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The Differences Between Uniformed Guards, Undercover Security, & When To Hire Each


As a business owner, your people and community mean a lot to you. And while you do everything in your power to protect them and your company, crime is an unfortunate part of virtually all ownership. However, because crime does occur, it’s essential to be prepared and to protect employees and property in any ways you can. Crime at your business may include stolen merchandise or belongings, vandalism, lewd behavior, or anything else. 

One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your business is to hire trained security personnel who can handle the security side of things for you.

Once you decide that you need to hire security guards, the next decision to make is what type of security you need. Should you hire uniformed guards or undercover security? We’re sharing the difference between the two and when to use each. 

What is the difference between undercover security guards and uniformed security guards? 

Undercover security guards refer to hired personnel who blend in with other customers in the environment and act as your business’s eyes and ears, watching everything closely and actively catching criminals in the act of committing a crime.

Uniformed security guards, on the other hand, are easily identifiable and act more as a deterrent to crime and criminal conduct.

Undercover Security Guards

Undercover security guards are often hired to investigate and catch crime as it is occurring by being inconspicuous. These guards wear regular clothing that blends in with the natural environment around them and keeps a vigilant watch of their surroundings for any suspicious activity.

When the guards do their jobs well, criminals will lower their defenses on the assumption that no one of authority is watching and will commit a crime. The undercover security can then swoop in and reveal themselves, subsequently apprehending the criminal.

Undercover security is primarily used as anti-loss prevention. For example, many retail stores hire undercover security to investigate and watch for shoplifters in the act of stealing products. This is a highly effective way of saving products and ensuring shoplifters do not attempt to steal from that store again because they quickly learn; they never know who is watching.

Benefits of Undercover Security Guards

  • Customers are unaware security guards are present, so the atmosphere remains relaxed and promotes a pleasant and leisurely experience.
  • Criminals are caught and punished for their crimes.
  • Guards protect while also giving individuals their sense of freedom.
  • Businesses maintain an image of being upscale, safe, and reliable.
  • Long-term theft and crime naturally decrease as criminals know they are being watched. 

Uniformed Security Guards

Unlike undercover guards, uniformed security guards can easily be identified to everyone around them, and there are various ways that uniformed guards can dress to identify themselves. For example, mall security, some bank security, and similar industry uniforms appear similar to police officers with plain button-down shirts, slacks, name tags, utility belts, and radio.

More upscale and high-brow businesses may use security that dresses in high-quality suits and ties. Another popular look that uniformed security often wears includes those that work around bars and clubs. These individuals often wear a solid-colored shirt with the label “Security” on it.

The purpose of uniformed security guards is not to necessarily catch crime as it is occurring but rather to deter crime from happening altogether. Many criminals will think twice before acting on a crime if they notice a uniformed security guard in close by for fear of getting caught. 

Benefits of Uniformed Security Guards

  • Guards create a more tense environment that keeps criminals cautious and reduces the chances of a crime occurring.
  • Patrons feel secure and safe in the guards’ presence.
  • Guards provide a safe space for anyone feeling unsafe or needing help.
  • Criminals are deterred from committing crimes.

Knowing Which Guards You Need

Both undercover and uniformed security guards are great ways to stop crime from occurring, but what is perfect for a specific job depends on the industry and the business. As a business owner, you must first determine the strategy you want to use and how you plan to implement that security. This is not a decision to make lightly, as it means the protection of your staff, your assets, and ongoing client experience. We highly recommend considering each option before deciding which your business needs.

Hiring A Guard You Can Trust

At MProtective in York, PA, our top-of-the-industry security officers are exceptionally trained, which provides them the confidence to deal with these challenging and intimidating security circumstances with decisiveness and speed. In addition, all guards are qualified for the task and the duties at hand, meeting the security needs of your business, event, or venue.

We offer security guard services, including uniformed, plainclothes, armed security, and so much more. So contact our team today to schedule your free consultation, and rest assured you, your employees, patrons, and business will be safe and protected in good hands. 

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