Reliability and confidence have been driving forces behind Nationwide Insurance’s use of CAP Index’s CRIMECAST Reports, explains Jay C. Beighley, CPP, Associate Vice President for Corporate Security.
“A CAP Score is not just a crime number – it’s giving you the whole socio-economic perspective. It is jobs, schools, housing—so much goes into that number, and it gives you a better picture of what’s there.”
“When I came to Nationwide, we had over 300 locations but no written or systematic assessment of facilities,” he explained. “We’d open a new location in Chicago, and you’d hear, ‘it’s nice area, you’ll like it,’ but it was all anecdotal, there was no baseline for security and so there was no confidence in what we should do about it.”
Beighley was already familiar with CAP Index, having used it in his retail days when he’d need to know what the environment around a new store was like, so he immediately put the tool to work for Nationwide. “We needed to catch-up quickly and the fastest way to do it was with a reliable security assessment with CAP Index’s CRIMECAST Reports providing the baseline, and then we’d include other information to arrive at a protection scheme for a facility,” explained Beighley.“
The Need for a “True Risk Assessment”
In short order, the company went from an ad hoc security strategy based on what ‘felt right’ to one driven by data that truly aligned protection with risk.
“The nice thing about a CAP Score is that it’s not just crime,” said Beighley. “Of course, I can get police crime rates, which depends on how often they update their UCR, but a CAP Score is not just a crime number–it’s giving you the whole socio-economic perspective. It’s jobs, schools, housing—so much goes into that number, and it gives you a better picture of what’s there.”
Crime data can be a misleading risk indicator, according to Beighley—something they’ve identified from experiences at their locations, including their headquarters’ home in downtown Columbus, Ohio. “Because you’re looking at all these other aspects, like what schools are like, you’re getting a more well-rounded look at an environment and its past, current, and future,” he said, noting that the tool can help maintain momentum for security even in the absence of crime events. “It helps you to see issues that might be small, but which could become something bigger.”
“It’s important to get that well-rounded understanding,” Beighley added. “And it does it in a way that takes bias complaints out of the equation.”
“[CRIMECAST Reports] are specific right down to the zip code and street address and gives you a radius view with a heat map – that’s critical when you’re trying to make plans with where people are going to be.”
How CRIMECAST Helped Nationwide Insurance
A CAP Index CRIMECAST Report serves multiple functions for the Nationwide security team. They’ll run a report for a hotel where a meeting might take place to ensure it’s a safe choice. They’ll use it for executive protection, including for principles’ home and travel security. Primarily, though, it is a key input in assigning a risk level to office locations, which provides a critical basis for the protection it receives. “We can say, ‘this is a low-risk location, so it gets these items,’ and then at the next level up, ‘you get that level of security, plus this.’”
The granularity of the CRIMECAST Report’s scoring is a key benefit, Beighley added. “It’s specific right down to the zip code and street address and gives you a radius view with a heat map—that’s critical when you’re trying to make plans with where people are going to be.”
“It’s defensible. If you get into trouble at a facility and get sued, you’re going to be asked, ‘what did you base your security judgment on? It’s important in our industry to have a systematic, proven reliable method for assessing risk”
With risk addressed systematically, the security team no longer must assume all responsibility for the extent of security at a site, as an executive risk committee signs-off on any decision to forgo security measures prescribed by a location’s risk category. CAP Index CRIMECAST Reports are a critical communication tool that make senior management aware of its risk appetite and is a fact-based approach to resource allocation that management appreciates. “Having a scientific method drive how money is spent is one of those things that management really responds to, that they can really understand,” he said.
Importantly, the tool is both validated and respected, which provides a ready-made defense against any claim of a failure to adequately address security risk. “It’s defensible. If you get into trouble at a facility and get sued, you’re going to be asked, ‘what did you base your security judgment on?’” Beighley said. “It’s important in our industry to have a systematic, proven-reliable method for assessing risk.”
While it can successfully defend past action, it also helps an organization look forward, according to Kate Studebaker Heinmiller, who recently joined Nationwide’s security team as a threat management consultant. “It can tell you where you stand and what you can expect,” she said. “Looking at the risk for crime and theft, you can see if those are creeping closer to a specific site. It’s a nice tool for project and plan development.”
From someone like Jay Beighley, who has been a leader in the security industry for 30-plus years, his perspective on CAP Index CRIMECAST Reports is probably the ultimate compliment: “Honestly, there is nothing I would recommend they do differently or change,” he said.
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