March 2021 – Top News in the Security and Risk Industry and Grants

March 30, 2021 | 5 min read
Top News in the Security and Risk Industry March

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.

Domestic violence suspect arrested at accuser’s apartment during virtual court hearing

From MLive: A domestic violence suspect was arrested during a virtual hearing on Friday when police showed up at the victim’s door and found the suspect inside her apartment. Coby Harris was in the midst of a preliminary hearing Tuesday, March 2 on charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and domestic violence-second offense when St. Joseph County Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Davis paused to ask the victim to confirm her suspicion that Harris was in the apartment. A personal protection order is in place calling for Harris to not be around the accuser. St. Joseph County District Judge Jeffrey C. Middleton asked both parties where they were, and asked that Harris go outside with his phone and show the court his door number to prove he was telling the truth about being in his own apartment. While Harris argued with the judge, the police arrived at the victim’s apartment to arrest Harris.

Our take: We applaud both the ability of Assistant Prosecutor Davis to realize the problem and the quick, creative thinking of Judge Middleton, both of whom were able to keep the victim safe. This hearing is a perfect example of how remote meetings and calls can be used to tell if someone is in danger. We should all be paying attention to the faces in our Zoom screens, and taking action if something doesn’t seem right. It’s also important that in our new, remote culture, we start learning visual signals to communicate distress. The Universal Signal for Help, a hand sign performed by holding the hand up with your thumb tucked into the palm, then folding the fingers down, symbolically trapping the thumb with the fingers, is a good place to start.

Nurse arrested for trying to steal doses of COVID vaccine from TCF Center, police say

From ClickOnDetroit: Police said that a nurse has been arrested for trying to steal doses of the coronavirus vaccine from the TCF Center in Detroit. Another nurse witnessed the attempted theft and reported it immediately, police said. The nurse accused of the attempted theft was working for a contractor and had been hired to give the vaccine to Detroit residents. The nurse is accused of taking two syringes of the Pfizer vaccine and putting them in her pocket. She was arrested by Detroit police.

Our take: Although the vaccines are often tightly guarded, the fact that there’s not a lot of vaccine has made them a target for criminals. Criminals will take any opportunity to steal a valuable and even someone with no criminal history might be tempted by something as desirable as the vaccine. Currently people are willing to pay a lot of money to get a vaccine instead of waiting, which is creating a threat that these can be sold by thieves. Healthcare organizations need to keep their guard up as we enter this vaccination stage of the pandemic.

Restaurant owner released from jail after ignoring state COVID orders

From the Holland Sentinel: A restaurant owner in Holland, Michigan, arrested last week for violating a court order, has been released Tuesday, March 23, from Ingham County Jail after officials determined her restaurant is truly closed. Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, owner of Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria at 909 Lincoln Ave. in Holland, was arrested on an outstanding bench warrant for refusing to comply with court orders to close her restaurant which operated without a food license for nearly two months.

Our take: Just because a business owner doesn’t like a law doesn’t mean that business doesn’t have to comply with the law. Although Pavlos-Hackney has many supporters in her community, going rogue came with a cost: jail time, and now her restaurant is shut down permanently. It could be much worse, however — if someone ate there while the restaurant was illegally open, contracted COVID and died, she could be sued for negligence.

Man posing as plumber breaks and enters home

From the Chicago Tribune: A suspect posed as a residential plumber in Elmhurst, Indiana, knocking on a resident’s door and asking to come inside the home and check the water in the resident’s faucets. The resident let the man into the home, and he asked her to turn on the bathroom faucet. While out of sight, the man entered the victim’s bedroom and removed valuables.

Our take: Criminals have adapted to the pandemic in a number of ways, and that includes burglars. Now that more people are home during the day, they’re posing as utility workers and getting into houses while residents are home. Such ruse burglaries can be dangerous; in December three suspects in Denver, dressed as utility workers, entered a home. The homeowner was fatally shot. Please exercise caution and demand to see identification, or confirm with your provider if utility workers arrive unexpectedly at your home.

March Top Security Grants

FEMA’s Fiscal Year 2021 Nonprofit Security Grant Program: The FY 2021 NSGP provides funding support for physical security enhancements and other security related activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. NSGP seeks to integrate the preparedness activities of nonprofit organizations with broader state and local preparedness efforts. Applications due: May 14

The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ 2021 Nonprofit Security Grant Program: The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is pleased to announce the FY 2021 Nonprofit Security Grant Program - Urban Area (NSGP-UA) and State (NSGP-S).Nonprofit organizations may apply for up to $150,000 per site, for up to three (3) sites, for a maximum award of $450,000 per organization. Non profit organizations that are applying for this funding opportunity must be prequalified in NYS Grants Management prior to application submission. To learn more about prequalification, go to the Grants Management site. Applications due: April 15.

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