The History of Security Guards

You are probably very thankful for the armed and unarmed security guards that protect people inside and outside homes, stores, and other sites. However, maybe there’s something about their history you would like to know. The following is an account of the history of security guards and some information about why we have them today.  

What Is a Security Guard?

A security guard is someone hired to protect a company or person’s assets. Those "assets" can be material items, cash, or people themselves. Some security guards primarily use their stations to monitor who goes in and out of a particular building or gateway. Other guards play a more active role and are there to eliminate chaos using various methods.

Some security guards carry firearms, while others have knowledge or experience with self-defense practices and are less likely to need guards. Each prospective client decides which type of security guard is most needed for a specific project. 

When Did the Concept of Security Guards Start?

The first concept of hiring a security guard started in the 1800s when there were no set law enforcement agencies. No federal authorities were available to deter or chase criminals either. Thus, some people hired "watchmen" to guard them and their establishments.

A group of individuals called the Vigiles Urbani are sometimes credited with the early development of security personnel. In 1850, Allan Pinkerton started the first agency with security personnel in it. The agency was called Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

This company had many corporations and railroad companies as clients because they were more vulnerable to petty thievery than others. Back then, some security guards had expansive roles that covered duties such as investigating crimes and advising businesses on protecting their assets. 

The first official regulations and standards for security officers came about in approximately 1915. The Administration of the State Board of Prison Directors helped set standards for what security officers were and how they should be licensed and trained before gaining employment. Today, individual companies are constantly refining their procedures and processes and establishing more elite standards for their guards. 

Types of Security Guards Available Today

Today, businesses and individuals have many options when selecting a security guard or firm. They can choose lower-level guards who do not have firearms and only monitor access to a building or office. These guards are most commonly seen in stores or doctors’ offices.

Then there are guards with gun licenses, years of experience, martial arts training, etc. Clients hire these guards for areas that experience quite a bit of crime. You can choose from a vast assortment of guard types for your project. 

How To Hire a Security Guard

Hiring a security guard starts with knowing what type of guard you need and how much your budget is. Once you have that information, you can start looking for a firm with more than three stars for a review average, years of experience, and the services you need. You’ll likely make a wise choice now that you know the history of private security.