Security—The Elusive Goal!
“ONE of the most serious breaches of embassy security for many years.” That was the description of the electronic spying equipment discovered in America’s Moscow embassy last May. Diplomats can only speculate at the amount of secret information monitored by the dish-shaped receiving device, hidden for an unknown length of time in an old chimney stack.
For the great majority of people, of course, such matters of high state security are not a daily concern. But more immediate matters of personal security most certainly are. How does the search for security affect your life?
Perhaps you have taken out a life-insurance policy to bring a measure of security to your family in the event of your death. You know, too, of those who invest in real estate or other valuable commodities—precious metals, gem stones, old coins, works of art or even postage stamps—as security in the face of inflation. Wherever you look, people work hard to gain financial security for themselves and their families in every way possible, but not always with success.
In addition, each day, in practical ways, we relate automatically to security consciousness. Check for a moment your own pattern of life.
How many locks and bolts do you have to attend to before leaving your home? They form just part of an elementary security precaution. Even so, an estimated quarter of a million cases of breaking and entering occur each year in the British Isles alone.
You unlock your car, which itself may be locked in a garage, before you can drive it away. When walking in public you secure your wallet or purse as best you are able, to ward off thieves. Before getting down to a day’s work, do you need to show a ‘security pass’ to enter a factory, or office premises, as many do?
You may prefer to drive your children to school and pick them up, too, because ‘it’s safer that way.’ When back at home, would you venture out alone at night without some means of protection, or would you open your door before checking on who your visitor is?
In Nigeria and other African countries, people in all walks of life openly, and secretly, possess some sort of juju as a means of personal protection. These charms are used as a safeguard from witchcraft or danger and to give success in trade, farming and hunting.
Visitors to Nigeria notice that most hosts open bottles of drink in the presence of their guests, because few Nigerians will willingly drink from a bottle that has already been opened. The reason? Fear of being poisoned through witchcraft! But a person possessing a juju will feel completely safe against such an evil. In fact, with his juju he will feel more secure than if he were surrounded by an armed guard.
These examples (and you can think of many more) are everyday happenings now taken for granted. Yet it is a fact of life that personal security is never so easily secured.
A New ‘Growth Industry’
In recent years security has come to be recognized as a new ‘growth industry.’ From a proliferation of shops stocking security locks, bolts and catches, to the more sophisticated alarms and monitoring systems as employed to check shoplifting, the sale boom is on. And, if you do not wish to purchase one of many specially trained breeds of dog to guard your property, it is now possible to buy a cassette recording of one barking ferociously. The tape recorder, connected to the doorbell, plays immediately when your bell is pressed.
In addition, world wide the number of security firms employing trained (and frequently armed) guards has mushroomed dramatically. This has prompted Parliament to propose special legislation to tighten up on private security in the British Isles, which now employs nearly twice as many men and women as does the police service. It is felt that this new industry has a key role to play in helping to keep down crime and maintain security.
Crime, sometimes organized on an international scale and linked with hijackings and kidnappings, has also alarmed the world of insurance recently in an unusual way.
After the Lindbergh kidnapping in the U.S.A. in the year 1932, insurance coverage for kidnapping and ransom became available for the first time, through Lloyds of London. Recent acts of international terrorism have now pushed the current level of Lloyd’s annual premium from £16,000,000 ($30,000,000, U.S.) four years ago to between £55,000,000 and £110,000,000 ($100,000,000 and $200,000,000, U.S.). This means that the London insurance market today cannot be carrying less than £5,500,000,000 ($10,000,000,000, U.S.) in direct kidnap and ransom risks alone. A heavy price indeed for those seeking “security.”
“Untroubled by danger or apprehension,” is The Concise Oxford Dictionary definition of “secure.” So in today’s world of increasing crime, do you honestly consider your outlook to be so favourably described as “secure”? Or do you experience a growing feeling of insecurity despite all that you can do? Read on as you consider the question: