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The History Of Security Guards: An In-Depth Look

The History of Security Guards: An In-Depth Look

Security guards are often taken for granted. Yet, the men and women that make up the history of private security regularly risk their lives to protect people and property.

The history of security guards goes back thousands of years and far predates permanent law enforcement divisions. Here’s what you need to know about private security history and how the role has evolved.

What is the History of Security Guards?

Private security history dates to Ancient Egypt, where pharaohs and high-ranking officials would hire Syrian, Libyan, Sardinian, and Medjai warriors to protect themselves and their property.

Early rulers would also use ancient security guards to bolster their conventional military forces. The history of bodyguards continued in much the same vein up until the Vigiles Urbani, the watchmen of the City of Rome. Historians consider the Vigiles Urbani to be the earliest security guard division.

As for the history of private security, Allan Pinkerton established the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in Chicago in 1850. This is considered to be the first prominent nationwide security agency.

When you look back at the history of security,, you’ll find the role itself has changed. Previously, security guards had a more comprehensive role, ranging from protecting railroad shipments to investigating crimes.

The responsibilities and obligations of private security would not be regulated until 1915, when California introduced formal licensing and regulation to combat the growing number of new security agencies.

Following tragedies like 9/11, the need for modern, professional private security has grown. Security guards today are often uniformed when on patrol and stationed in specific locations.

Modern bodyguards, on the other hand, are typically ununiformed to offer a higher level of discretion for high-ranking individuals.

What are the Benefits of Private Security?

With the advent of modern policing, many people wonder whether there are any benefits to hiring private security. Indeed, there are enormous benefits for both public and private organizations in hiring security guards, including:

  • Around the Clock Protection – No police force can offer 24/7 protection. This is exactly what private security companies are designed to provide.
  • Fully Trained Security Guards – Many operatives have a security background in the police or the military. These are highly trained professionals who have undergone the same extensive training as formal law enforcement agents.
  • Protect You and Your Assets – Security guards are designed to protect both people and property. The police are reactive, whereas private security is proactive.
  • Constant Monitoring – Get the peace of mind that only comes with continuous monitoring of your home or business.

Security guards are equipped to handle any type of situation, whether they are protecting a school, reinforcing existing security measures at a business, or simply providing a reassuring presence in a public place.

What to Look for When Hiring Private Security

Before looking into a security guard’s background, it’s important to know about the key characteristics to search for when hiring private security.

Experience and reputation are everything. Private security companies possessing an intimate knowledge of the local area, alongside long track records of armed and unarmed support, will always offer a far superior service.

Make sure to check their qualifications and training. Any good security agency will be completely transparent about what makes their operatives the ideal people for the job.

Remember, the history of private security has always involved following highly specific briefs, such as protecting industrial facilities, malls, and people. In this respect, nothing has changed, so make sure you already have your brief before looking into hiring private security.

How to Find the Best Security Guards

Individual security guards put their lives on the line to protect their clients and their assets. A successful security guard will always possess certain unique characteristics and qualities that make them stand out from the crowd.

Some of the qualities to look for in a security guard include:

  • Honesty and integrity
  • High standards of training
  • Extensive experience
  • Extreme alertness
  • Great interpersonal skills
  • Excellent communicators
  • High levels of physical fitness

The best security guards are so much more than an individual in a uniform. Rules and regulations stating what security guards can and cannot do are highly specific.

Low-quality security companies may lead to their clients incurring liability if they fail to follow their brief and execute their duties lawfully.


The history of security guards is a long and intriguing one. With their early duties defending emperors from would-be assassins to their modern incarnations of protecting the American public, private security plays a vital role in defending law-abiding citizens against criminals.

Learn more about how hiring a private security company could enhance your personal and professional safety. At The Guard Alliance, we maintain the highest of standards for every member of our team.

Contact The Guard Alliance to learn more about our security guard services.

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