South Florida Becomes Mecca for Security Industry Giants

Wednesday, 10 Oct 2012 02:53 PM

By David Wright

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The lives of virtually every person in the nation are touched by the country’s top security firms. Whether you have a burglar alarm at your house or a guard watches while you do your banking, the so-called “Big Four” American security firms make your life safer.

And now all of the firms have moved to one area of Florida. With the arrival of Garda World Security Corp to join ADT, G4S, and The Geo Group, Palm Beach County, Fla., is now home to the American or world headquarters of all four giants of the industry.

“Palm Beach should have a new motto: sun, sand – and security,” smiles Kelly Smallridge, CEO of the county’s Business Development Board.

Three of the “Big Four” are based in one seaside city: Boca Raton. Garda – one of the top security solutions and cash logistics firms – moved its U.S. headquarters there last year from Pasadena, Calif.; ADT is a leader in electronic security and monitoring services for homes and small businesses; The Geo Group manages 116 prison and correctional facilities around the world. G4S, headquartered a few miles further north in Jupiter, is a world leader in international security solutions, with 50,000 employees around the U.S. and Canada.

It may seem odd that all four firms have located to the same area, but Smallridge said state and local officials have been aggressive in offering incentives to woo the companies. Garda, for example, was offered $1 million package of incentives from the state and local authorities to move from California and it proved rich enough for Boca Raton to beat competing bids from Broadview, Ill., and Wilmington, Del.

And there’s another reason that Palm Beach County has become the security capital of the nation. Says Smallridge: “CEOs like to live in Palm Beach.”

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