuing trespass warnings to intruders, and prodding landlords to issue eviction notices.

Job specialization

In addition to CIS's training, officers have three fields of service from which to choose: Corporate Services, Uniformed Services, and Patrol Services.

In the Corporate Services division, CIS officers are employed by companies to serve vital security roles required in a corporate environment. They are frequently hired to patrol high-level offices and conferences.

CIS also officers an executive-protection service… protecting high-profile businessmen, celebrities, and politicians from robbery, assassination, and kidnapping. The Uniformed division supplies communities and businesses with competent, qualified security forces wearing the standard black uniform.

Winning their hearts and minds

CIS does more than just beef up security - they're winning the trust and loyalty of the residents and customers they serve by becoming vital and friendly members of the community. Just one of their methods is giving kids Christmas presents.

This is probably the biggest part of their job, because if the community is against them, nobody will cooperate in giving information--something CIS guards rely on heavily.

Booming business beating bad guys

In just 5 years in business, CIS has gone from US$35,000 in annual revenue to more than US$2 million. But that's nothing compared to what the company will make in the 21st century. With violent crime rampant in urban America, CIS has more business than it can handle.

Want to financially benefit from crime by becoming a franchiser of security forces -- and wear a big, shiny deputy's badge?

Contact K.C. Poulin, President, at Critical Intervention Services, 1265 South Missouri Avenue, Clearwater, FL 34616; tel. (813) 461-9417; fax (813) 449-1269.