COVID-19 vs CPTED Security Assessments

At this time, the focus is, and should be, on the current pandemic, as relates to your ambient security needs. Despite this catastrophic event, the standard of care, pertaining to maintaining a safe environment is more challenging than ever. According to the most recent Healthcare Executive magazine, hospitals on an individual basis, are having to make several situational adjustments, to deal with the treatment, and containment of COVID-19. Clearly, the security department must be involved within the context of the application of the situational infection control strategy.

Now is the time for effective, need driven, security programs, especially those industries that cater to the public (hospitals, shopping malls, educational institutions, and entertainment venues. Security is, and will always be, a situational endeavor. All security programs must be need driven and therefore, responsive to the ambient threat environment. Security is a dynamic situational discipline, predicated on the, ever shifting, ambient threat environment. The issues raised by SMSI, are applicable today, and they will have relevance moving forward. However, it is not out of the ordinary to find security programs that are less than adequate, in part, because they did not adjust to current dynamic the threat environment.

Applicable to hospitals, it is important to note, that the potential hospital litigant pool is not only limited to patients and visitors. For example, outsourced services, such as dietary, housekeeping, and support services, provide employees who may bring a cause of action against the hospital claiming inadequate security. Over the years, within our litigation practices, we have received numerous cases involving support services employees, who were contracted. This pool of potential litigants must be given consideration when assessing your security operations. Based on our direct experience as security litigation expert witnesses, lawsuits have been filed by numerous contract employees, including caregivers. The risk management team is worthy of consideration, when addressing these exposures.

No matter what industry is affected, there is clearly a sufficient justification to initiate a comprehensive review of all present security operations, in terms of efficacy, as well as return on investment. With the exception of our expert witness offerings, SMSI’s services are proactively driven, including addressing of the probability of security driven lawsuits. Because our team is frequently retained as security expert witnesses pursuant to claims of negligence, and/or intentional torts, including the excessive use of force, we are well positioned to mitigate these threats moving forward. SMSI Inc. will not accept requests for litigations support from any consulting clients, on behalf of the defendant or the litigant, bases on conflict of interest possibilities. As consultants, our role is preemptive. Obviously, are expert witness offerings being applicable, after the fact.

Security programs that adjust to the milieu of today’s threat environment, will be better positioned to mitigate the security threats of the future. SMSI will not make any claims that we can prevent security all breaches, but we can reduce the probability of security breakdowns that affect property and/or persons.

The SMSI Team has over 40 years of collective experience, as our CVs will attest to comprehensive expertise. Our collective expertise is considerable. If chosen, this customized hospital security review will ensure the outcome of a need-driven security program. Contrasting the traditional universal precautions model, hospital security programs should be driven by a very specific set of unique requirements, that are product of your ambient threat environment. Furthermore, SMSI brings no conflicts of interest to the table.

Bill Nesbitt is a former Navy Corpsman, having been stationed at the United States Naval Hospital in Philadelphia for the duration of his tour. Drew Neckar has several years of inhouse security management with a major hospital organization, with a level of excellence known worldwide. Our team has been called upon as security expert witnesses on numerous occasions, over the last 27 years. Collectively, most of our clients, including assessments and litigation support, have in common: public access.

Given the current pandemic, SMSI is also offering to provide a unique, customized security management support program, including a comprehensive security evaluation. Because security is a situational discipline, it is our intention to provide a virtual security needs assessment, by partially minimizing the need for onsite presence. The objective of this offering is to minimize the need to visit your campus, thereby minimizing the associated costs. Hospitals are our largest vertical, and hospitals are always held to the highest standard of care.

Security is an anticipatory discipline. This means that over time, all hospital security programs must adjust to new, and emerging threats. SMSI brings the expertise needed to this offering. We also understand the standards of care are specific from one industry to another, as pertains to the ambient threat environment, as quantified by the CAP Index.

As previously alluded to, in addition to offering security assessment reviews, SMSI has also been retained, on numerous occasions, as court certified forensic security experts. We (the SMSI Team) has been providing this expertise for the past 35 years. Within our role as court certified security expert witnesses, SMSI has served both plaintiffs, as well as defendants. Our 250 plus cases to date have encompassed over 30 states, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Our leading vertical, as expert witnesses and as consultants, has been within healthcare industry. In our role as consultants, we have helped numerous hospitals develop comprehensive security and loss prevention programs, such as the minimization of litigation pursuant to claims of inadequate security.

Parenthetically, the differential between being retained as security expert for security driven litigations, compared to the offering of consultative services, is that one offering is reactive, and the other offering is proactive. As security consultants, our mission is to reasonably anticipate, and subsequently mitigate security breakdowns.

SMSI also understands that security is a dynamic, situational discipline, which is in a constant state of adjustment. The threat environment is dynamic. The present pandemic will likely impact and define hospital security reasonable standard of care for several years to come, as well as many other verticals.

During the security assessment process, we will engage in a significant amount of quantitative evaluation as a means for spotting emerging trends. If our onsite presence is essential, we are willing to meet those needs. Parenthetically, by using a virtual methodology, the assessment costs will be less than a complete onsite presence.

As previously alluded to, we may be tea leaves from a distance. Remember, we will make use of the CAP Index. In some cases, we are able conduct effective staff interviews telephonically, as well as onsite. Our interviews will generally include selected members of the C-Suite, risk management and the security management team, whether outsourced or in-house. Bear in mind that hospital security is a dynamic, situational discipline, which is in a constant state of adjustment. Security programs must be predicated on the reasonable mitigation of risk and in an ongoing state of adaptation as the ambient threat environment flexes.

The present pandemic will likely affect hospital security needs for the several years to come. There is a likelihood that the defined standard of care, given the pandemic, may require some adjustment going forward. As a service provider to healthcare organizations, we must also adjust our practices to your new need-driven environment, and to do so, cost-effectively. To know where you are going, you must first understand from whence you have come.

Every hospital security assessment report will include a CAP Index Crimecast Report. The CAP Index will define and quantify the ambient threat environment, as well has quantifying specific local emerging trends. The security needs of a hospitals in Clarksburg, West Virginia, are differentiated from a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Los Angeles, California. That differential is determined by the ambient threat environment. Ignorance of these factors and others, can cause a security program to become a liability, as opposed to reducing liabilities.

As previously alluded to, our extensive security litigation expertise informs us that reactive remedies are far more costly than being proactive. Experience has also taught us that the optimal functioning security programs, should be reviewed at least once every three years.

The ambient threat environment is also subjected to periodic adjustments. The bast way to track change, followed by relevant corrective actions, we recommend the ongoing use of security mamangment software such as OMNIGO. This software product exposes emerging trends at the incipient stage when corrective actions are most effective.

As security consultants, we prefer to conduct security assessment reviews before-the-fact, when remedial measures are most cost-effective. Hospital security programs should engender the full participation of the entire staff, including subcontractors. With a minimal amount of training, every employee, from top to bottom, will make the hospital safe for both patients and staff, including subcontractors. Our security awareness training, for all employees, from top to bottom, will ensure that the hospital is reasonably safe for both patients and staff, including subcontractors.

In summation, the services provided by SMSI are situationally determined. This includes meeting the special needs of the vertical, being served, within the context of the ambient threat environment.

The following pages with provide some information as to the methodological course that SMSI Inc. will follow. The security assessment process will be need driven. No two clients have the same set of risks, nor the same set of security needs, as determined by the ambient threat milieu.

The following graphics will illustrate the dynamic structural of evaluation process. If your enterprise has not had an objective security assessment, within the last three years, your security program deserves a comprehensive review.

The Vulnerability Assessment Matrix illustrates the relationship between Probability and Criticality. Security is a situational discipline which is in a constant state of flux. The recent pandemic will likely impact hospital security needs for years to come, as well as the security needs of those industries that serve the public. All security programs should be dynamic.

Effective security programs should be evaluated at least once every three years, assuming that all previous corrective actions have been noted when breaches occur. As security consultants, we prefer to conduct security program reviews before-the-fact, within the offering of corrective actions.

Those hospitals who use databased security management systems, such as Omnigo, are probably ahead of the game. As noted, Omnigo is a security management system. Omnigo supports the notion of dynamic, need driven security. Omnigo is like hunting with a rifle, instead of a shotgun. Omnigo speaks the language of the C-Suite.

The SMSI vulnerability assessment matrix demonstrates the relationship between probability of occurrence, in relation to the cost of occurrence. Those hospitals, and other public access businesses, that are not quantitatively analyzing all security activity, including responses, should do so.

The security department of every hospital should be a major strategy component by which to project to the public and employees, confidence in the security operations of each hospital. This also includes entertainment facilities, shopping malls and parking facilities.

The Corona Virus is a universal threat, subject to interpretation on a case by case basis. Clearly the general staff and, most importantly, the security team must project competence and professionalism. This means that access control begins at the perimeter, but it must not end at the perimeter. Hospital must also secure inner space. Access management requires consistency to be effective.

Remember, when it comes to security, hospitals are held to a very high standard of care. According to recent polls, the Coronavirus will be the number one factor in the upcoming presidential election. It is clearly a major factor in the day to day concerns of every hospital. It is “the elephant in the room.” The Corona Virus will exaggerate the perception of all security breaches.

For years, SMSI has promulgated the notion that security is a situational discipline. This admonition has never been truer. SMSI Inc. offers two broad based services. The first is our consulting services. Our consulting services are generally applied to comprehensive security evaluations, including suggested recommendations for ensuring that your security meets a reasonable standard of care, with consideration for the ambient threat milieu. Secondly, we are frequently retained as security experts for security-driven litigation.

Bill Nesbitt, CPP and Drew Neckar, CPP are also both Certified CPTED practitioners. If you are not familiar with CPTED: Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design a little research is well worth your time. CPTED is the glue that holds the security program together. CPTED will also make any security program more effective and most importantly, cost effective.

As briefly alluded to, the second service we offer is litigation support, as court-certified security experts. These services are offered to both plaintiffs and defendants. These services are required when a plaintiff or a defendant legal team is looking for experts. We have participated as experts approximately 300 times, on behalf of both defendants and/or plaintiffs. This experience ahs served or consulting offerings, in term of reasonable mitigation.

The Security Assessment Team

Bill Nesbitt and Drew Neckar have significant security expertise within the healthcare industry. Drew has significant hospital security management experience with the Mayo Clinic group. Bill also has extensive hospital experience, beginning as a Navy Corpsman. After his corpsman training and his subsequent training as a neuropsychiatric practitioner, Bill was assigned to the Philadelphia Naval Hospital until his discharge.

After years of healthcare experience as consultants, Bill and Drew also have extensive experience as hospital consultants, as well as being retained on numerous occasions as court-certified expert witnesses for inadequate security litigations. The services of a forensic security expert are a reactive exercise, As consultants, our role in proactive. To date we have participated in over 300 lawsuits, covering about 30 states, as well as in the Caribbean.

The Virtual Security Assessment Methodology

Virtual security assessment process represents the evolution of our extensive experience and expertise. This expertise allows us to partially offer our assessment expertise via the web. This technique reduces our need to be onsite by about 80%, thereby reducing our fee. However, some site presence maybe be required, depending on the size and mission of the hospital. If required, our onsite presence would amount to only one to two days. If onsite presence is not required, costs will be reduced, including travel and lodging expenses.

The specifics of the offering herein will be submitted within a comprehensive proposal. Our 30 years of experience has taught us that the costs (both direct and indirect) of an inadequate security lawsuit is three to four times the cost of mitigation. Coming out of the gate, SMSI will be familiar with the scope of your hospital to be gleaned from the AHA Guide.

Bill Nesbitt, CPP, and Drew Neckar, CPP, may be reached at 805-241-3800. If you would like a virtual security assessment proposal, please let us know. Bill and Drew fully understand the need for situational mitigation.

Remember that security is both a situational and an anticipatory discipline, with the primary objective of mitigation. Consider the ways that your organization is vulnerable to a wide range of internal and external breaches. For example, some organizations are vulnerable to theft of information, personal assaults, as well as the theft of property and information. These threats emanate from both internal and external forces.

Finally, a comprehensive security assessment is a must. Deterrence is achieved when the perception of being caught is greater than the thought of succeeding. Security breaches increase during times of chaos and fear. The goal is to increase perceived likelihood of getting caught over the notion of being successful. Once the security assessment has been completed, the SMSI team can provide security management support services as needed.

By providing a virtual security assessment, the need for an onsite presence may be reduced to one or two days, thereby providing a significant cost savings of fees and documented travel costs for expenses. However, we also understand that our onsite presence may be required. Our fees will reflect a mutual agreement between SMSI and your team. We can conduct thorough security assessments, enabling us to offer up solutions going forward, as well as periodic adjustments when needed.

If you choose, ongoing security mamangment support is available. Under this plan, SMSI will periodically monitor your OMNIGO incident reporting system, and we will offer up needed remedial measures.

Finally, if your hospital has not commissioned a comprehensive security assessment, within the past three years, it is more likely than not, that a security assessment is past due. Our security management support model, as depicted herein, will help to meet foreseeable needs, including the challenges posed by the present pandemic. Security problems are much easier to mitigate, before-the-fact, as opposed to acting after-the-fact, under the theory of probability.

Contact us today. After a phone conference, SMSI will submit a customized, need-driven proposal for your consideration. Finally because the threat environment is dynamic, if your hospital has not had a comprehensive security within the last three years, now is the time.

If your organization requires a security litigation expert, feel free to contact Bill Nesbitt, CPP, directly. We have provided our expert witness services in approximately 33 States, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We have served both plaintiffs as well as law firms providing defense services. Our 30+ plus years as forensic security experts have taught us that being proactive is usually a fraction of the cost of being reactive.


Given the pandemic threat and the risks associated with travel and onsite exposure, the virtual alternative is worthy of consideration. When security breaches occur that invoke litigation, the potential damages are likely to be considerable. We offer this opinion based on years of expert witness experience. Additionally, given the cost to hospitals of the pandemic, the time for operating outside the box is now. With over 275 lawsuits under our belts, we understand the need for reasonable mitigation, to be determined on a case by case basis.

Upon request, SMSI Inc. will provide a comprehensive Proposal, specific to your needs, after we have had a chance to do an encapsulated needs assessment phone conference. Unfortunately, many security programs fail to adjust to changes in the ambient threat environment.

Finally, SMSI is not in the guard business, nor do well sell security systems such as video surveillance, access control and/or security alarm systems. Upon request, we can support the hospital’s request in dealing with a wide range of security system purveyors. SMSI does offer Security Management Support Services, including RFP services, in dealing with security vendors, if needed. If you have any questions, call the number below. Our goal is to serve your unique needs.

We would be happy to provide our CV’s, and/or our consultation proposal. After a brief needs’ assessment conversation, you will receive a needs-based proposal for consideration. Letters of Reference provided upon request. If you would like to discuss this offering more thoroughly, do not hesitate to call.

In addition to the verticals mentioned herein, SMSI has served Executive Office facilities, Shopping Malls, Educational Institutions, professional sports venues, residential complexes, both public and private. The SMSI team are familiar with security guard operations, alarm systems, video surveillance systems, access control systems and CPTED (both Bill & Drew are certified CPTED (crime prevention through environment design) Practitioners. We have owned and operated contract security operations.

William H. Nesbitt, CPP, President
Contact Info:; 805-241-3800