Thursday 9 April 2015


Basic Security Awareness for Crime Prevention

Being text of Paper Presented by Chief Ollorwi Osaro at a One Day Security Sensitization Seminar for Community Trust Chairmen and Surveillance Supervisors organized by SPDC/GMOU Eleme Cluster Development Board on Monday 2nd March, 2015


This paper sets out to introduce the participants to the security landscape, roles of security in business and society, and inculcate in them basic crime/loss prevention attitudes and improve their capacity to anticipate, respond to and manage simple security activities in their areas of responsibility. It is expected that the attendees will come away with proven techniques and the judgment needed to gauge the vulnerabilities of the facilities they protect in any situation.

What Is Security Awareness?

Security awareness refers to the knowledge and attitude an individual possesses regarding the protection of both tangible and intangible assets. It means the level, quality of impact of security knowledge subsisting in an individual and his attitudinal change resulting therefrom at any point in time. This level of quality of security consciousness created by security awareness as a state of mind in the eyes of the beholder is directly related to the reality of the security programme he has been exposed to.

Being security aware entails that you understand that there is the potential for some people to deliberately or accidentally steal, damage, misuse or sabotage corporate assets. But, it is your responsibility to try within the law to stop them. Security awareness equips us to be security conscious and puts us on our guard always.

The awareness of risks and available safeguards is the first line of defense for the assets.  The focus of security awareness is a shift in the attitude of the individual towards security and the promotion of cultural and behavioural changes security-wise. In this context, a potential law breaker (where security awareness is present and communicated) will be wary and watchful before attempting to commit a crime or provoke loss. Secondly, the potential offender having perceive or believe that security awareness is in place will think twice before committing any crime for fear of being caught, prosecuted and jailed.

Crime Triangle

 The crime triangle defines those factors that must be present for any crime commission. These are Desire, Motive and Opportunity.

                                                        Crime Triangle



                                                             Desire                        Motive




For instance, for a loss to occur there must be:

1.      Opportunity to take

2.      Opportunity to remove

3.      The goods

4.      A perpetrator

You can combat 1 and 2 above by deleting opportunity and controlling exists.

The crime triangle as explained will remind us always that the important role security awareness plays as a strategy against crime and loss is to institute the 3Ds of Crime Prevention namely: Deter, Delay, and Deny Opportunity. In crime prevention, your ability to deter, delay and deny opportunity helps you be in firm control of the situation which the criminal need to make his desire and motive materialize.

It is common knowledge that most of us do a lot of things either out of ignorance, carelessness, or negligence, if you like, which give us away to the criminal. We tend to forget that the criminal is always planning and strategizing ahead of us in most cases.


Therefore, it is important that measures that will make the 3Ds part of our daily routines are in place. When leaving your house to your duty post, while at your beat, or returning home, build security into whatever you think, say, or do. The ultimate goals of any security programme rests on the issue of awareness of the security efforts in existence. Ask yourself, “Why security is always identified with a colour or emblem?” The answer is VISIBILITY.  What does visibility create? It creates awareness and awareness creates a state of mind based on a reality – a viable reality.

Give Security a Reality

Most individuals or organizations fail to buttress or validate the credibility of security efforts. The security effort is validated when security success is amplified and properly communicated. When judged by what did not happen, security programme becomes credible. Crime prevention is the bottom-line of any security effort. And security efforts are implemented primarily to prevent unwanted and undesirable incidence or crime. This can only be accomplished by prevention through deterrence (PTD) based on security awareness.


Security awareness is created by large measure of PRESENCE, real presence. The “real” attached to presence stands for quality. Quality has to do with prime functionality, the security officer or surveillance guard doing his job the way it should be done, the supervisor monitoring and inspecting his security programme and the manager scanning the environment, reviewing and upgrading the security measures from time to time in keeping with changing realities/environment.

Measuring Quality

Quality in our case should be measured by three discernible factors notably:

a.       Care and effort in the selection process of methodology and personnel,

b.      Care and effort in preparing such personnel for their work, and

c.       Care and effort in managing daily performance of officers and function.

If you have quality people, train them well, and they are conscious in their quality equipment and functions, then you probably have a programme on which to build “security awareness”.

Total Security Awareness

Our approach to security awareness must be total. Security awareness must be taken beyond you; it must be contagious, otherwise the little lapse that exists may render all efforts useless. Security awareness should not be limited to you and your colleagues. It affects everybody that chances to come unto your area of responsibility and even your individual property. Though the presence of security officers, security routines or procedures and “SEEN” efficiency of security officers is sufficient security consciousness to the passersby, the facility security officer is another case entirely. The security officer may be so accustomed to these routines, procedures, and presence that he routinely fails to “SEE” the obvious. We should know that in most cases, crimes do occur and succeed because the employees fail to maximize the security opportunity at their disposal. They may by so doing bring themselves, their supervisors and managers, and employer into disrepute or outright danger.

Security Ownership

Building and sustaining the culture of security ownership is an important aspect in any security programme’s success. Security ownership is a significant part of security success in any environment. The culture of security ownership can be achieved and maintained through:

a.       Real Ownership.    Every stakeholder must own an interest in security.

b.      Communication. The “owners” must be on the same page and in the “know” concerning security situation at each point in time.

c.       Collaboration. The security programme should be structured to ensure smaller work units and greater accountability, promoting a team-like environment.

Always Anticipate Trouble

The best way you can protect yourself and the facility is to anticipate trouble and take steps to avoid it. Target hardening entails building up defensive screens to make both yourself and the assets under your safeguard less vulnerable.

Create and Sustain Security Awareness

Creating and sustaining security awareness requires:

Ø  regular security education,

Ø  background check on applicants,

Ø  induction courses,

Ø  signs and posters,

Ø  salary alert messages and incorporation of bonus money as number of incidents in an area decreases,

Ø  communicating security through policies,

Ø  perpetuating security awareness in the communities,

Ø  recognizing employees/citizens involvement in security,

Ø  establishing reward/award programmes,

Ø  regular environmental scanning, and

Ø  analysis of Threat – Reference – Adversary (TRA), which enables you to analyze all possible threats and adversaries so that credible threats and adversaries can be identified and this information used as a basis for planning, implementing and reviewing security measures.

Generally, TRA aims to educate, identify and clarify present and perceived threats and adversaries lay groundwork for protection. The examples of these TRA include:


Pipeline Vandalism
Ethnic Militias, Terrorist, and Other Extremist Protesters
Armed Attack
Terrorist, Ethnic Militias, Other Extremist Protesters, Disoriented Persons
Hostage Taking
Terrorist, Ethnic Militias, Other Extremist Protesters, Disoriented Persons, Miscellaneous Criminal Groups, Disgruntled persons, etc.
Terrorist, Ethnic Militias, Other Extremist Protesters, Disoriented Persons, Miscellaneous Criminal Groups, Organized Sophisticated Criminal Groups.
Armed Robbery
Terrorist, Disoriented Persons and Miscellaneous Criminal Groups.
Political/Ritual Killing
 Disoriented Persons, Organized Sophisticated Criminal Groups, and Miscellaneous Criminal Groups
Disoriented Persons, Organized Sophisticated Criminal Groups, and Miscellaneous Criminal Groups
Advance Fee Fraud
Organized Sophisticated Criminal Groups and Miscellaneous Criminal Groups

There is always overlap among adversary groups and this fact must be kept in mind by all at all times.

Role of Security in Business

The basic aim of security is to contribute to business profits by reducing or eliminating preventable losses resulting from all aspects of waste, accident, error, and crime (WAEC). Since the primary goals of any organization is to be in service and to generate income, and that it accomplishes these goals by providing effective customers’ service security must contribute by reducing and if possible eliminate losses caused by internal and external factors.

Security Basic Mind Set

The security programme must be effective by identifying potential and perceives threats to the assets under safeguard, the potential adversaries and vulnerabilities, and design appropriate safeguard measures. This you can do effectively by understanding that:

1.      Crime simply cannot exist in an atmosphere of caution and security knowledge.

2.      Criminals will just go to another target when confronted by obstacles to their plans.

3.      Any person can be a criminal; hence everyone is a potential criminal provided the figure, place, and circumstances (Desire, Motive, and Opportunity) are right and favourable.

4.      “Street” criminals commit crimes in order to survive, and often three categories as opportunity present themselves. These are:

a.       Crimes committed by fear, force, and violence.

b.      Crimes committed by device, document, and technology.

c.       Crimes committed by trick or deceit.

5.      Professional criminals commit crimes to support a lifestyle, and often limit themselves to one of the three categories mentioned above.

6.      If a determined criminal really wants to commit a crime, he will find a way to do so, regardless of any policies, procedures, laws, or regulations in place. That is where security must reduce or eliminate the opportunity for a crime to be committed by putting in place appropriate security measures from time to time.

Threats of Concern

Threat refers to a person, thing, or circumstance likely to cause damage, danger, or harm. It is any thing that has the potential to exploit a vulnerability or security failure to breach security and thus cause harm. A threat can be intentional or accidental. In Nigeria, the oil pipelines are vulnerable to several threats with diverse adversaries. These threats which are of concern to us include: Oil Theft, Armed Attack, Civil Unrest, Hostage Incident, Kidnapping, Sabotage, Pipeline Vandalization, etc.

Causes of Oil Pipeline Sabotage and Vandalization

These threats which are perpetuated by such adversaries as oil import contractors, smuggling mafia, and illegal oil bunkerers who constitute themselves into Organized Sophisticated Criminal Groups; including miscellaneous criminal groups, disgruntled persons, disoriented persons, extremist protest groups, and terrorist groups are of great concern to the society at large and security practitioners in particular.

In Eleme, the most likely threat groups are the organized sophisticated criminal groups who reside in and around the pipelines that conspire with outsiders to constitute regular threat to the oil products pipelines. The use of hacksaws and blades to cut the pipes and siphoning of oil from pipelines and other infrastructure has remained a major threat. The root cause of pipeline vandalization is its vulnerability which is attributed to the long distance and remoteness of the pipeline.

The second and equally important cause is the exposure of the pipelines on ground surface which also make it vulnerable to attacks.

Other causes which are beyond the scope of this paper include hate, grievances, unemployment, poor social responsibility, poverty, availability of small and light weapons, quest for materialism, etc.

Prohibition of Oil Pipeline Sabotage

In Nigeria oil pipeline sabotage is prohibited in Section 1 of the Petroleum Production and Distribution (Anti-Sabotage) Act No. 353 of 1990. The Act defines a saboteur as any person who does aids another person, or incites, counsels or procures any other person to do anything with intent to obstruct or prevent the production or distribution of petroleum products in any part of Nigeria or willfully does anything with the intent to obstruct or prevent the procurement of petroleum products for distribution in respect of any vehicle or any public highway with intent to obstruct or prevent the use of that vehicle or that public highway for the distribution of  petroleum products.

Accomplice is Guilty of Economic Sabotage

The Act defines Sabotage as “The illegal or unauthorized act of destroying or puncturing of oil pipelines so as to disrupt supply or to siphon crude oil or its refined products for sale on the black-market, or any other outlet. It includes such acts as oil bunkering, pipeline vandalization, fuel scooping, and oil terrorism”. In this sense, any person or group of persons involved in such an act is considered to be guilty of economic sabotage.

What this portends is that any act by you to aid and abet a vandal will render you guilty of economic sabotage; and you know what that means. You will not only loose your job, but face prosecution and imprisonment. This aims to create the necessary awareness.

Sabotage is a Premeditated Crime

Sabotage is an intentional disruption of the operation of an organization, very often involving destruction of property. Sabotage is an intentional act, or failure to act, and is meant to damage the property, personnel, moral, or general efficiency of an organization. It can be perpetuated in several ways and often very difficult to find the specific offender, but could be prevented through a well-crafted and strongly implemented security programme that effectively addresses all the basic security issues earlier mentioned.

Know What Crime May Impact Clients

Private Security Officers/Surveillance guards are not law enforcement agents, nor are you expected to act as police officers to practice effective crime prevention tactics. You must attempt at all times to know what crimes may impact the client, who is likely to commit them, how they are likely to occur, and when they are likely to occur and then act proactively. A surveillance guard should use detective techniques by:

a.       Gathering facts by observation and interview;

b.      Assessing those facts and determine their relative values’

c.       Drawing conclusions and planning a course of action; and

d.      Acting upon the course of action or making recommendations for others to follow.

Relevant Tips

v  You should also encourage other community members to be vigilant and report any threat to security around the facility to you.

v  Take note of strangers or loiters and suspicious incidents around the facility.

v  Avoid loose talk about assets under your protection.

v  Do not challenge an armed unrecognized visitor or non-pass wearing person (s).

v  Ensure that SPDC personnel and vendors have proper identification and work permit to access the facility.

v  Ensure access to sensitive areas is limited.

v  Always make sure there is a clear view from your position.

v  Unusual telephone calls, particularly those in which the caller does not identify himself or those in which it appears that the caller may be misrepresenting himself should not be answered, especially if you are in the line.


Although the private security personnel perform functions similar to the public law enforcement officers, he has no formal authority than an average citizen. Take note that you as private security personnel are acting only on behalf of the person, business or organization that hires you.

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