International Foundation
for Cultural Property Protection

  • September 06, 2016 9:31 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    IFCPP 17th Annual Leadership Symposium
    Aspen, CO. August 28, 2016 thru August 31, 2016

    As reported by:
    Sheldon Smith, Security Manager
    Detroit Institute Of Arts

    IFCPP began this year's Leadership Symposium last weekend, hosted by The Gant hotel, the Aspen Art Museum, and the Aspen Historical Society.  This year's big event featured 3 days of leadership courses and other timely cultural property protection sessions.  Offerings included classroom workshops, MOAB certification, networking activities, group meals, cultural tours, and select exhibits.

    The Symposium began with a stunning welcome reception at 6:30 pm on Sunday, August 28, 2016.  The activities began with several participants from all over the United States arriving to participate in the Symposium, and enjoy the city of Aspen. Sunday’s welcome included entertainment from the Aspen Historical Society, delivering a lively performance during dinner.

    Monday August 29, 2016, about 50 participants began arriving early networking during Registration, and a hot breakfast in the Gant Conference Center Conundrum room. Exhibiters were set up to display the wares from new technology, including MOBOTIX and Broadband Discovery Systems, providing innovations in physical security (entry screenings). As Leadership Workshops began promptly at 9:00am with Steve Woolley sharing and instructing in management styles a 7-day course given over a two-day, 6-hour condensed course. The erudition and emotion of session was applauding. Literature that was given out reflecting Steven M. R.Covey principles, will surely have significant impact on lives and behaviors.

    During lunch MOBOTIX shared an exciting presentation on the advancement of security video technology in areas of Art protection.  A practical exercise was conducted as participants were transported to the Aspen Art Museum to conduct a security assessment of the museum. This exercise turned out to be a very productive experience with several United States Museum Security Professionals, from varying security professions, assessing the Museum. IFCPP Symposium participants made a positive impact again.

    At 7:00 p.m Monday night, a group networking dinner was provided by the Red Onion restaurant. This is an Aspen landmark that holds the lofty distinction of being one of the oldest restaurant saloons in the area, dating back to the silver boom of the 19th century. Also, the Red Onion is one of the most picturesque of the various colorful Victorian establishments in Aspen. Participants shared that this special meal was delectable, closing another day with a smile on everyone’s faces.

    Tuesday August 30, 2016 began another wonderful day with a great hot breakfast. Excellent coffee was provided, as everyone involved in the security profession seems to love his or her coffee! As Leadership Workshops continued, Steve Woolley led participants through a series of classroom exercises into the noon hour. Participants were left with “one for the books” from the best practices knowledge that was shared. Tuesday’s lunch granted Symposium participants with the privilege of 2015 conference follow-up presentations from Geoff Goodrich of Crystal Bridges and Steve Ramsey of The Philbrook Museum of Art.  The sincerity of the shared information, and the humor of joy that came from the presentations, well informed participants of progress made since the IFCPP 2015 Symposium.

    At 1:00 we were back inside The Gant’s Maroon room where additional classroom sessions would close out the conference over the next few days. As Steve Layne began to summarize implementation of procedures for conducting assessments, participants from the previous day’s activities were organized into groups. Each group was assigned an area to evaluate during the previous day’s Aspen Art Museum visit.  Three groups of Symposium delegates were responsible for Perimeter, Facilities, Electronic Systems; Collections, Exhibits, Staffing, Training, Policies & Procedures; and Emergency Preparedness and Fire Protection. Each group began their presentation by sharing findings from the Aspen Art Museum assessment during an Exercise Hot Wash.

    At 2:00p.m. Steve Layne presented essential facts with regard to Entry Screening, including updates in technology for entry and access in varying cultural establishments. Layne’s program topics included,  “Why inspect”, “Statistical deterrents”, “What Homeland Security and other agencies consider”, “What are we looking for?”,  “Screening policies”, “Today’s current screening methods”, “Casual inspections”, “Hands on package inspections”, “Hand wand personal inspections”,
    “Intelligent threat detection” (as current vendors on site provided examples”. Steve also touched on Walk-thru X-Ray and Belt-fed X-Ray; and explained Special Events should utilize a documented matrix that includes details of each unique event. Advance planning is a must.  Steve’s presentation detailed considerations for Staff, Contractor, and Visitor Screening.  Steve covered entry screening considerations from A to Z, leaving everyone with a very on-point understanding of why, how, and when to make screening decisions.

    From 3:00p.m to 4:00p.m. participants were introduced to a Smithsonian Institution presentation on Strategic Staffing Analysis by Doug Hall, Deputy Director, Office of Protective Services.  Noteworthy items were provided, from staffing to new building research, to moving forward with security research.

    From 4:00p.m to 4:30p.m Symposium participants were provided with an IFCPP 2017 Conference team briefing by Richard Boardman, who explained in detail what is in store for next year’s big event at Yale University, September 17-20.

    The day closed with another group networking dinner at the Hickory House of Ribs where participants were delighted with smoky, glistening, and falling - off - the - bone - tender ribs, catfish, briquette, BBQ chicken, and excellent side dishes. Everyone retired for the evening smiling happy again, as if having attended a family picnic indoors.

    Wednesday August 31, 2016 was a very important day to all participants that had the opportunity to be trained and certified in MOAB (Management of Aggressive Behavior) principles. Steve Layne, IFCPP President, instructed the half-day course. This in-depth training program teaches individuals how to recognize, reduce, and manage, violent and aggressive behavior. Steve presented, and provided examples of true-to-life situations dealing violence in society, and provided strategies for preventing and diffusing aggressive behavior.  “Prepare, Listen, Communicate”!  Testing & certification wrapped up the program, and the 2 ½ day classroom portion of the Symposium. As a participant myself, I felt that this was one of the most intense and important certifications that is available to all of us involved in safety & security.  I would suggest that anyone working in security make sure to get involved with MOAB and begin the certification process. The program was enlightening as well as informative.

    Those IFCPP participants that were not participating in the training and certification of MOAB, were privileged to a tour of the Holden/ Marolt Mining & Ranch Museum.  Later in the day, the Aspen Historical Society provided a tour of the Wheeler/ Stallard Museum (historic house). Jerome B. Wheeler built this Queen Anne style home in 1888. Despite his plans, his wife Harriet Macy Valentine Wheeler refused to leave their mansion in Manitou Springs, Colorado and the family never lived here. Edgar and Mary Ella Stallard moved into the house in 1905, eventually purchasing it in 1917. The family lived here for forty years. The house last served as the residence of the Aspen Institute’s president before the Aspen Historical Society purchased it in 1969.  IFCPP Symposium participants enjoyed the collection, with its vast tales of the history of Aspen, in film, and in the collection of art and artifacts displayed. What an enjoyable tour!

    As the IFCPP conference came to a close for 2016, Symposium delegates enjoyed one last evening together at the Historic Hotel Jerome’s J Bar, where we greeted each other, said our happy goodbyes, and our joyful “see you next years”. A well executed conference and a success in advancement!

    Thank You IFCPP

    Sheldon Smith

  • September 06, 2016 6:00 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    By Jes Stewart

    [reprinted from the ASIS Cultural Properties Council August 2016 Newsletter] 

    I was honored to be invited to speak at the Smithsonian’s annual National Conference on Cultural property protection. This year’s conference was held in Washington at the Museum of Natural History and the Newseum. Both fantastic venues to be sure. There were attendees from wonderful museums from all over the United States, England, Holland and many other countries.

    I was fortunate enough to give a panel presentation with three other outstanding managers in the security field. These were Russell Collett who works with our own Tom Henkey at the Art Institute of Chicago, Jason Heberlein who is the Director of Security for the Broad in L.A. and Jeff Strong, the Directing Supervisor of Security at the BYU Museum. Each of us gave the conference participants a look at our security departments and how we successfully implemented a strong customer service aspect to our security programs. We talked about our successes and how we overcame obstacles to ensure that we had formed the best customer service oriented security departments possible.

    The presentation was very well received. I am still, at this time, receiving numerous emails and phone calls from museums in Colorado to London, England asking for direction on how to help make their security department more customer service focused.

    My hat is off to Doug Hall, Jeanne O’Toole and the rest of the Smithsonian group who put on such a magnificent conference. I learned a lot from other presentations, like one from our past council chair, Gary Miville, and made numerous new connections in the security world. Plus, how can you beat having the reception at the Library of Congress? I look forward to being back next year.

  • September 06, 2016 5:54 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    by Robert A. Carotenuto, CPP, PCI, PSP

    [reprinted from the ASIS Cultural Properties Council August 2016 Newsletter]

    Cultural Property Council members have had a busy spring!  During our monthly council calls, our council has been discussing how to meet the current active shooter and terrorist assaults that have taken so many lives and threaten the institutions that we safeguard.  Cultural properties are soft targets with limited resources.  We are some of the most visited tourist sites in the world.  My own institution, the New York Botanical Garden, saw visitation surpass one million this past fiscal year, and my former employer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, had a record attendance of over 6.7 million visitors.  Many of my colleagues on the council speak of similar surges in attendance, and so we are developing strategies to continue to protect all our new visitors, often with static, or even diminishing, resources.  Our council has undertaken the following initiatives to discuss pressing issues in our industry:

    Speaking Engagements:

    Several council members participated in the Smithsonian National Conference on Cultural Property Protection, held June 1-3 at the Smithsonian in D.C., and spearheaded by council member Douglas Hall, who moderated a session on visitor\public screening.  Gary Miville moderated a session on cultural property resources and James “Jes” Stewart was a panelist on a session entitled, “Museum Customer Service: creating a Wow Experience.” Stevan Layne led a workshop entitled, “Developing and Implementing Your Own Collections Emergency Plan.”

    Several council members spoke at the American Alliance for Museums conference held in D.C. over the Memorial Day weekend.  Stevan Layne, Mark Peterson and I spoke about how “Priceless Collections Require Specialized Security.” Mike Kirchner, Bill Powers, Chris Provan, and Mark Peterson discussed cultural property construction security concerns in their presentation entitled, “Construction 2.0: Lessons Learned in Large and Small Museums.”  Doug Hall discussed the museum security staffing survey and report performed by the Smithsonian in his session entitled, Smithsonian Strategic Staffing Analysis.”  These well-attended sessions helped to promote the work of our council and ASIS International.

    Our council is proud to have two sessions at this year’s ASIS International Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Orlando.  Andy Davis will be addressing how to combat terrorist threats on Monday, September 12th in his session entitled Protect Cultural and Hospitality Venues from Terrorist Attacks.  Andy Davis, Stevan Layne, James McGuffey, Ronald Ronacher, and I will be addressing soft target security on Tuesday, September 13th during our presentation entitled, “Strategies for Hardening Soft Targets.”  I am proud to be representing the council at the ASIS International Global Conference in Shanghai, where I will be speaking on Monday, November 14th about emergency planning in my session entitled, “Expecting the Unexpected: Creating a practical Emergency Management Plan.”


    Given space limitations, I will briefly list the documents we have in various stages of publication:

    • 1)    Houses of Worship Security Risk Analysis; approved by ASIS International and to be available August, 2016 through our council’s ASIS website.
    • 2)    Council Brochure, completed and translated into Dutch and Arabic. Working on French and Spanish translations.  We see this as an essential step in recruiting international members.
    • 3)    Fire Suppression White Paper, awaiting ASIS International review.
    • 4)    Children’s Safety in Museums (working title), council peer-review; plans to collaborate with School Safety Council
    • 5)    CRISP Report on Clunia archaeological site in Spain; in draft.
    • 6)    Armed Guard Survey and Visitor Screening Survey; several members collaborating with the Smithsonian and the IFCPP; future White Papers.

    Our council seeks to collaborate with other councils on issues of mutual importance, so please reach out to us!


    Kudos to Ibrahim Bulut, James Clark, Andy Davis, and Ricardo Sanz Marcos for all their efforts on championing our council and ASIS International.  Jim and Ricardo will be launching a risk analysis of the Clunia archaeological site in Spain later this year and this will be our first efforts in working with the ASIS International foundation, writing a CRISP Report, and expanding on the groundbreaking work by Dr. Arthur Kingsbury on archaeological site security.  Ibrahim’s articles below highlight his interactions with ICOM and ARCA, two of the international leaders in researching threats to museums and their collections.  Andy is leading the inaugural International Arts and Antiquities Forum (IAAS) at the Baltic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, November 11, 2016.  He, Ricardo Sanz Marcos and Jim McGuffey will be representing our council and speaking on operational best practices, building multilayered defenses, current threats and countermeasures for houses of worship, and operational best practices for security operations (physical and technical).

    A special thanks to Andy and Ibrahim for translating our brochure into Arabic and Dutch, respectively.  Ibrahim was also instrumental in recruiting new council member, Kaatje Claes, from G4S in Belgium.  Lastly, Andy, Ibrahim, Ricardo and I are currently working on session submittals for the ASIS International Global Conference in Milan, March, 2107.

    New Members

    Joining our active team are Daniel Munoz, Hammer Museum; Clint Wynne, Security Concepts, Inc.; Jaime Juarez, Cleveland Museum; and Kaatje Claes, G4S, Belgium.

  • September 06, 2016 5:50 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    By Daniel Munoz

    [reprinted from the ASIS Cultural Properties Council August 2016 Newsletter]

    The Hammer Museum opened to the public in November 1990. Founded by Dr. Armand Hammer, former Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, the Museum was built adjacent to the Corporation’s international headquarters in Westwood. The Museum features galleries from Dr. Hammer’s collections — old master paintings and drawings, and a collection of works on paper by Honore Daumier and his contemporaries — as well as galleries for traveling exhibitions, mostly contemporary art.  Dr. Hammer passed away in December 1990, three weeks after the opening of the Museum.

    In 1992, the Museum began negotiating with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to assume management and operations and in April 1994, the partnership with UCLA was finalized. Today, the Museum is one of three public arts units of the School Arts and Architecture at UCLA. It is located on the South side of the University campus, on the corner of the Wilshire and Westwood Blvd.

    In 2014 the Museum decided to waive its admission fee, and reiterated its commitment to its mission statement – “The Hammer Museum at UCLA believes in the promise of art and ideas to illuminate our lives and build a more just world”. Today, all Hammer exhibitions and programs (over 300 public programs a year) are free to the public.

    I joined the Hammer on January 2012. Before that I worked at AEG and had the opportunity to work at the Staples Center, LA LIVE and Grammy Museum in a number of security roles. At the GRAMMY Museum I was hired to create its Security department before it opened to the public in December 2008. Prior to my tenure at AEG I worked as a Security Professional in a five star Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles for 11 years.

    My time here at the Hammer has been filled with excitement. The Hammer is always busy. On any given day, the Museum is full of visitors enjoying our galleries, attending an evening program, relaxing in our courtyard, or having a meal at our Café. Even with our upcoming gallery renovation project, which will last approximately 3 ½ months, the Museum will have some art on display in addition to numerous programs available for visitors, from film screenings to performance art. 

    The Hammer has a proprietary security department. Security operates 24/7 and is responsible for the operations of its Security Operations Center (SOC). In addition, they are the first responders for all types of emergencies, and patrol the property throughout the day and night. The gallery staff is composed primarily of UCLA students and they report to the Visitor Experience department. Before 2014, the gallery staff, still composed primarily of UCLA students, reported to Security. Many lessons were learned during this transition and now the two departments work seamlessly well together to protect both visitors and the art. The Museum also uses a contract security company to help cover non-security essential posts during high impact events. Because we are a University Museum we work closely with UCPD and benefit from their proximity.

    Currently, we are working on the final phase of our Security Operations Center renovation project, continually evolving our emergency preparedness policies, and preparing for this summer’s rolling blackouts. Our upcoming galleries renovation project is slated to start this fall and that will bring new challenges. In addition, and with the help of other local Museum Security Directors, I’m working on reinstating our Museum’s Security Director’s Round Table meetings. I strongly believe in and encourage sharing information to help others, and have benefitted from learning about other museum’s systems, procedures and security structures, and of which I have incorporated into our operations at the Hammer. 

  • September 06, 2016 5:21 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    by Ibrahim Bulut

    [reprinted from ASIS Cultural Properties Council August 2016 Newsletter]

    Summary of the 2016 Amelia Conference

    The Association for Research into Crimes against Art is a research and outreach organisation working to promote the study and research of art crime and cultural heritage protection.  One of the ways this is done is by identifying emerging and under-examined trends related to various types of art crime and in doing so work to highlight developing strategies that advocate for the responsible stewardship of our collective artistic and archaeological heritage.  In furtherance of that, each year ARCA hosts a weekend summer art crime conference in Italy, where allied professionals, academic scholars, and students across interdisciplinary fields convene within the old walls of the quiet Umbrian town of Amelia, for what has come to be known as the Amelia Conference. 

    This year's event was held June 24-26, 2016. 

    As with previous years, the objective of the conference was to share perspectives and approaches working to abate art crime and illicit cultural property trafficking internationally, while facilitating an atmosphere of communication and collaboration between professionals working in the sector in order to share new and emerging approaches. The conference takes place mid-way through ARCA’s ten-course Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection which in turn gives the Association's postgraduate students the opportunity to meet and speak with experts from all over the world while exchanging news, ideas and experiences.

    The following recap will provide a brief summary of the speakers’ messages in brief.

    Alesia Koush, an art historian with Heritage Community Life Beyond Tourism® created by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation®, which has been operating for over twenty years for intercultural dialogue and peaceful coexistence in the world, gave the opening address.

    Koush's research focuses on the protection of cultural heritage and she serves on the foundation’s international board of experts. In the framework of these activities, she conceived and coordinated two editions of the international workshop “Value Education for Culture, Peace and Human Development” – a theme representing the result of her multi-annual research, which she continues to develop participating at international conferences and publishing articles.

    In Kouch's presentation “Without culture, there is no peace” she stressed that more recognition and legal protections for our shared, inalienable human right to culture are necessary. She reminded the audience of the teachings of Russian artist, Professor Nicholas Roerich and philosopher Swami Vivekananda who both stressed the need for protection of cultural values, stressing cultural education as a a critical component of teaching society of the necessity of preserving universal human values.

    After the opening address, Saturday's first panel elaborated on the current climate of civil, national, and international law as it relates to cultural heritage protection.
    Dr. Saskia Hufnagel, co-director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of Londondiscussed the restitution of cultural heritage objects within the German context, pointing out that criminal prosecution can often be faster than civil restitution.

    Ivett Paulovics and Pierfrancesco C. Fasano, Milan-based Attorneys-at-Law from FASANO Avvocati, noted the initial shortcomings and subsequent changes in the EU legal framework for unlawfully removed cultural objects and the important changes brought about by EU Directive 2014/60, involving a shift in the burden of proof onto the possessor of the object.
    Silvia Beltrametti of the University of Chicago Law School presented her study on the impact of court convictions of antiquities dealers on pricing and provenance of ancient artifacts at auction. Her analyses concluded that international treaties and legal threats correlate to a greater market demand for items with clearer and demonstrable provenance. The relationship was clearly exemplified by spikes in the price of classical and Egyptian objects accompanied by better documentation of the collecting history corresponding with the timing of high-profile prosecutions, like that of Fredrick Schultz and Giacomo Medici.

    The second morning panel consisted of European and Antipodean perspectives on art and heritage crime and the trafficking of culture within the former Yugoslavia, the Balkans, and Australia.

    Helen Walasek, author of Bosnia and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage, formerly worked with the Bosnian Institute in London and Bosnia-Herzegovina Heritage Rescue (BHHR). Walasek brought insight into the destruction and damage of cultural buildings of significance in the region and the functioning dutiesof the  International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The judgments represented a growth in humanitarian pressure and response to inflict penalties on perpetrators of cultural heritage destruction that willfully inflicted harm on the morale and history with no military necessity. Walasek underlined the importance of recognizing that damages to culturally significant property reach not only those near affected areas, but also the entirety of mankind.

    Elena Sciandra, a Ph.D. student in International Studies at the University of Trento School of International Studies with a M.Sc. in Criminal Justice Policy, shared her findings on illicit antiquities trafficking occurring in the Balkan region. Sciandra called for greater research dedicated to transit countries involved in trafficking activities.
    Kenneth Polk and Duncan Chappell examined and presented contemporary developments in the Antipodean art world. Dr. Polk is a retired Professor of Criminology at the University of Melbourne and continues to serve as a researcher on such topics as art theft, art fraud, and the illicit traffic in antiquities.  He also has been recently appointed by the Australian Government to the National Cultural Heritage Committee. Dr. Chappell is a lawyer and criminologist, currently teaching as a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney, and as a Conjoint Professor in the School of Psychiatry at the University of NSW. He is also the Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence in Policing and Security and ARCA's Art and Cultural Heritage Law professor for the Postgraduate Certificate Program. Together Polk and Chappell noted that typical trafficking portals in their region include Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore and both cited multiple cases and legal instruments, including the “Head of Man” sold by Subhash Kapoor and the Australian 1986 Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act’s Section 14 on Unlawful Imports.

    Saturday's first afternoon panel highlighted the current state of endangered antiquities from Mesopotamia to South Arabia via the Levant. Chaired by ARCA 2015 Alumni, Samer ABDEL GHAFOUR, the founder of the ArchaeologyIN – Archaeology Information Network, the panel focused on best practices and the positive impact of community-focused development projects in the protection of cultural heritage in politically strained regions.   Mr. Abdel Ghafour also introduced ARCA's three 2016 Minerva Scholarship students for this year's postgraduate program:  Zuhoor Khalid Ali Al-Ansi, from Yemen, Ahmed Fatima Kzzo, from Syria and Ameer Doshee Jasim from Iraq. All three students have been sponsored by individuals and organisations who want to promote the study of art crime among the professional community actively working within conflict zones. The Minerva scholarship is set aside to equip scholars with the knowledge and tools needed to build the capacity to address heritage crimes successfully when they return to their home institutions and to advance this training within their respective regions. 

    Carla Benelli, a 2015 ARCA alumna and Osama Hamdan described the politicized use of archaeology for territorial control in occupied Palestinian territories as well as the current state of poor management and neglect of archaeological sites in that region. Carla Benelli, is the Cultural Heritage Project Manager at the Associazione pro Terra Sancta (Custody of the Holy Land) at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. Osama Hamdan is the Director of the Palestinian NGO Mosaic Centre and a Lecturer at the Higher Institute of Islamic Archaeology at Al-Quds University in Palestine. Both speakers encouraged greater investment in people within the region, facilitated by an improved education system and government strategy.  

    As a Research Fellow at the University of Pisa, Costanza Odierna shed light on the widespread destruction of archaeological heritage at risk in Yemen and the University of Pisa’s related projects in support of Yemeni museums, including the Damār Museum and Zngibar Museum. Odierna introduced the digital archive her team has created, known as the Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions (DASI), to act as a resource for study and preservation. 

    Next, Professors Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati spoke of their experiences at Tell Mozan (Arabic: تل موزان‎‎, ancient Urkesh; Hasakah Governorate, Syria), in modern-day Northern Syria.  Nearly 20 years ago, the pair and their team identified the fourth millennium BCE tell located in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains in Al-Hasakah Governorate and have been working on the site through 17 seasons of excavations. 

    Dr. Giorgio Buccellati is the Founding Director of the International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies - IIMAS and a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati serves as the Director of Excavations at the ancient city of Urkesh and is a faculty member at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

    Together, the Buccellati's offered practical and cost-effective solutions which they have used to harness vital community-based social-cultural infrastructures as a means of preventing site damage and the looting of their archaeological site. Their long-term project in Syria, located just 60 kilometers (37 miles) from ISIS-controlled territory, has been successfully maintained and protected despite its at-risk proximity to conflict zones in a large part because local staff are instilled with an intense loyalty to the heritage of the region and to the scientists and scientific work being conducted at Tell Mozan over the last decades.

    The Buccellati's efforts to harness the cooperation of local people, who now serve as guardians of the Tell Mozan site, are documented in a report titled "In the Eye of the Storm," This report details how a plan to protect Urkesh from crumbling has inadvertantly served as a model for protecting the heritage site during and in spite of Syria's long-standing armed conflict.  

    The Buccellati's challenged the audience, asking: “How can we expect stakeholders to protect the sites if we do not?”

    The afternoon’s second panel discussion focused on characterizing and anticipating the trafficking of culture in and from zones of conflict.

    Dr. Samuel Andrew Hardy, a specialist researching the illicit antiquities trade and the destruction of community and cultural property for various organizations including UNESCO is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program in Sustainable Cultural Heritage at the American University of Rome.  Hardy spoke on his work “The Importance of Being Diligent” and existing trends in present-day conflict antiquities looting.

    Andrew Scott DeJesse, Lieutenant Colonel and Cultural Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army, provided an overview of his work on the Collective Heritage Lab. The innovative social laboratory is being developed to track the antiquities trade and disrupt the connections between the demands of the legal antiquities market, the grey market, and the illicit trafficking of stolen artifacts.

    Britta M. Redwood, J.D. candidate at Yale University, discussed museum and collector liability under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. Redwood shared perspectives on several recent cases, including Linde et al. v. Arab Bank in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project in the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The second day of the conference began with a morning panel focused on cases of art crime occurring in Italy, offering insight into the challenges of repatriation as well as how successful joint mediation efforts can be useful in developing collaborative relationships which facilitate repatriation. 

    Serena Raffiotta, Archaeologist, shared the story of a blue curl that her team discovered in Morgantina, Sicily. Through her relationship with the J. Paul Getty Museum, she found that this small piece was, in fact, a perfect puzzle fit to the iconic terracotta head of Hades within the institution’s collection at the time. The Hades sculpture has since been returned to Morgantina. Stefano Alessandrini, Archaeologist and Consultant for L’Avvocatura dello Stato, Italia, brought his perspective from his efforts to repatriate illicitly trafficked works of art home to Italy.

    Virginia Curry, retired FBI Special Agent and Doctoral Candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas, shed light on the long-standing history of unethical collecting methods among some collectors of ancient art. Curry told the story of Piermatteo d’Amelia’s “Annunciation”, originally from the altar of a Franciscan church located just outside the city of Amelia, not far from the Boccarini cloister where the conference was held. By examining letters between Isabella Stewart Gardner and Bernard Berenson which highlight a long succession of business transactions between Berenson and Gardner in the purchasing of art works Ms. Curry highlighted that the Boston-based collector had more than passing knowledge in the illicit nature of the stolen “Annunciation” which ultimately ended up in her private collection. 

    Sunday's second group of morning panelists spoke about fakes, forgeries, and the illicit trafficking of rhino horns infiltrating the market.

    James Ratcliffe, General Counsel and Director of Recoveries at The Art Loss Register, spoke about fakes and forgeries circulating in the market, as witnessed by his firm. The Art Loss Register is one of  largest private database of lost and stolen art, antiques, and collectables. Their services include item registration, search and recovery services to collectors, the art trade, insurers, and worldwide law enforcement agencies. Some of the items Ratcliff covered were the corruption and manufacturing of false provenance, the use of provenance to legitimise forgeries and the difficulties that arise from the fact that so few people have any interest in revealing forgeries which results in the recycling of fakes and forgeries in the market.

    Dr. Annette Hübschle-Finch, Senior Research Advisor at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, shared her studies on the market and the grey zone of regulation for rhino horns. Hübschle-Finch underscored that South Africa continues to allow recreational hunting of rhino horns for hunters with permits, resulting in abuse as well as regulatory challenges. The last speaker was Allen Olson-Urtecho, an art adjuster, investigator, and principal at Fine Arts Adjusters LLC as well as a Ph.D. student at IDSVA.  Olson-Urtecho  introduced his team’s Fine Art Forensics Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and stressed the importance of disseminating knowledge to wider audiences to curb the proliferation of fakes and forgeries within the marketplace.

    In the afternoon, perspectives of art crime were shared by public sector law enforcement officers as well as private investigators.

    Jordan Arnold, Senior Managing Director at K2 Intelligence, shared insight into the Panama Papers that were leaked from the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca and its impact on future regulation targeting the art market. Arnold spoke about the regulatory functions of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the responsibility of banks and financial institutions to monitor accounts for suspicious activity under the U.S. Patriot Act. 

    Fons van Gessel, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Security and Justice in the Netherlands, and Martin Finkelnberg, Head of the Art and Antiquities Crime Unit in the National Criminal Intelligence Division of the National Police of the Netherlands, shared findings from the 3rd meeting of the EU CULTNET held in the Hague on 25 May 2016. The EU CULTNET is the informal network of law enforcement authorities and experts in the field of cultural goods. van Gessel and Finkelnberg stressed the need for cooperation and the exchange of information and best practices.

    Michael Will, Manager of the Organized Crime Networks Group and Focal Point Furtum at
    EUROPOL, provided an overview of EUROPOL's and Europe's involvement in the fight against cultural goods trafficking. Gonzalo Giordano, General Secretariat and Sub-Directorate of the Drugs and Organized Crime in Works of Art unit at INTERPOL, discussed initiatives and methods at INTERPOL’s Works of Art unit utilised in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property.

    The final conference panel dealt with cultural heritage risk management approaches to effectively balance the accessibility with the protection of collections.

    Judit Kata Virág, Registrar at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, called for greater stewardship and cooperation between museum professionals and law enforcement agencies in the fight against art trafficking. Dick Drent, Associate Director of SoSecure, Toby Bull, Founder of TrackArt, and Ibrahim Bulut, Business Development Manager at Meyvaert Glass Engineering, reminded the audience that in the security profession there are two basic approaches used to deal with security vulnerabilities: reactive and proactive.  Reactive approaches are those procedures that museums use once they discover that their facility has been compromised by an intruder or attack. Proactive approaches include all measures that are taken with the goal of preventing risks before they occur compromising security.   Speaking candidly with the attendees the panalists underscored that security doesn’t begin with the detection of a compromised situation resulting in a theft or damage to an art work, but with an advanced plan to minimize risk that includes many factors customized to the needs of each individual facility. The speakers on the panel pushed for change from reactive measures and fostering mew approaches which take into consideration proactive measures within the security sector, facilitated by security intelligence coupled with smarter techniques and more security focused construction.

  • August 24, 2016 3:48 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    By Stevan Layne

    We have been overwhelmed by recent events, most of which involve an individual (sometimes more than one) acting independently to shoot and kill people they don't know. Several targets have been uniformed police officers. Other targets have been random...firing into crowds...driving a truck into crowds.   The results are the same whether targets are planned or random.   Any place where people gather is a potential target including small museums, libraries, historic sites, or anyplace open to the public.

    There's no need to be looking for someone who has been "radicalized."   These kinds of acts have been committed by individuals in society who may be influenced by drugs, alcohol, mental unbalance, or religious fervor.   They have taken place for a long time, and they're not about to stop.   If assault rifles aren't available, there are plenty of other weapons to choose from.   It appears that these events are on the increase, perhaps because our media coverage is more detailed and more frequent. There are some who feel that the media is often responsible for encouraging tragic events by giving these individuals the opportunity to have a larger audience.

    If you want to avoid any possibility of exposure to a violent act, stay home, barricade your doors and driveway, board up your windows, and stockpile food and water. Certainly not practical, nor desirable. A more reasonable approach is to make everyone you work with aware of the potential threats and encourage their reporting even rumors of someone with a threatening attitude.   We need to thoroughly screen all regular staff, part-time staff, volunteers, and even contractors.   Criminal histories are the first step.   Don't hesitate to ask about someone's thoughts on the current state of affairs, especially acts of terror. Terrorists are NOT a protected group and you don't have to worry about discriminating against them. Someone who appears to admire violent acts, has access to weapons or seems exceptionally involved with weapons needs to be identified and dealt with in an appropriate manner.   This may include reporting to law enforcement, direct confrontation, or even termination of employment and barring from the property.

    Secure your building and its perimeter.   No one should have the ability to enter your facilities without your direct observation or electronic access, preferably both. Package inspection for both staff and visitors is essential. No one wants to change their lifestyle by staying away from public events.   However, a realistic attitude is to use caution and to always look for escape routes from any building, including retail outlets, movie theaters and other public buildings. Do something to give the appearance that your property is secure and the staff alert. Be visible. When sponsoring a special event, assure that security staff or hired police officers are available and alert to threats. Is all of this necessary?   Only when it's necessary.   You may have operated in a vacuum, safe from any threats for your entire history. That has nothing to do with avoiding attacks in the future.   Perpetrators can come from any location, any level of society, any race or religion.   Be suspicious. Be prepared. These comments and recommendations are opinionated, harsh, and may seem unrealistic. They are shared, however, by most of my peers, the experienced law enforcement agencies. Be safe!   Don't hesitate to contact us for additional information.

  • August 14, 2016 1:30 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    Within one week in 2008, the British Museum and the Musée d’Orsay were exposed as horrifically under-secure. In a harmless but embarrassing incident at The British Museum, a political activist managed to place message-scrawled surgical masks on several of the Terracotta Warriors on loan from China. The high-tech alarms, which used software to draw an imaginary barrier around the warrior statues that, if crossed, would sound an alert, never went off. A museum-goer had to fetch a guard, to inform him of the vandalism taking place.

    At the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, drunken vandals broke in and punched a hole in a Monet, before escaping. They did set off an alarm, but guards did not respond in time to stop them. If a practical joke and an unpremeditated drunken attack are so easily accomplished, what’s to stop adept criminals from stealing from the world’s most prominent museums? These are just a few of the countless examples of successful art heists or attacks in major museums, and each one means that some element of security has failed.

    Art crime is among the highest-grossing criminal enterprises worldwide.

    Art crime needs to be curbed, but few realize the severity of it. Art crime is among the highest-grossing criminal enterprises worldwide. Since the 1960s, most art crime has been perpetrated by, or on behalf of, international organized crime syndicates. It funds all of the other criminal activities in which these syndicates are involved: from the drug and arms trades to terrorism. Governments, who tend to dismiss art crime as involving only the unimportant trifles of the wealthy, need to be shaken out of their torpor. Governments talk a good game about dyking terrorist funding sources, but have only over the last year or so stepped up to do anything about antiquities looting, which provides millions of dollars per year to organized crime and terrorist organizations.

    Ibrahim Bulut knows all about security, particularly when it comes to art. He works as a specialist for the Belgian Meyvaert company, which makes showcases to display art. This may seem like a highly-specific thing to focus on, but their display cases hold works of art that can be worth millions. And because they make bespoke cases, they can be fitted with all manner of hi-tech gadgetry, an array of alarm options, and glass strengthened to withstand attacks from hammers, firearms, even flame-throwers. His firm has worked with the world’s leading museums, but their most unusual project is at the forthcoming Louvre Abu Dhabi.

    “Securing art is an art in itself,” Bulut says. “Protecting high-value artifacts needs special measures, and this can be done in a wide variety of ways, from electronic security systems to high security glazing. High security showcases are a key component to protecting priceless objects, an important complement to organizational measures.” Museums have never been so technologically, and expensively, protected. And yet, theft from museums is on the rise. Why this discrepancy? The answer becomes evident when we examine the time of day at which thieves strike. Museums are secured like fortresses during their hours of closure. Their Achilles heel is the time when they are open to the public. Thieves are choosing not to circumvent elaborate alarm-based defenses, but rather burst right through them in short, violent “blitz” thefts. Alarms are only effective if they prompt a timely and useful response from human guards or police. If the response is as inept as in the aforementioned examples, then the alarm is rendered ineffective.

    Bulut continues, “An effective security and safety policy invests in people, who are the strongest link in your security chain. Technology is at its best when it is managed by well-trained staff. Security awareness and basic knowledge of the installed security systems is a must for every cultural institution.”

    Of late, two fields of thought have risen in the world of museum security. On the one hand, we have a primarily American response to museum security, both in geography and in mentality. Most American museum directors, fueled by insurers, insist that their security departments provide a zero-risk environment. This is, of course, an impossibility, when the charge of museums is to present their collections to the public. But the assumption accompanying this demand is that the more money spent, and the higher-tech the security systems, the better protected the art.

    In Europe, by contrast, many of the leading security specialists, like Dick Drent of the Amsterdam-based firm SoSecure, have made the simple but important point that there is risk inherent in displaying art to the public. That risk should be acknowledged, in order to better

    be contained. The extension of this newer rationale is the further observation that higher-tech does not necessarily mean more secure, and that one universal security system for an entire museum runs the risk of turning into a Maginot Line. In the 2008 case of the Musée d’Orsay, as with the famous “blitz style” 2004 Munch Museum theft in Oslo, criminals chose Alexander’s approach to the Gordian knot—when confronted with a complex defense system, simply slice right through it, and act before defenders can react. But in this instance, as in most museum thefts, the success may be attributed not to the consumate skill of the thieves, but to the frustrating failure of the guards to respond effectively.

    Human guards have always been the least reliable line of defense in museum security. We need only remember the theft of Benvenuto Cellini’s Saliera from the Kunsthistorichesmuseum in Vienna. An allegedly drunken man scaled a scaffold alongside the museum and smashed a window to gain entrance, setting off an alarm. The museum guards, assuming it to be a false alarm, turned it off and resumed their naps and nocturnal entertainments. Now inside the museum, the intruder smashed a glass vitrine containing Cellini’s gold and silver salt cellar, one of the finest works of 16th century Italy and perhaps the world’s most famous creation of goldsmithery. The shattering set off a second alarm. Now highly annoyed by two disturbances in the same evening, the guards switched off the alarm a second time. The intruder, Robert Mang, left the way he came. It was after many fruitless inquiries and months later that Mr Mang turned himself in, and led police to the unharmed Saliera, buried in a box in the woods outside of Vienna. What is the lesson here? For most museum guards, the duration of their career will see only a handful of alarm incidents, most or all false. The most exciting endeavor for a majority of museum guards is to prevent six-year-olds from licking a Degas. The natural human assumption is to switch oneself off. Good security directors train and maintain a readiness among their staff to combat the ever- growing enterprise of art crime. If you see a museum guard catching up on a good novel or doing a crossword puzzle on duty, if you see a guard seated, staring off into space, or finishing a difficult Sudoku, do the civilized world a favor. Give that guard a piece of your mind for slacking on the job, and then write a letter to the museum director. Keep in mind that the painting that they allow to be stolen is being used as collateral in a deal for drugs or arms, or is funding a terrorist attack. Whether or not you are an art lover, unless you are a fan of drug and arms dealers and terrorists, you want art to be protected.

    Human guards must be trained and maintained in an effective manner. It is ludicrous to spend millions on high-tech security systems, if one’s guards won’t know how to respond when they are needed. The best security directors, with budgets large and small, distinguish themselves by how they train their guards.

    “There is no such thing as water-tight security,” Bulut warns, “but effective security measures can prevent a great deal of crime, and certainly a great deal of loss. Security must have a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A must focus on deterring and delaying a crime. Plan B must focus on detection, further delaying, alarming, assessing the alarm and an adequate response. An adequate response means interrupting the adversary before loss or damage to the artifact.”

    Human guards providing an adequate response is crucial. All the hi-tech gizmos money can buy are ineffective if they are not accompanied by an adequate response. Museums need to re-evaluate the role and training of their guards. If not, lupine art thieves will have the run of the hen-house, and even the most sophisticated alarm systems will be nothing more than sound and fury—a soundtrack echoing through the empty halls of the world’s museums.

    To learn more about art crime, visit You can study art crime on the ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art) Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, which runs every summer in Italy.

  • August 03, 2016 6:22 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    Congratulations to IFCPP Sargent at Arms and regular instructor, William J. Powers III, CIPM II, CIPI, for completion of a Masters degree in Administration of Justice and Security/Global Homeland Security from the University of Phoenix.  Mr. Powers is proud to report that, “This degree program included excellent classes that were of value to those working in Law Enforcement and Private Security alike. Because I am active in both fields, the program was very interesting on multiple fronts.  

    One highlight of the program included how government agencies function and budget for those of us who are not currently serving in government positions.  Also, the course included varying lessons on Emergency Management and how EM functions at Local, State, and Federal levels. A common theme in all classes was the various changes in security after the 9-11 attacks.  Courses revealed that the restructuring of U.S. Department of Homeland Security after 9-11 failed during the first major incident in New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina).  The most frustrating, ever-present theme that appeared throughout the program was the lack of communication amongst all emergency agencies, despite the major improvements that have taken place. Lastly, courses revealed how fragile our critical infrastructures in America really are.

    I applied for and was chosen for a Scholarship to enroll in the program through ASIS. The degree took me 20 months and 30 hours a week to complete, with two summer breaks of less than 89 days (because I continued to work summer weekends in Law Enforcement). It was a great experience, and the classes were very current, timely, and interesting.”

  • July 19, 2016 7:09 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    By Peggy Schaller
    [reprinted from the Northern States Conservation Center Collections Caretaker eNewsletter - July 2016]

    In order to provide interesting and educational exhibits for your visitors and protect your collections and visitors, consider the following elements when planning and executing your exhibitions:

    Exhibit furniture

    Use exhibit furniture and materials that are safe for your collection items. Traditional wooden exhibit cases, particularly oak, are generally used in museums because they look nice. However, without being properly sealed these cases can actually be harmful to the objects you display in them. Wood gives off harmful acidic gasses that can increase the aging properties of many collection materials and oak is the worst of all. Be sure to place a protective barrier between your objects and the wooden floor of the case. Use a barrier material that will block the migration of the acids from the wood such as Polyester sheeting, Marvelseal, or aluminum foil. The wood can also be sealed using a moisture-cured polyurethane or latex paint, but these products must be allowed to dry completely and finish curing before artifacts are placed in the case. This process may take up to 3 to 4 weeks. Better choices for exhibition cases are powder-coated metal and glass cases or sealed wood bases with Plexiglas vitrines. Fabrics used in exhibition cases should be inert and un-dyed: polyester, cotton, linen, or a polyester-cotton blend. If you must use a colored fabric for esthetic reasons, test it for color fastness before using it. You do not want your exhibit fabric to bleed onto your objects if the humidity rises or there is a water incident. Artifact mounts should be made of safe materials and should properly support your objects. Mounts should be padded so as not to scratch or rub your objects. Metal mounts can scratch and corrosion can stain objects if they are not protected by polyester, polypropylene, or polyethylene tubing or other inert padding. Plexiglas can be used for mounts; be sure the cut edges are polished so they are no longer rough. Fabric or Tyvek covered polyethylene foam blocks or Backer rods can be fashioned into mounts for storage and exhibition.

    Case Lighting

    In-case lighting can raise the ambient temperature inside the case and lower the relative humidity such that your artifacts are affected to their detriment. Close-in lighting like this can also increase fading of artifacts like textiles and paper-based items. Florescent lighting must be filtered, inside or outside of the cases and incandescent lighting is extremely hot. Fiber optic lighting can be safely used inside a case as the heat source is away from the end of the light tube; however, the nearness and intensity of the light can still increase fading. Outside-the-case lighting is a better option if possible, but remember to filter for UV and limit the length and intensity of the exposure for optimal collection care. LED lights are now available for museum applications and can be a good choice.

    Traffic Patterns

    Plan an open traffic pattern for your exhibits. Make sure that there is enough room in the gallery for visitors to comfortably navigate around the exhibits and cases. Refer to the Americans with Disabilities Act for the proper path width so that disabled visitors in wheelchairs can negotiate your galleries. Always plan with ADA compliance in mind and make sure the exhibition cases are not too tall for children and people in wheelchairs; that wall cases and other design elements are not hazards for blind or limited vision visitors; and that your labels are readable by all visitors in terms of mounting height, print size; color combinations and location. Making the space around your cases wide enough to comply with ADA regulations will not only make the exhibit more enjoyable for all your visitors, it will make it less likely that the cases will be accidentally bumped because of close quarters. Bumped cases can cause artifact damage.

    Security for exhibition galleries

    Exhibit security is a very important element of any exhibition. Your exhibit cases must have good locks that are not easy to open. Alarmed cases are better if you have the funds to manage it. Open exhibits should be monitored closely and/or have perimeter alarms to alert staff when visitors get too close or attempt to remove items from the exhibit. They should also have a barrier to keep visitors from entering the area--stanchions are good; Plexiglas or other solid barriers are better. You might be surprised what visitors will do even when there is a barrier blocking their way! Watch out for the parent who lifts their child over the barrier to pet the buffalo, Mountain lion (big kitty) or touch an artifact! This is not only detrimental to the artifact, but can be dangerous for the child (ex. arsenic in animal mounts). Beyond the physical security of barriers, locks and alarms, and cameras, there is a simple and effective way of keeping your exhibition galleries safe. Even if you do not have the funds to have a full time security staff, your regular staff can take 'walkabouts' at irregular intervals around the galleries to survey what is happening. Walk around the museum and engage your visitors by asking if they are enjoying themselves and ask if they have any questions. An engaged and happy visitor is less likely to mess about with your collection than a visitor who thinks no one is watching.

    Reprinted from Collections Research News Winter 2012-2013 from Collections Research for Museums.

    More about Safe and Secure Exhibition Practices can be found in the following courses offered by Northern States Conservation Center's

    MS 107: Introduction to Museum Security, August 1 to 26, 2016

    Instructor: Stevan Layne

    MS 233: Matting and Framing, August 1 to 26, 2016

    Instructor: Tom Bennett

    MS 204: Materials for Storage and Display,September 5 to 30, 2016

    Instructor:  Helen Alten

    Also check out our other upcoming courses below or at

    Peggy Schaller founded Collections Research for Museums in 1991 to provide cataloging, collection-management training and services. She has worked with a large variety of museums and collections for more than 20 years. She teaches several courses for MS103 The Basics of Museum Registration; MS207 Collections Management: Cataloging your Collection; MS267 Museum Ethics; MS218 Collection Inventories and MS007 The Museum Mission Statement: Is it Really That Important? 

  • July 11, 2016 3:46 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    Since its launch just a few short days ago, Pokémon Go has created quite a stir. Not only is it one of, if not the fastest, downloaded games in app history, which is a success for its creators, it has created a lot of discussion throughout the business world regarding access. As one of the properties where the characters reside, we have seen a 200% increase in activity on our trails after dark since the games release. During the day, people of all ages have been seen standing in the middle of bushes “acting odd” and unfortunately, walking through flower beds and areas cultivated specifically to attract butterflies. While these few behaviors outside might be considered exciting by some, as they are bringing people to the property, our landscape and maintenance teams do not have the same feeling on the subject.

    Thankfully we haven’t had anyone fall into a ravine, or walk off into one of the ponds, which has occurred elsewhere in the three countries where the game has first been released. We have experienced people walking into walls and almost falling down interior stairs (head down looking at their phone) including adults, not just kids, as one might expect - grownups running through the galleries trying to beat a friend to the next location.

    I’m not against anyone having fun, or the developers of these games from making money, this is America and free enterprise builds our economy.  My concern is that with every good thing there are those who will utilize it for evil. Not just trampled flowerbeds, but true criminal and even terroristic activity.

    What do I mean? We have spent decades training security personnel to patrol and observe by exception (i.e. if it looks out of place than it most likely is and should be addressed). I spent a full day just last week with Homeland Security looking at their new training program regarding workplace violence and active shooter. Guess what, one of the key aspects noted was to train staff to be aware of “odd” behavior and report it. The standard “See Something, Say Something” approach. How does this fit into the behaviors associated with AR Games?  Do I have my exterior officers approach everyone standing off in the grass, or in the bushes making hand gestures on their phone?

    This activity is also quite distressing from a surveillance awareness standpoint. Are they here acting strange because they are looking for Pokémon, or are they just pretending so they can surveil the exterior aspects of my facility, how many staff are scheduled, etc. One key aspect of training staff to be aware of this type of surveillance is the frequency with which the person is seen. With the advent of the AR Games, seeing the same person on the property becomes a common issue. I’ve been able to determine that we have over 30 of the Pokémon characters located on our property. It will not be uncommon for my exterior team and interior security staff for that matter to see the same faces multiple days while they try and “capture” them all. As we do not charge admission to access our general galleries, it makes it easy for them to return time and time again. Phone in hand walking all around, stopping in front of doors and hallways. This type of behavior would have been deemed very suspicious and addressed prior to the games release. Now it will become common behavior and staff may simply ignore the activity.

    To take this a step further, let’s say you’re responsible for critical infrastructure, such as a security director for a power plant. One of these characters is placed just outside your gate. The first few times someone comes up and attempts to “capture” it.  Your officers ask them politely to leave, but they argue with your staff concerning the game, etc. Human nature being what it is, after the 150th person comes up to the gate to “play the game”, the officers have now become so accustomed to this behavior it isn’t considered “odd” any longer. Who from that group of 150 was playing the game and who was checking out your security, access points etc.? It’s impossible to tell.

    Let’s move to the mall, people walking all around with phone in hand looking to “capture” Pokémon. Seams innocent enough, after all it’s just a game isn’t it? How about the one person, or team of people “playing the game” who are actually surveying the scene and activities of others as they plan their criminal enterprise.    

    If I were planning to rob a bank, I would place a Pokémon character right inside near the counter, so I could check on the daily routine of everyone inside. Yes, that’s possible once you have gained a high enough level within the game, you can place them where you wish, not to mention the hackers who have already demonstrated they can access the game for their own personal reward.

    This is just the first of many AR type games that we will see in the coming years. As long as they are profitable for the creators, we will continue to deal with the issues associated with them.

    Let’s keep the discussion going, stay open minded, and share ideas regarding training, observational skills, and ways in which we can provide safe environments for staff and guests, while meeting the security needs of the same.

    Geoff Goodrich
    Director of Protection Services
    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
    Bentonville, Arkansas


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