June 2024 — Extreme Weather, Chinese Espionage and Smash and Grabs

By Daniel Young | July 2, 2024 | 4 min read
June security news

There’s a lot going on in the world of physical risk and vulnerability; it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the latest news and developments. We’ll keep you informed with the best content to keep your organization safe and secure. Check out the top news and headlines from the past month.

‘Catastrophic flooding’ in Upper Midwest prompts evacuations as record-breaking heat wave broils the West and mid-Atlantic

From CNN: Millions of people across the US weathered a record-setting heat wave in June while many Americans – including those in areas of New Mexico, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota – contended with “catastrophic” flash flooding, wildfires, and tornado watches.

Our take: Extreme weather is increasing all over the country. Are you prepared for possible weather events in your area? This is a good time to start considering the foreseeability of weather events; even if you’ve never experienced flooding or tornadoes in your region, start planning for any weather event that might endanger your site or interrupt business operations.

Video shows 20 thieves smash and grab from California jewelry store; 5 men arrested

From MSN: Nearly 20 people left a California jewelry store in shambles after stealing as much as they could in a smash-and-grab robbery that lasted less than three minutes.The group broke into the PNG Jewelers in Sunnyvale on June 12 at around 1:27 p.m., the city's Department of Public Safety said in a news release. Surveillance video shows the suspects using hammers and other tools to budge the front door open. Masking their faces with hoods, the thieves fan out across the store to quickly destroy nearly every display case.

Our take: Organized retail thefts, especially large scale smash and grabs, like this, are a difficult crime to prevent because there are so many perpetrators, and because retail establishments want to foster an open and welcoming environment for shoppers. Additionally, the penalties for shoplifting can be frustratingly light. Realistically, while there are actions that can be taken to secure stores, it’s time to involve lawmakers. We have to create laws that protect businesses so that retail establishments are able to stay in business, and shoplifters are discouraged from participating in this type of crime.

Silicon Valley steps up staff screening over Chinese espionage threat

From The Financial Times: Silicon Valley companies are escalating their security vetting of staff and potential recruits as US officials voice greater concern about the threat of Chinese espionage. Technology giants such as Google and high-profile start-ups like OpenAI have stepped up their screening of personnel, according to several people working directly with the groups. The move comes amid fears that foreign governments are seeking to use compromised workers to access intellectual property and company data.

Our take: Insider threats can be jolting for businesses; company leaders tend to expect loyalty from their employees. Your employees may not feel the same way; your staff can be easy targets for rival organizations, and even nation states. We’re pleased to see that Silicon Valley is taking the threat of Chinese espionage seriously and increasing employee screening..

Serial bank robber sentenced for robbing bank while out on supervised release

From UPI: A 76-year-old South Carolina man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after being found guilty for a 2023 bank robbery. At the time of the 2023 robbery, he was on supervised release from previous federal bank robbery convictions in South Carolina and North Carolina. He was released from prison in 2022.

Our take: We tend to think of bank robberies as being a thing of the past, but hold-ups are still very real. While banks have done a lot to diminish the risk of a bank robbery over the years, criminals still think of bank robberies as an easy cash grab. It’s important for banks to be aware that criminals are also inspired by one another; if one bank robbery has been in the news, others are likely to occur.

June Top Security Grants

FEMAs Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP): The Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP) provides funding to close known capability gaps, encourages innovative regional solutions to issues related to catastrophic incidents, and builds on existing regional preparedness efforts. The purpose of the RCPGP is to build regional capacity to manage catastrophic incidents by improving and expanding collaboration for catastrophic incident preparedness. Grants close: July 25, 2024

FEMA’s Dam Safety Program: The National Dam Safety Program’s mission is to reduce risks to lives, property, and the environment from dam failure by guiding public policy and leveraging industry best practices across the dam safety community. The National Dam Safety Program supports FEMA Strategic Goal 1: Build a Culture of Preparedness and FEMA Strategic Goal 2: Ready the National for Catastrophic Disasters. Grant closes: July 27

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