News | Risk

February 2023 — Shootings, Spy Balloons, and FEMA’s Annual TVTP Grant

By Daniel Young | March 5, 2023 | 3 min read
Industry news feb

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.

U.S. military completes recovery of Chinese balloon

From NBC News: The United States said on Friday it had successfully concluded recovery efforts off South Carolina to collect sensors and other debris from a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by a U.S. fighter jet on Feb. 4, and investigators are now analyzing its “guts.”

Our take: The spy balloon is a reminder that espionage is alive and well, and that it isn’t just restricted to online behaviors. Devices like drones and balloons are excellent tools for security, but they can easily be used as weapons.

Crime Stoppers offering reward for information in online dating extortion schemes

From The Columbus Dispatch: Central Ohio Crime Stoppers is warning area residents about an increase in reports of extortion schemes involving "catfishing" unsuspecting victims online.

A cash reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or people responsible. Catfishing is a term used to describe a person who pretends to be another person online, utilizing false information and photographs to perpetuate the deception.

Our take: We live in a golden age for scammers. Catfishing is a cousin to the spear phishing campaigns that plague businesses, and it can be just as damaging. It’s also difficult to find and prosecute catfishers, so it’s heartening to see that there are people targeting this scammer.

Shoplifting deterrents drive down sales

From Axios: Efforts to combat a rise in retail theft mean everything from toothpaste to laundry detergent to baby formula is kept under lock and key. Locked cases may stop thieves, but they are also deterring honest shoppers from making in-store purchases and can cause sales to drop 15% to 25%.

Our take: Retail theft has been a huge problem in recent years, so it makes sense that items are being kept locked up behind the counter. However, not every shopper likes to ask for their items at the courtesy desk. This is another way shoplifters are hurting retail, and there should be a better way to boost security while not deterring honest shoppers.

String of deadly shootings across the nation mar holiday weekend

From ABC News: A string of deadly shootings across the nation marred the Presidents Day weekend as law enforcement officers in major cities and rural areas investigated separate violent episodes, many involving children — including a baby killed in Chicago.

Gunfire erupted over the holiday at a pre-Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, a party in Columbus, Georgia, and on a freeway in Chicago, authorities said. Among those killed were a beloved Catholic auxiliary bishop gunned down in a Los Angeles home and a college campus police officer fatally shot execution-style.

Our take: The President’s Day weekend shootings included a potential premeditated murder, gunfire at an event, a rampage, and a murder-suicide. While the motives were all different, all of the incidents included deadly shootings. These shootings are likely to continue until we are able identify solutions to reduce violence in America.

February Top Security Grants

FEMA’s 2023 Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) grant: The Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants to develop sustainable, multidisciplinary targeted violence and terrorism prevention capabilities in local communities, to pilot innovative prevention approaches, and to identify prevention best practices that can be replicated in communities across the country. Grant closes: April 25

FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Grant Programs Directorate implements and administers the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants. SAFER grants provide financial assistance to help fire departments increase frontline firefighters. SAFER offers grants to support activities in two activities: the hiring of firefighters and the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. Grant closes: March 17

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