One can only abhor the violence that occurred on Virginia Tech’s campus Monday morning.  In the aftermath of what is being called the deadliest shooting rampage in American history, questions are emerging about the adequacy of the steps taken to protect students and faculty. Only time will answer those questions. But this tragic event caused me to reflect on the daily responsibility for security that building owners and operators have. In Manhattan and in other major metro areas, I’ve observed a range of security effectiveness, from the most rigorous screening (including X-ray scans) to a disinterested fellow who barely glances at my ID and waves me on. In other cities, and especially in suburban locations, building security is often non-existent.  To one extent or another, most building owners make some sort of investment in security.  But ultimately, that investment isn’t worth much if security isn’t a priority and the right people are not employed to manage the process and make intelligent judgment calls. 

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

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