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Columns : Preventative Measure - Gamal Newry Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Crime vs. Loss; Knowing the Difference
By Gamal Newry
Sep 26, 2012 - 11:08:10 PM

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In a modern society, there is no other issue I believe that is more significant than that of protecting our assets. Daily most of us are all focused on acquiring wealth for a better lifestyle and maintaining our freedom, thus it is only natural that the next logical step would be to protect what we have obtained. But what have we obtained? It is exactly the people and things which are valuable to us, that in one way or another, dictate what and who we are. The debate now is not whether we have misplaced our values, but rather to what extent are we prepared to go to keep what is precious to us. That ‘extent’ is asset protection, that ‘extent’ is loss prevention, which we collectively call security or whatever we choose to call it. Simply put, it is keeping what you have safe and secure.

History tells us that people the world over has without a question always thrown there support to the person or group who was prepared to protect the values of that particular society. That is why I believe there will always be employment for the banker, the accountant, soldier, police, auditor and security officer.  Why? Because these professionals are assigned to protect what we have worked so hard to obtain. Thus it is my opinion that the acquisition of wealth will always play second seat to the ability to protect wealth. Or maybe the two actions are so intertwined that there really is no difference in them.

Especially of significance is the term "loss prevention" as it sums up all that relates to this topic. The introduction of loss then requires us to carefully strategize our asset protection initiatives. In essence we are trying to stop and if this not successful limit loss of or valuables and really in the wider picture our way of life. With all the loss avenues available to us it seems that securing our valuables may be a daunting task if not impossible. When we consider natural events such as hurricanes and other weather anomaly, then the reality of crime or man-made events, it is very difficult to see ones way out. However the luxury of not developing strategies to survive whatever life throws at us does not exist, really it is a necessity almost like breathing, as it ensures a future.

We must appreciate the word ‘loss’, which is the removal or absence of assets usually via controllable or uncontrollable means. Thus it should be understood that all crime is loss, but not all loss is criminal.  The stealing of a car is loss via a crime, as stealing is defined a crime, however the falling of a tree by strong wind on a car, is also the loss of the car.

To ensure that no one is left behind in this discussion, certain foundations must be laid so that you better appreciate my perspective in the matter at hand. It is difficult sometimes to differentiate what is an asset, but it can be broken down into these four components:

  •     People
  •     Property
  •     Information
  •     Reputation

How one defines loss is the critical next step as it varies from organization to organization, and country to country. I have chosen to start with an explanation of crime as I see it. It is not the only way to lose an asset, but it is the most familiar, and one that I think is the easiest to control.  Additionally it is of most concern to the corporate sector. Yes it too varies from profession to profession, and sector to sector however, almost all crime events are universal and are seen as loss events that impact revenue.

This starting point sets the stage for the protection strategies that will follow, just as any good physician attempts to find out what the problems are before presenting his diagnosis.

Then what is crime, pray tell? Really, this phenomenon is the choice to do what is wrong, and having full knowledge understanding of what is right.  Then some could ask, what is right or wrong? These positives and negatives, yin and yang concepts, are stepped very much into the society where the act is taking place. Cultural perceptions, and conditioning cause us to accept what is right or wrong. But never the less if one is in China, or here in The Bahamas, because of his/her environmental conditioning, then they are aware of the wrong doing or right doing.

What then of the stranger? This individual unfortunately is not free from being a criminal, because of his / her naivety rather they are punished if only for the mandatory 48 hours, which most jurisdictions practice, until their actions are pardoned with the direct instructions of not to do it again.

The definition above is the simple way out, there will however be legal and psychological minds that will attempt to make the matter more complex than necessary. This approach is fine because it only illustrates the need to adequately outline what is criminal, ensuring appropriate accountability for crime.

Gamal Newry   is the president of Preventative Measures, loss prevention and asset protection training and consulting company, specializing in policy and procedure development, business security reviews and audits, and emergency and crisis management. Comments can be sent to PO Box N-3154 Nassau, Bahamas, or e-mail  gnewry@gmail.com  or visit us at  www.preventativemeasures. org 

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