Security services in demand
By Jeanne Meserve
(CNN) -- The new emphasis on tightened security is not just affecting airports and government offices. Private concerns and individuals have also ramped up their protection in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attacks.
Some private security firms are working guards 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and still have to turn away business.
Pinkerton/Bond, the world's largest private security firm, says inquiries about service were up 1,000 percent last week.
And Vance International, an Oakton, Virginia-based company that provides guard service, security consulting and executive protection to companies and well-known figures all over the world, has also seen gains.
"We probably have had about a 25 percent increase in all of our businesses," says Chairman Chuck Vance, a former Secret Service agent who founded the company in 1984.
Security guards, X-ray scanners and photo ID cards aren't the only way people are protecting themselves.
Inspired, perhaps, by last week's tales of good-byes from loved ones, cell phone sales have skyrocketed. Bluelight.com, Kmart's Web site, reports an increase of 345 percent since last Tuesday.
The sale of walkie-talkies is also up on the site, 200 percent from the week before.
There are also scattered reports of increased gun and ammunition sales, and in Washington, gas masks are impossible to find.
Wall Street has certainly noticed the trend. Shares of security services firms rose steeply Monday, including a gain for L-3 Communications of $24, to $87. Shares of InVision Technologies, a company that makes physical and explosive recognition technology, more than doubled, up $5.14 to $8.25.
Are we overprotecting ourselves with all this protection? Some security professionals say yes -- but it's worth the investment.
After all, they're worried that once our fears subside, complacency will return -- as it always has.
Pinkerton Service Corporation
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