Watch as dog teaches how to best survive an active shooter

Fight or flight is an intrinsic survival instinct. Hiding is a conditioned response to avoid confrontation.
Watch as the dog in this slow-mo video of the #TurkeyAttack demonstrates the ideal survival sequence:
 Who would you rather be? The dog getting safer with each running step or the man in red trying to hide in the corner? ‪
Spencer Coursen | Threat Management Expert

Credit Union Security: 4 Ways to Beat the Bad Guys

Spencer Coursen of Coursen Security Group provides expert commentary to credit unions looking to beat the bad guys.

Matthew Yussman, CFO for the $122 million Achieve Financial Credit Union who also doubles as the Berlin, Conn.-based cooperative’s security training officer, was a victim of an unusual criminal plot that he never saw coming.

Last February, Brian Scott Witham and Michael Anthony Benanti took Yussman hostage, duct taped a bomb to his chest and forced him into a failed attempt to rob his own credit union. They targeted Yussman, as well as two other credit union employees and their families, via social media sites and used portable cameras to case their victims.

Although executives and employees who work in the financial services industry may be at a higher risk of becoming targets of criminals, security experts say credit union employees can take steps to protect themselves and reduce their risk of becoming the next victim. Security experts also shared what employees can do to survive a hostage situation.

1. Don’t be a soft target.

A soft target is someone who is distracted or not paying attention to their surroundings, even in their own neighborhood.

In Yussman’s case, for example, he parked his car in his driveway and unloaded some stuff to place in the garage. While he was doing that, he was rushed by Benanti and Witham.

Yussman acknowledged that if he had driven his car into his garage and closed the garage door, he may have been able to prevent the incident from happening.

Randy Spivey, CEO and founder of the Center for Personal Protection and Safety in Reston, Va., said his company will watch executives and their daily habits to determine if they are soft or hard targets and make recommendations.

“A hard target is going to be somebody that is not paranoid but they’re not oblivious,” he said. “When they’re walking around town or they’re coming out of their house at night, they are aware of their surroundings.”



2. Take simple security steps.

Spencer Coursen, president/CEO of the Coursen Security Group in New York City, said even the most basic safety and personal security precautions can significantly reduce an employee’s vulnerability.

“Something as simple as modifying your daily movement, taking alternate routes to and from work, school or the gym, or even every so often driving around your block before pulling into your driveway sends a clear message to anyone taking notice that your actions are not overly predictable,” Coursen said.

If you suspect someone is casing your home, call the police, Spivey said.

Spivey also recommended that in addition to a home security alarm system, you should consider installing security cameras around your home. For a couple of hundred dollars you can invest in a basic camera system that can make your home a hard enough target for criminals to avoid, he said.



3. Ask yourself, “Is somebody following me?”

If you believe someone is following you, Spivey recommended that you don’t confront the person.

Instead, stop and look in the general direction of that person from a safe distance of about 20 or 30 yards away.

“I’ve seen people who sense that somebody is following them and they look at them and pretend that they’re dialing their phone as if they are reporting it to somebody, which can be a deterrent,” he said. “That makes you a hard target versus a soft target.”

Keep an eye out for safe havens such as police and fire stations. Restaurants, hotel lobbies, public libraries, community centers and hospitals can also be safe places where you can get help.

4. Restrict your social media information.

It’s also important to limit the information you post about yourself onsocial media sites.

“We’ll see individuals that sometimes will have two different profiles. They may have one that’s open to the public and the information that’s on there is very generic and very controlled,” Spivey explained. “Executives also may have very private social media sites that they use only for very close friends and family members.”

Spivey said executives need to understand that if they post information on social media, criminals may be able to use it as an opportunity to commit a crime.

“Think about your teenage daughter and what information you’d want and wouldn’t want her to put on social media,” he said. “Think about all the guys who might be looking at that information and how you’d want to control that.”

In addition to changing your passwords every quarter; updating software, security and privacy settings; and never opening unsolicited links or connecting with someone you don’t know, Coursen said it may be a good idea to protect your online browsing habits from being tracked or monitored.

Coursen said software exists to assist with this effort, including free options that provide access to a network of anonymous proxy servers. It was originally intended to help journalists, spies and students who live in regions of online censorship, he said.

It’s also very important to regularly run virus scans on your computer and update the security features on your wireless router at home.

5. Surviving a Hostage Situation

To survive a hostage situation, it’s important to remember the three C’s: Calm, connect and capitalize.

“The first C is that you want to be a calm influence, because it’s going to be a very nerve wrecking experience,” Spivey said. “The reality is that most hostages survive.”

What Spivey means by connect is to help the criminals see you as person, not as an object.

“You don’t want them seeing as you as the CFO of a credit union. You want them to see you as a dad, a husband, a brother, something that connects you as a person,” he said. “The reason is, it’s easier to kill an object than a person. You want to engage them in a way that makes you seem like a likable person. You don’t want to be rude. You don’t want to be arrogant.”

And then capitalize, which means to encourage the criminals to a peaceful solution that is going to meet whatever they want.

“If they want money, then you may say, ‘OK, well, let’s see what we can do to help that,’ Spivey explained. “Whatever you do, you don’t want to argue with them. You want to be a calming influence as best as you possibly can to encourage a peaceful resolution.”

Although it is risky, the opportunity to escape from a hostage situation may be another option depending on the circumstances.

“The best opportunity for escape may occur in the first moments of a kidnapping,” Coursen said. “Kidnappers will sometimes let down their guard momentarily or do something that can afford the victim the opportunity to escape. The kidnapper may not have considered that a victim may react by fleeing or taking a chance. If circumstances permit, try to get away.”


This article by Peter Strozniak originally appeared here:

Security Expert Spencer Coursen specializes in threat assessment protective intelligence and vulnerability reduction. Coursen Security Group Logo.


Safe Havens: Have a plan, Know where to go, Know how to get there

Spencer Coursen of Coursen Security Group discusses The 3 F’s of “Family, Food and Flags” are good reminders for where children can go to get help

A Safe Haven is nothing more than a place you can go to be protected.

For most of us, the best Safe Haven will be our homes…but what about those times when home is too far away?

When moments matter most, you want to have a plan, you want to know where to go, and know how to get there.

Anywhere you can go to be safe will serve your purpose. So take a few minutes of your day today to identify those places between home and work or home and school where you know you could go in an emergency.

The same things goes for your children.

No one fears that which they know well. From turning of all the lights at night to jumping from the diving board in the backyard pool, children are at their best when they are empowered to overcome that which frightens them. In that spirit, the following are three simple solutions for parents looking to empower their children with a simple personal safety strategy.

When in doubt: “Run to a Restaurant.”

Restaurants make great safe havens!

  • They are easy to describe
  • They are easy to identify
  • They can accommodate large groups of people
  • They will have food, water, and bathrooms
  • They are staffed by locals who know the area
  • And they will have hard lined phone an internet so you can still let your loved ones know you’re ok even if the cell towers go down

Make identifying safe havens a regular part of your family emergency plan so that everyone knows where to go and everyone knows where to be found if your family should get separated.

Identifying Safe Havens is a lot like wearing your seatbelt; most of the time you won’t need it — but in those unexpected times you do — you’ll certainly be glad you did.


Spencer Coursen is the President of Coursen Security Group. He is an expert security consultant, threat assessment advisor, and protective strategist who is dedicated to reducing risk and preventing violence. His systems and strategies help corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and at-risk public figures ensure the certainty of safety for all involved.

Security Expert Spencer Coursen on ABC7 News
Spencer Coursen ABC7 New York News

Fitness Tracker Safety Tips

spencer coursen fitness tracker safety tips

It’s not hard to hack your fitbit. A novice can do it in a few minutes. A professional in a few seconds. And while it’s true that hackers care less about your calorie count than they do your credit accounts…if you’re using the same username and password for your fitness tracker as you are your banking app, you may be putting yourself at risk.

So, before you step outside to track your pace count, take a few steps toward securing the data your device collects each time you wrap it around your wrist.

  1. Make sure the security and software settings are up-to-date. As a particular device grows in popularity, so does the risk of the software becoming more vulnerable to attack. Fitness device companies are always updating their software to reduce risk, so anytime you see an update is available, be sure to download the updates immediately.
  2. Avoid using your own name as the device name. Bluetooth connected devices are searchable to anyone within close proximity of your device. This may increase your vulnerability of being identified in public settings like coffee shops and restaurants. Instead of your name, try labeling your device with something not commonly associated as being you.
  3. When creating your online profile, choose a strong, profile-specific password that is not associated with any of your other accounts. One of the best ways to reduce risk, is to keep personal information compartmentalized in separate accounts; each with their own unique username and password.
  4. Exercise caution when linking your fitness tracker to your social network. Restrict the personal information you share across the fitness tracker community. Keep in mind that certain fitness trackers may be sharing specific times and locations — like where you go running and when — that you may not want shared with the general public.
  5. Consider “turning off” the wifi or bluetooth signal of your device when it is not being used in support of your fitness goals. If you intend to leave your device “on,” the importance of a unique username and even stronger password becomes exponentially important.
spencer coursen fitness tracker safety tips

In a recent report by Symantec, experts warn that when it comes to self-tracking, there are several ways to collect, store, and analyze data. Many of these fitness tracker services involve multi-part systems. Unfortunately, as more parts are introduced into a system, the risk of a “weak link” rises.

What’s important for the end user to remember is that the first steps to ensuring safety begins with their own proactive precautions: Awareness + Preparation = Safety


Spencer Coursen is the President of Coursen Security Group. He is an expert security consultant, threat assessment advisor, and protective strategist who is dedicated to reducing risk and preventing violence. His systems and strategies help corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and at-risk public figures ensure the certainty of safety for all involved.

@SpencerCoursen / @CoursenSecurity

Expert security consultant Spencer Coursen in NYC
Spencer Coursen, Expert Security Consultant and Protective Strategist

Spencer Coursen – Advisor | Consultant | Strategist | Veteran

Spencer Coursen is the President of Coursen Security Group. He is an expert security consultant, threat assessment advisor, and protective strategist who is dedicated to reducing risk and preventing violence. Spencer Coursen’s systems and strategies help corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and at-risk public figures ensure the certainty of safety for all involved.  via 

Security Consultant Spencer Coursen in New York City
Spencer Coursen in NYC
Security Consultant Spencer Coursen
Spencer Coursen
Spencer Coursen | Afghanistan
Spencer Coursen – Afghanistan / Pakistan border
Spencer Coursen Zero Dark Thirty
Spencer Coursen featured in a unit still photography of Zero Dark Thirty, Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. DP Greig Fraser. Photography by Jonathan Olley 2012.


Spencer Coursen in Amman, Jordan
Spencer Coursen in Amman, Jordan



Are You Safety Fit?

Are You Safety Fit? Security expert Spencer Coursen from Coursen Security Group discusses the importance overall fitness plays in everyday safety.

Did you know that staying in shape will not only help you to live a  healthier life, but will also help to keep you safe from harm?  It’s true!

Lions stalking their prey in the wild don’t target the strongest of the herd —they attack the weakest. Criminals assess their “likelihood of success” the same way. They confront those least-likely to put up a fight.  The positive, protective, and confident posture you promote by being in shape not only serves as a deterrent from potential attackers, but being safety-fit will also greatly increase your survivability in an emergency.


Emergencies are a lot like broken elevators; they typically occur when we are least expecting and most ill-prepared. Too many of us have found ourselves winded and sore after having to muster intense physical exertion at an unexpected time. When your life is on the line, you don’t want to be the one wishing they had done their workouts. You want to be the one who is forever grateful that they had.

As you go about your day, take a moment to notice your surroundings and the physical obstacles you may encounter if faced with the unexpected. You can then draw from these observations for inspiration when creating your fitness plan. It helps to think about how an exercise might be able to help you in a real-world emergency scenario.

For Example:

  • Live/work on a top floor? Elevators are one of the first things to stop working. Whenever time permits, take the stairs. Want to do more? Try adding some stadium runs, hill sprints, and the stair master to your workout regimen.
  • Live in an earthquake zone?  Doing more push-ups and a heavier bench-press just may save your life. The more total weight you can move, the easier it will be to to push fallen objects off you. Chest strength doubles for pushing bad guys away from you, providing those precious seconds you need to run away.
  • Need to barricade a door and/or keep it pushed closed? Squats and shoulder presses will serve you well in this scenario.
  • Ever been stuck in an elevator? Box jumps and pull-ups will help you escape through the ceiling panel.
  • Don’t forget to do some sprints. In today’s schools and office environment, a 10K run to safety may not be likely, but having to run as fast as you can down a hallway, down some stairs, or across the street  is actually very realistic. On a nearby track, sprint the straightaways and jog the curves to recover. Training on a treadmill?  Try interval sets: sprint for 15 seconds, then drop speed to recover 30 seconds, repeat 5 times. Walk for 2-3 minutes, and then do it all again.

Short on time? My good friends, Whitney and Byron at Fitness and Fuel LA  design position-specific workouts for professional athletes. For staying everyday safety fit, they recommend an intense circuit of functional exercises such as pushups, planks, burpees, crunches and lunges, which when performed to failure can certainly work up a sweat!

Awareness + Preparation = Safety

Effective self-defense begins long before a physical altercation. Awareness of your surroundings, awareness of your environment, and awareness of what looks out of place, prepares you physically and mentally for what may come next. Being aware and engaged with your environment also promotes a confidence that is often your first line of defense in convincing a would-be-attacker that they will have a greater chance of success targeting someone else.

“Prepare Today For A Safer Tomorrow”

For those times you do find yourself out on that long run, remember to identify a few Safe Havens along the way. Remember that grocery stores, restaurants, and supermarkets are just as likely to offer help as the local police station and firehouse.

When in doubt, run to a restaurant. Restaurants are easy to identify and easy to remember. Restaurants are designed to accommodate large groups of people. They will have food and water, rest rooms, and they will likely have a basic medical kit in the kitchen. A restaurant will also have hard-lined phones and internet connections so you can call for help and let loved ones know you are OK should the cell towers go down.


This article originally appeared here on LinkedIn by Spencer Coursen.



Spencer Coursen is the President of Coursen Security Group. He is an expert security advisor, threat assessment consultant, and protective strategist who is dedicated to reducing risk and preventing violence. His systems and strategies help corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and at-risk public figures ensure the certainty of safety for all involved.

@SpencerCoursen / @CoursenSecurity

Expert security consultant Spencer Coursen in NYC
Spencer Coursen, Expert Security Consultant and Protective Strategist

“Soft Target” Safety: Protecting Your Business From Targeted Attack

Security Expert Spencer Coursen of Coursen Security Group discusses how soft targets can help protect themselves from being targeted.

Renewed concerns for “soft-target” safety dominate the news cycle today after terrorist took hostages at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali.

This tragic news comes as Paris is still processing the deadly attacks in the city of lights, and one can’t help but be reminded of similar attacks on a popular hotel in Somalia that left more than 14 people dead and dozens more injured, or the attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia that left 21 dead.

The argument will always be made that we can’t protect everything all of the time.  If that statement is true, than the converse must also be true: They can’t attack everything all the time. What we must understand is that for the violent offender, their act of violence is of greater significance than the target of their action. This makes ‘likelihood of success’ the single most influential factor of target selection.  We can no longer afford to live in a world where they simply hope that nothing will happen, and then solely rely on the first responders to save the day once something does. Our focus needs to shift from being reactive to proactive. To do our best to prevent these tragic outcomes from ever becoming a reality in the first place.


What we CAN do is lower the likelihood of being targeted.  We CAN ensure that the policies and procedures we have written down as doctrine are the same as what are being put into practice.  We CAN raise our level of awareness to the vulnerabilities which surround us, and then bring those concerns to the decision makers so that those issues may be effectively addressed. We CAN prepare today for a safer tomorrow.


Take An Honest Look At Your Current Protective Measures

Most business leaders are aware of the risk associated with bringing their services into the marketplace, but what about those concerns inherent to their actual place of business? However unlikely it may be for a business to be directly targeted, the reality is that too few businesses have taken any proactive measures to effectively reduce their vulnerability.  Today’s owners have a responsibility to understand the limitations of antiquated and reactive security measures and learn as much as they can about more proactive practices that today’s operating environment requires. The modern marketplace offers a host of consultative and technological advantages to help ensure the safety of all involved.


Promote A Positive, Personal Interaction

Greeters, information providers, security guards, or a host who simply says hello to every person who comes near your venue is an effective yet non-invasive approach to promoting a positive protective posture. The everyday human interaction resulting in an unshared concern is arguably the greatest untapped source of protective intelligence available to any business of any size.  The psychological deterrence of a simple inter-personal communication carries much more weight than the thought of “being watched.”  Human interaction offers an immediate notification of potential harm. If a personal interaction triggers something suspicious, immediate attention can be called to the situation. This human approach is a much more practical application than sole reliance on  someone in a command center noticing something suspicious.


Access Control

Access Control saves lives. A venue’s ability to pre-determine where an initiation of violence must first take place allows for a venue’s protective resources to be allocated where they will be most effective – at the point of entry! 

It is perfectly possible for a place of business to have an open and welcoming environment, but there is no need whatsoever to give all who enter free-reign throughout the entire facility. Banks do this well. While the lobby is relatively “open” to the public, few have access to get behind the teller desks, and even fewer have access to the vault.


Keys, Doors, and Locks

Keeping people out is easier than getting them out. Effectively controlling who’s allowed through your front door is especially important if once someone is allowed inside there is nothing preventing them from having free-reign throughout the rest of your establishment.

The problem with keys is that they work all the time. Keys are cheap, frequently lost, and easy to copy. Keys don’t validate their user the way card readers and key-codes do. Consider dual-authentication options to limit and monitor access.


Social Media Awareness

Geofeedia  has perfected a method for providing real-time, location-based, social media intelligence to small business owners, hotel managers, restaurateurs, and security teams that helps to promote a better understanding of the social postings inherent to their specific location.  This kind of real-time intelligence can be invaluable in helping a business to ensure that your customer needs and concerns are being effectively addressed.


Safe Haven

A safe haven is nothing more than a place you know you can go to be safe. Everyone knows if there is a fire to evacuate the building. What most people don’t know is where to go next. In an emergency, it’s always best to go from unsafe to safe. The parking lot fifty feet from the building may be a safe distance from a fire in the break room, but it is not a universal safety precaution from other threats that are just as likely to occur. During an active shooter event, hiding under your desk or behind an office door likely won’t do much good either (bullets travel through doors and walls.)

If you have the physical ability to run…RUN. A moving target – especially one gaining distance with each step  —  is hard to hit. Take some time to talk with your staff about where you can all go for accountability, continuity, and safety should you ever have to leave the office in a hurry. Even if it’s just to the Starbucks down the street, make sure everyone knows where to go and knows how to get there. Identifying safe havens is a lot like wearing your seatbelt: Often just a precaution, but invaluable when needed.

Read: Bomb Threats: How safe is your evacuation plan?

Protective Intelligence

Protective Intelligence is the process for collecting and assessing information about persons who have interest, motivation, intention and practical capability to do harm. When it comes to identifying and assessing those events that are most likely to be a concern, information is invaluable:

  • The creepy, curly haired guy you noticed going through the work trash out back, write it down;
  • The flower delivery guy who for-whatever-reason made the hair on your neck stand-up, write it down;
  • See the obsessive gym guy who won’t take no for an answer driving by your office, write it down.

Someone may not see everything, but everything is seen by someone. The smallest things can be huge indicators when viewed through the prism of space and time. If you see something, say something, because chances are that others saw something too. Even if you talk about it with your coworkers in the break room, writing it down while it’s still fresh in your mind will not only serve as confirmation of what you saw, but will provide a time/date stamp to compare against similar reports.

Those wishing to act with violent intent must engage in some aspect of research and planning that makes their behaviors observable to the general public. Trespassing, surveillance, and attempting to breach security are all pre-incident indicators of violence.

Start a simple email address at work that can be universally used by all, like “” The more puzzle pieces you provide, the more likely a potential hazard can be managed toward peaceful resolve. After access control, an effective protective intelligence and threat assessment program is the next most important precaution for reducing risk and preventing violence.



Everyday vigilance is a small price to pay for the liberties and the freedoms which flow so freely from peace, but the burden is ours to bare. Safety is a communal responsibility, and there is still so much more we can do to help ensure the certainty of future safety.

Taking a few moments to put a plan in place is sometimes all that is needed to prepare today for a safer tomorrow.

Awareness + Preparation = Safety

Spencer Coursen is a nationally recognized threat management expert who has an exceptional record of success in the assessment, management, and resolution of threats, domestic and global security operations, investigations, policy authorship, and protective strategy.

Spencer Coursen | Threat Management Expert

School Safety Made Simple

Teacher Intelligence -- Human Intelligence with a Teacher's Touch. Security expert Spencer Coursen of Coursen Security Group has developed an anonymous reporting application that improves administrator awareness of evolving concerns within an a school's ecosystem.

Awareness + Preparation = Safety


Spencer Coursen is the President of Coursen Security Group. He is an expert security advisor, threat assessment consultant, and protective strategist who is dedicated to reducing risk and preventing violence. His systems and strategies help corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and at-risk public figures ensure the certainty of safety for all involved.

 @SpencerCoursen / @CoursenSecurity

Talking To Kids About Terrorism

"Talking To Kids About Terrorism" Security expert Spencer Coursen discusses appropriate talking points for parents to use when talking to their kids about terrorism.

If your child was anywhere near news or social media this weekend they were very likely exposed to comments, hashtags, or photos relating to the terrorist attacks in Paris.  This means they very likely have questions — even if they haven’t figured out how to ask them yet.

When bad things happen to good people, parents to want to shield their children from the horrors of the world. Parents will do anything to ensure the physical safety and the emotional well-being of their child. Instead of avoiding these tough-to-talk-about times, choose to use them as an opportunity to replace any anxieties your child may have with empowering lessons they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

It may be best if you can initiate the dialogue with your child to see what they know, what they think they know, and what they want to know. This will  help you to separate the facts from whatever fictions are fueling their fears.

You can then use this information to frame your conversation in the most age-appropriate manner possible and instill within them the certainty of their future safety.

There Are No Foolish Fears

Children have active imaginations and will sometimes envision a course of action that may not be rational or realistic. This is especially true of younger children who are afraid that something bad will happen to their family.  It is very important that children not be made to feel like their fears are foolish. Instead, do your best to replace their fears with facts. In times of uncertainty, children are looking for reassurance.

For younger children, explain to them that they are safe and loved, and that you will always be there to protect them. If they are older, it is perfectly acceptable to explain to them that even though the attacks in Paris were tragic, these types of attacks are very rare.

For both age groups, focus on the good: the first responders who rushed to help; the police who stopped the offenders; and the people who opened their homes to strangers. This is also perfectly appropriate time to remind your children about the precautions you take to protect yourself, as well as the everyday safety precautions taken to safeguard your home and their school.  Try to realign their fears toward a more positive focus by assuring your children just how much  they are safe, loved, and protected.

Children Need a Trusted Source of Information

Parents should not feel burdened to “know everything.” If your child asks you a question and you are unsure of how to respond, “I don’t know, but I’m going to find out right now” is a perfectly acceptable answer.  So is, “That’s a really important question, and I want us to take time to discuss this. How about tonight at dinner?”  This will buy you the time you need seek out the best advice to answer your child’s specific questions.

This response also serves two important purposes:

  1. It establishes the parent as a trusted source of information in their children’s lives.
  2. It removes the fear factor some children have of not asking their parents a questions for fear “they won’t know.”

Empowering your child with the comfort and confidence to come to you with any questions they may have lays the foundation for future — more challenging — subject matter conversations.

Empower Your Child with a  Simple Safety Strategy

Teaching your child what to do if there is an emergency is just as important as doing your very best to protect them from harm. When talking to children about safety, try do so calmly without raising their level of anxiety.  Provide your child with simple solutions to problems they can solve themselves. Ideally, you want to have them be engaged in their own decision making process, to utilize their own problem-solving skills, and then practice those skills in a safe learning environment. Teaching children about safety on the streets is no different then teaching them about the hazards of fire. We don’t simply teach them that fire is dangerous, we have them practice STOP, DROP, AND ROLL.

Reassure your children that the world is full of good, decent, hardworking people who will do almost anything to help a young child in need. Empower them with realistic and practical actions they can take if they have an emergency and no one they know is nearby to help.

The 3 F’s of “Family, Food and Flags” are easy-to-remember reminders for where children can find help:

FAMILIES – or any adult with young children can be trusted to ask for help.

FOOD – anywhere food is served or sold is a good place to ask for help. Food providers are checked and inspected prior to being given a permit. If your child is ever in trouble and they don’t know where to go teach them to Run to a Restaurant.

FLAGS – Flags are friendly. Buildings waiving flags or anyone with a flag on their uniform like police officer, a fireman, or a soldier can be trusted to help.

Spencer Coursen of Coursen Security Group discusses The 3 F’s of “Family, Food and Flags” are good reminders for where children can go to get help

Remember:  The more educated your child becomes about the realities of the world around them, the less likely they will be to succumb to the the fantasies of their fears. Cultivating an open and honest conversational relationship with your child will help to reduce the possibility of emotional difficulties and will promote the resiliency your child needs to live a safe, secure, and successful life.

Updated:  Watch as this little boy realizes only love can protect Paris.

“The flowers and the candles are here to protect us.”

We can no longer teach our children only about the good in the world.  We need to frame their expectations to the bad as well.  Not to be afraid, but to be aware. To understand that in all of us their is both good and evil. Because, sometimes bad things have to happen so that the good in us can grow stronger. For only when we embrace the good in us can our souls grow bigger, our minds think clearer, and our hearts love deeper.

That everyday has both day and night, but that even the darkest nights have stars in the sky — and that’s how you know that the light is winning.

Awareness + Preparation = Safety


Spencer Coursen is the President of Coursen Security Group. He is an expert security advisor, threat assessment consultant, and protective strategist who is dedicated to reducing risk and preventing violence. His systems and strategies help corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and at-risk public figures ensure the certainty of safety for all involved.

@SpencerCoursen / @CoursenSecurity

Apps, Tips, and Costume Tricks to Make this Halloween the Best Year Ever.

Security expert Spencer Coursen discusses helpful hints to ensure a Happy Halloween Holliday

One of the most popular holiday’s for kids — Halloween — is just around the corner.

Don’t worry, there is still time to put your finishing touches on your child’s classroom costume winner and to set your kids up for safety and success before they go out out in search of their candied treasure.

Here are a few tips to help ensure a Happy Halloween Holiday!

This time of year, it gets dark early. If you’re going to be night-time treating, reflective tape and stickers are a great way to accessorize costumes with safety-inspired accents.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 9.45.10 AM

If you have the choice between the two, face-paint and make-up wont obstruct your child’s vision like a falling down face-mask. This may make a world of difference if you live in an area where many streets will be crossed.


Keep in mind that the most popular trick-or-treat times are between 5pm and 8pm, right around the time it starts to get dark. Flashlights and glow sticks are a fun way to stay safe.

  • Never — EVER — go inside the home of someone you don’t know. No “treat” is worth the safety of your child.
  • Avoid any homes where you can’t see the front door from the street. If the front door is hidden behind hedges or disguised by decoration, exercise caution and move on to the next home.
  • For the older kids, try to have them stay in neighborhoods they know, and try to avoid ever being too far away to run home. If they will be too far to run home, take a drive with them this weekend to identify safe-havens — those places where they know they can go to find safety. Make sure they have a plan, know where to go, and know how to get there.  There are even some apps that help neighbors connect.


  • Put your business card in your child’s trick-or-treat bag in case they get lost. It’s also a good idea to have them practice dialing 911 from your mobile phone in their costume. (In airplane mode, please)

911 song

 Spencer Coursen of Coursen Security Group discusses The 3 F’s of “Family, Food and Flags” are good reminders for where children can go to get help

Finally, do a little bit of background checking:

Take a look at the local sex offender registry and share your findings with your network. These will be the homes you definitely want to make sure you and your child avoid. Better to be safe than sorry.

Awareness + Preparation = Safety

Security Expert Spencer Coursen specializes in threat assessment protective intelligence and vulnerability reduction. Coursen Security Group Logo.