There are many misconceptions about graveyard shift being the most dangerous shift or time for a security guard to be guarding a property. Generally speaking, the graveyard shift is past midnight to around 8 a.m. in the morning. The reason why security guards will work overnight on properties is because many businesses are targeted after hours when burglars assume everyone has gone. Our guards patrol parking garages, generators, equipment on a construction site, they monitor fire panels, etc. as a deterrent for break-ins and burglaries.
Many believe that graveyard shifts are automatically the most unsafe because they are at night. According to 2022 Burglary stats, the most common time for a break-in to happen is between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and this is because these perpetrators are assuming there is a higher probability that someone is not home. The general shifts for guards in general are morning, swing, and graveyard shifts. Usually, each shift is around 8-12 hours, depending on the schedule and when the next guard will come to relieve duty.
One of the main reasons overnight security guards are hired to secure properties is because of safety. Not only are security guards hired at businesses at night to make sure the employees are safe when they leave, but also as a deterrent for car theft and break-ins. While most property break-ins occur during the day because of a higher probability that no one is home, the same applies to car break-ins at night, when they are more likely to not be in use. For example, San Francisco is experiencing an over 200% increase of break-ins the past couple of years, and 98% of the suspects are never caught or prosecuted. These thefts usually occur at night in the early morning hours. To avoid car theft as well, overnight security is hired as a physical deterrent, to provide safety, and to be a witness and obstacle if someone does try to break-in, vandalize, or steal.
With all sites, each is unique and has different instructions, requirements, and preferences from the client. Many of our clients request for our guards to stay in their vehicle if they need to guard someone outside, to patrol on foot outside, or a mixture of both. Graveyard security guard sites can be vastly different, from sitting inside of an apartment building guarding the residents, to patrolling outside in a vehicle or on foot to protect a generator. Before we schedule any of our security guards for night shift, we inquire with the client details about the property so the guard/guards who are patrolling on site are aware of the important information and details of the site. It is important that as a graveyard security guard, you inquire with management or with the client about any details, keys, locking up, etc. for the property, as many guards are supplied with keys, instructions, etc. for each individual client.
Being a guard is generally a very safe job, and should not be seen as a job that is dangerous. It is extremely rare that security should be fatally wounded or shot on any type of site they are guarding, and it is up to management to determine whether a site is good enough for our guards as well. Our night guards genuinely prefer night shift, as people may have different schedules or another job during the day. Many companies, including our own, provide waterproof outerwear for the guards to protect themselves from the elements. Most security companies, including The Guard Alliance Inc., require hourly reports for most sites whether the guard is guarding during the day or the night.
Whether working the day shift, swing shift, or graveyard shift, all security guards should be given standardized information about what to patrol, where to patrol, details of bathrooms, breaks, the client’s site, etc. to be as aware as they can be. Graveyard shift security guards are self-aware, and usually are the best deterrent from car thefts in apartment complexes, parking garages, construction sites, and more.