Commercial real estate professionals will face increasing challenges providing security for properties in all sectors in the next five to 10 years. According to a new report from the Alexandria, VA-based ASIS Foundation, the non-profit arm of the largest organization for security professionals, predicts the US security industry will face many challenges, including an aging workforce, an increasingly diverse population and a growth in high-tech crimes.

Security concerns escalated for property owners, managers and other real estate professionals following the 9/11 terror attacks. The goal is to protect the physical safety of personnel, buildings and their occupants, as well as how to ensure the security of corporate information systems and other technology investments.

The new report, “Planning for Change: Security Managers’ Perspectives on Future Demographic, Crime and Technology Trends,” analyzes future demographic, crime and technology trends and summarizes how experts anticipate these changes will influence security within the next decade. It also offers recommendations security managers can adopt to address the expected trends.

The ASIS Foundation hired the Urban Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan social policy and economic research organization, to forecast demographic and crime trends and provide guidance for the emerging security challenges that may arise. The resulting 50-page report predicts current shifts and predicted changes in demographic, crime, and technology trends will create both challenges and opportunities for security managers.

“While the actual events of the next decade are impossible to predict with any certainty, it is safe to assume that the increased diversity in age, race, ethnicity and culture in our society will likely create tensions that will significantly impact security efforts. The charge for security managers is to anticipate and offset those tensions by renewing their focus on recruitment, retention, training and communication,” the report notes.

The report cites technology as an equally significant issue, with the potential to both help and hinder security efforts. “A double-edged sword, technology can open the doors to new types of criminal offenses and security breaches and it can also enhance efforts to make those doors as impenetrable as possible,” the report continues.

For instance, the growth of the Internet, as well as increased reliance on information systems, will make private information more vulnerable to access and manipulation by criminals. At the same time, technological advances will provide new and more effective ways of enhancing security efforts. “Emerging technologies that security managers should consider investing in include video analytics, automation, and counterintelligence information systems,” it states. The report recommends that those handling security:

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