Security Experts are advising business owners not to be fooled by the latest crime figures which demonstrate a small increase in crime, because a third of all violent cases have been dismissed as ‘no crime.’Every security expert is aware that theft, burglary & robbery has increased during 2009. The most chilling crime statistic is that UK gun crime increased 89% in the last decade. This is bad news for business asset protection.Security experts advise it’s time for business directors to sit up and take notice because the current recession is attacking businesses in a way that many business directors are unprepared for.Economic hardship is hitting the criminal fraternity in a big way. Historically crime always increases during a credit crunch and this recession is proving no different except for one further unwelcome statistic.The number of reported firearms incidents in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/1999 to 9,865 last year. This is a phenomenal increase of 89%. Some UK business regions have witnessed a five – fold increase and in eighteen different UK police regions gun crime has doubled.Add a sharp rise in burglaries, theft, robbery and street muggings also up by 12,000 cases in the UK during a three month period, and it makes sad reading for any business director. No more so than a director or business owner tasked with the provision of security and close protection security for any business asset protection.Asset protection international is one of the growth areas of the security industry and we are seeing a rise in the appointment of an individual threat expert into various companies. Business directors often misunderstand what constitutes assets requiring protection.Many confuse high monetary value assets with assets that don’t appear to have a monetary value. I was once contracted with an American security expert working for a Russian business director who dismissed his senior management team and rank and file employees as no value assets. In reality these were key employees who were the most valuable asset his business possessed.The fact that several of these employees had been targeted for kidnap for ransom by the Russian Mafia should have given the business director a strong indication of how valuable an asset they were. When I pressed the director about how his business would cope if two of his senior management team were kidnapped, he responded that his business would probably never recover. Every security expert working with clients from the former Soviet Bloc countries knows that once these Mafia groups kidnap business victims for ransom then simply paying the Mafia off is not the final solution. These Mafia groups are run by astute business owners who frequently tie in what they call a profit tax payments from all future business earnings.In the west we call it extortion payments, however I’ve heard a security expert compare profit tax in the East to commission payments in the West. The real difference is that you often have no choice about paying it in the Eastern Bloc, and the only alternative is to hire full time close protection officers and security from some of the former KGB officer’s business corporations.I once worked closely with an aviation business in the Southern Ukraine whose managing director flatly refused to pay any profit tax to the Ukrainian Mafia. He and his immediate family, and his extended family were targeted for assassination by this Mafia group. This director’s airline was flying extensive cargo missions for the UN into war zones and his cargo was deemed as valuable assets.I was asked to provide a security and close protection plan for the director and his family. The subsequent threat assessment indicated the Mafia were asking for a whopping 70% of the aviation companies gross turnover.The Mafia identified the business as an excellent vehicle for money laundering and the air transportation of illegal narcotics, arms and other valuable assets.Asset protection international figured very highly on the threat management plan. This particular director made a conscious decision to pay for full time VIP close protection services. This was not an easy decision as the protection team would be required for the rest of his life.About six months into the security contract during a little downtime I was chatting to the director’s wife. She was very angry at the Mafia for taking away her conventional lifestyle and for forcing her and her children and husband into a life full of life threatening risks and gross intrusion.She mentioned she was really despondent about their future business development after speaking to a Russian security expert witness who provided evidence against the Mafia only to see his wife executed as an example to him and others considering opposing the Mafia.I have to say that all security experts understand the risks and unfortunately these risks extend beyond the hiring of close protection and asset protection international specialists.Hiring security from any Eastern Bloc close protection security company is fraught with security problems. Every threat expert is aware that the Mafia have infiltrated these security companies with the same success as they’ve demonstrated in infiltrating the police, military and intelligence agencies.Security Expert Asset Protection International Skills #1Identify your true valuable assets. i.e. goods and products can always be replaced if adequately insured. Whereas key personnel can never be replaced if they are kidnapped and executed.This is a fact recognised by the UK Midlands telephone company whose workers were kidnapped and decapitated in one of the independent states of the former Soviet Union after a botched rescue bid.Security Expert Asset Protection International Skills #2Conduct extensive due diligence on the security close protection security company and personnel you hire. Don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. It is critical to identify the key partners in any security company you retain.Security Expert Asset Protection International Skills #3Ensure all your corporate Insurance policies are up to date and fully compliant. I’m not just talking about your insurance policies covering your assets for theft, fraud, product tampering, vandalism and hi-jacking. I’m also talking about your company directors manslaughter liability insurance policy.i.e. if you are a company director and you send one of your company representatives overseas to represent your business and they are kidnapped and executed and you haven’t proved adequate security and counter kidnapping training then you and your fellow directors will be charged and you could be jailed.Of course you will also be subjected to an expensive civil case.Security Expert Asset Protection International Skills #4Protect your personnel assets as much as you protect your fixed tangible assets. i.e. Ensure you have adequate kidnap for ransom or K&R insurance for every company representative travelling as one of your business representatives. K&R insurance is not as expensive as you might think.Security Expert Asset Protection International Skills #5Hire the services of a professionally recognised security expert. If your assets are based in the UK then utilise a proven British security expert. If the assets are based in North America then utilise an American security expert. If your assets are being transported or travelling internationally then consider retaining an International security expert.