Security Firms Stand To Profit In Wake Of Boston Marathon Bombings

Less than a day after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Paul Stapleton's business had already doubled.

Stapleton is the corporate director of the New York-based Stapleton Group, which provides bomb-sniffing dogs. Since the explosions in Boston, he has fielded calls from three sporting arenas and some Wall Street firms asking for his explosive-detection canine teams to provide stepped-up security.

"Just about every one of our resources has been deployed since the Boston incident," Stapleton told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. "We've grown 100 percent since yesterday. There's been no downtime."

As the country recovers from the bombings in Boston, companies that offer security services are anticipating a surge in demand. Businesses that provide building guards, explosive detection and security advice all stand to profit from heightened fears caused by the latest round of attacks on American soil.

"It does present a level of opportunity to people like us in this type of business," said James McGinty, vice president of development at Covenant Security Service, a Philadelphia-based company that trains security guards.

The demand for private security services -- from airport scanners to protection plans against chemical and biological attacks -- soared after the Sept. 11 attacks. Since 2003, the Department of Homeland Security has given more than $30 billion to state and local governments to spend on security and counter-terrorism.

According to Global Information Inc., which provides market research on the global security industry, the private security industry is projected to increase 5 percent annually, to $63.8 billion in 2016. It could grow even faster after the attacks in Boston, according to Robert H. Silbering, special adviser to the chairman at T&M Protection Resources, which sells security technologies to companies.

"I look at this as similar to 9/11," Silbering said. "Everyone is gearing up and is on heightened alert."

After terrorist attacks, Jon Lenzner said he often gets calls from individuals concerned about traveling overseas. But the longer-term opportunities for security companies lie with banks and universities "that have a large physical footprint of assets in multiple cities or countries," said Lenzner, executive vice president of The Investigative Group, a security consulting firm.

He added that businesses hosting large events in coming days "may feel some pressure to put on a public show of force in security, even in the absence of a credible threat."

Stapleton, who heads the company that provides bomb-sniffing dogs, said he expects businesses hosting large outdoor events to step up their security now.

"You start thinking about street fairs or any large gatherings of pedestrians," he said. "[The Boston explosions] change the dynamic. Now it’s a possible threat."

Geoff Craighead, president of the American Society for Industrial Security, said the long-term impact on the security industry will depend on the results of the FBI investigation into Monday's bombing.

But his industry trade group has already started providing resources to its members -- such as blueprints of security procedures at the Olympics and the World Cup -- in anticipation of greater demand for security consultants.

"There are already clients calling for terrorism-awareness training," he said.

Craighead said the bombings Monday will likely motivate businesses to increase security at outdoor events, even those far away from Boston.

"What it brings home to people is if that could happen there, then maybe it could happen here," he said.

He added, "The threat level has gone up in this area because of what happened."



GRAPHIC WARNING: Boston Marathon explosion