America, Wake Up! Terror Prevention Steps We Must Take Now

By Lloyd Reese

***** America, Wake Up! Terror Prevention Steps We Must Take Now. By James R. White, Jr., and Anthony S. Petti; published by American Book Publishing, (Web); 150 pages; $16.95.

Police do not prevent crime; it’s the job of private security to do so. Such is the thesis of this book, with the authors estimating that only about a quarter of law enforcement’s time is spent in crime prevention. While they offer no source for that statistic, the proposition seems reasonable. It’s their solution that is controversial: For private security to be effective in its crime prevention role, it needs to become an armed private police force with full authority to investigate and make arrests on the property being protected.

Readers may disagree about whether the assertion is defensible in the right hands, but unfortunately not in the hands of the authors. The first problem is presentation. Their writing style is plagued with redundancies and quickly gets irritating. Case studies are presented with no citations. There is no index, and the table of contents fails to list subject headings.

Problems continue with the book’s substance. The authors say that corporate executives will underfund corporate security solely because they expect police to protect their assets. This may be one reason for inadequate funding, but there are many more: Executives might not embrace the idea of a private armed police force, they may not have convincing cost-benefit data, they might fear liability, and so on. The authors never raise these legitimate possibilities.

“Terror” features in the book’s title, but the book says little about the topic, other than to throw the term into sentences where the term “crime prevention” appears. While terrorism is criminal, terror-prevention methods are different and far more complex than those employed for crime prevention. For example, intelligence from human sources both in the United States and overseas, as well as technical intercepts, are critical tools in the war against terror, but not in typical crime prevention. The authors never consider these issues.

There are some good points. The authors suggest that states regulate security requirements for various types of commercial properties, and that insurance companies examine security at sites before fixing premiums. But these nuggets are overshadowed by the out-of-date crime statistics, slapdash preparation, and poor writing.

Reviewer: Lloyd Reese, CPP, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), has worked for the U.S. government, a consultancy, and a Fortune 50 company. He was a member of the Terrorist Activities Subcommittee of the ASIS National Capital Chapter for 13 years, and he remains a member of ASIS International.



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