We’re used to seeing the Kardashian-Jenner family all over the tabloids, but this week many media sources such as Fox News and CNN reported about Kim Kardashian’s recent robbery at gun point while she was staying in a Paris hotel. Some authorities have said that this robbery was because of a mix of her celebrity status, her high net worth and the volume of information that she posts on social media. While many of America’s teenagers certainly post more on social media than Kardashian, this doesn’t necessarily make them more vulnerable to a breach in security.
Who is At Risk?
Two common reasons individuals fall into the high-risk category include wealth and public prominence. Combining these two attract all sorts of challenges for executive protection teams. From photo-stalkers, and antagonists with a cause to physical attackers and thieves, nefarious individuals seek vulnerabilities they can exploit to prey on their victims. Patterns of behavior, publically accessible information, such as social media, and unguarded moments of solitude in new surroundings expose high-risk individuals to dangers the general public may not face. At home or work, security technology such as access control, intrusion detection, closed-circuit television coverage and panic alarms in concert with executive protection teams create a formidable barrier to mitigate these threats. However, during periods of travel, when absolute control of the environment is impossible, the executive protection team faces its greatest challenges.
6 Ways Executive Protection Can Prevent Harm
Many people are questioning why Kardashian’s bodyguard wasn’t able to prevent the incident. As I’ve learned in my 21-year-career with the U.S. Secret Service, an executive protection team, especially one that protects someone as well-known as Kardashian, cannot be limited to one individual. An executive protection team doesn’t just make the protectee feel safer, it also:
- Minimizes risks to the protectee
- Identifies hazards
- Eliminates surprises
- Develops transportation plans
- Establishes secure areas
- Determines emergency preparation and response plans
What Makes Executive Protection Successful?
The key to successful executive protection is a prevention-oriented methodology. If the protectee is in a situation where he or she needs to evacuate the location, or if a theft or privacy breach occurs, then the executive protection team has failed its mission. Advance planning is key. This consists of determining appropriate staffing, understanding the layout of every location to be visited, and development of tactical egress plans, travel and hospital routes.
Of course, when traveling to a new or foreign location, additional challenges can arise. That’s why executive protection teams unfamiliar with the area or customs often rely on local resources. Before leaving for the destination, the executive protection team collects information and intelligence on factors such as local criminal activity, high-crime areas, planned activist or large-group gatherings, terrorist activity or any other significant incident that could impact the safety of the protectee.
4 Key Lessons We Can Take Away From Kardashian’s Paris Experience
So what can we all learn from the Kardashian incident in Paris?
- Protection – and prevention – requires an established methodology and experts trained and experienced in establishing an “envelope” or “zone” of safety around the protectee at all times.
- This requires advanced planning, intelligence and the development of backup routes, locations and strategies.
- Especially with the use of social media, there is no such thing as an off-the-record movement. An executive protection team should know, at all times, where its protectee is and should be by his or her side at all times in order to ensure their safety.
- Effective protection is a team effort – and one that has to be carefully aligned with the protectee’s desired balance across three very personal issues: privacy, convenience and tolerance for risk.