Spotlight on Residential Security

The tragic murders of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper in Washington, D.C. unfortunately show us how high net worth people are at risk to be targets of potentially violent crime. As of today, two persons of interest have been identified—one is a former employee and the other suspect a current one. As the facts continue to surface, we won’t be surprised to learn that this was premeditated, coordinated, rehearsed, and conspired by at least two individuals and possibly others. The main suspect has an arrest record that includes harassment, concealed weapons, theft, and violating an order of protection. The other suspect has bounced around from job to job, was fired by his previous employer, and had been recently hired to do odd jobs for the family. The checkered pasts of these two individuals fit the characteristics of what we see in many insider threat cases. An arrest record, unstable work history, job terminations, and access to weapons are some common denominators. And where these two subjects previously crossed paths provides pieces to a puzzle that has ultimately landed them as suspects in the torture and deaths of innocent people.

Executives Benefit from a Residential Security Assessment

After conducting countless residential security assessments for senior-level executives of major corporations, I have found the number one concern of these individuals is the personal safety of their families. In order to deliver the highest value possible to each engagement, I uniquely tailor the project to best serve my client by beginning with a framework for the assessment that is extremely flexible and adaptable to the environment. The structure then follows a developed and still evolving outline that leverages more than 30 years in the law enforcement and security fields and is based on four main pillars: 1) physical security, 2) technical security, 3) network security, and 4) procedural security. These assessments include an on-site security survey of the residence including the building, property, and its outer perimeter; the risks, threats, and vulnerabilities potentially impacting the safety and security of the home along with the occupants and guests; countermeasures and strategies for risk transfer, avoidance, mitigation, or acceptance; and detailed risk mitigation considerations.

A Prime Example of Insider Threat 

In 2008, the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) and the CERT® Program (CERT) of Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute collaborated on the Insider Threat Study (ITS) in the cyber security realm. The study focused on employees who committed illegal or unauthorized acts against organizations using a computer, system, or network, such as theft of intellectual property, fraud, and acts of sabotage within critical infrastructure sectors. This research found that current and former employees carried out insider activities in nearly equal numbers, many of these individuals had prior arrests, and a specific work-related event triggered the actions of most insiders—all of which are eerily applicable to what has been uncovered in the Savopoulos case.

How You Can Protect Your Home and Family 

So what can we learn from this incident to help prevent future tragedies? First, whether you’re the founder of a multi-million dollar company or a private homeowner, you need to know the people you come into contact with every day and, more importantly, have access to your home. Your list might include landscapers, cleaning ladies, nannies, dog walkers, and contractors, to name a few. Before any of these people set foot on your property, you have to ensure their backgrounds have been properly screened by their employer. If they are sole proprietors, they must provide proof of passing a background check and establishing legal residency, if applicable. These checks should not be more than three years old and should include, at a minimum, criminal history, civil litigation, and drug testing.

A professional and comprehensive residential security assessment will evaluate the technical, physical, and cyber security measures of your home. When you follow the recommendations of the key takeaways, you will not only help safeguard your home and family from a preventative standpoint, but you will also have a planned response and recovery to any type of nefarious event occurring on your private property. Corporate leaders need to be aware that danger is not only found in the workplace or while travelling abroad; it can also occur in their own backyard.