The Kim Kardashian Robbery and Lessons to be Learned
Kim Kardashian Robbed of $10M worth of Jewlery
In the overnight hours, television and media superstar Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris. Initial reports indicate that the robbers were able to take nearly $10M worth of jewelry from Kim Kardashian. Sources in Paris report that five masked men wearing ski masks and police jackets entered the residence at approximately 3AM local time, handcuffed the concierge after threatening him with a weapon, then forced their way into her room. Kardashian was bound with tape, gagged and placed in the bathtub. The thieves then escaped with one of Kardashian’s rings, worth $4.49M, as well as a jewelry box worth $5.6M.
While the facts are not out on exactly what occurred yet, this appears to be both a security and planning failure all the way around. Kim Kardashian is an internationally known star, and her security needs reflect that. Clients such as this reflect a particular issue for protection specialists, as the Kardashian brand is themselves, where they are, how they look and whom they’re with. This brand is promoted through social media. In other words, if you’re a bad guy with evil intent, finding Kim Kardashian is not a difficult task.
A Higher Level of Security
This level of security for this type of clientele requires a level of security typically reserved for a Head of State or similar principle. Think of the similarities; you can’t hide the movements of a Head of State, so you work around them through advance work and planning. It also requires multiple member teams. One protection specialist, no matter how skilled that individual may be, cannot possibly hope to be all the places that they would need to be simultaneously.
Size Matters Little
Executive close protection in the private sector has come quite a long way. Historically, the chief job requirement of a protection specialist was that you were large and comfortable with violence. Having a good protection background and sound risk management fundamentals were not necessarily pre requisites for the job. In those days a bodyguard’s main function was to intimidate rather than provide a holistic security program based on eliminating as many risk variables as possible to protect the client. Unfortunately, this stereotype still persists today and there are many people who get hired who profess to be “bodyguards” who have the former attribute and not the latter. In executive close protection there are two key tenants that are the essence of the job, you must protect your client from physical harm and what is lessor known outside of the industry but just as important, safeguarding your client’s reputation. History has shown that focusing strictly on physical attributes can lead to some dire consequences. This approach has led to the embarrassment of clients such as when Roger Goodell’s bodyguard roughed up a journalist or in the music industry where bodyguards getting arrested for assault is the norm.
Further, a Protection Specialist should be constantly looking at every detail of your principle’s schedule searching for opportunities and environments that can lead not only to a physical risk but any event that could damage the reputation of the principle directly or the corporate or government entity that they represent. The reality is that there are groups and individuals who view the principle as a potential cash cow. They may maneuver themselves to be in a position to place the principle in a compromising position and seek to black mail your client. Reputation Hazards can be private receptions or sponsored events where alcohol is served. These events are quite common and there is a very high likelihood that lowered inhibitions may inadvertently lead to the principle being placed in some less than flattering predicaments. Smart phone technology has been an absolute game changer. These devises have revolutionized how the world conducts business. With all of the benefits of these devices, there are also dangers with them that you need to be aware of. Smart phones are directly linked to social media outlets. The reputation of your principle and his or her parent company can be compromised in seconds with an unflattering “pic” and posting to Twitter, facebook, youtube, Instagram and the like. (A powerful handheld flashlight is a wonderful tool to prevent someone taking an unwanted pic!)
What We Know Now
All evidence seems to indicate that this attack was carried out by professionals. This attack shows pre-planning, staging, and a knowledge of the itinerary of Kardashian. It does not at all appear to be the work of amateurs. I would hazard a guess that these individuals were also keenly aware of security weaknesses present as well as the amount of jewelry that Kim Kardashian traveled with.
In closing, early evidence appears to support the theory that this was a total security protocol breakdown which could have been prevented. I hope that in the future that those in the public eye will learn from this event and understand the necessity of hiring competent security professionals, and not merely “big guys”.