According to historic documents, as early as the year 1430, there were night watchmen, who patrolled the streets. The foundation of the "Hanoverian Security and Surveillance Institution" in 1901 can be regarded as the beginning of the security industry in Europe. In subsequent years there were established new private security companies, which initially monitored warehouses, docks and factories. In 1918 first private security companies were contracted to guard military facilities. Soon the portfolio of private security services included a wide range of activities (for example, security services and entrance checkpoints). Before the Second World War the range of security companies’ assignments covered area patrols, monitoring of vehicles, property protection and factory guarding. Around 1970 private security companies were also employed on subways, commuter trains and at airports. This rapid development of the industry in Germany can be shown with the following figures: In 1960 there were 332 security companies. In 1980 the number of companies reached 542. The next leap was observed in 1992. In 1990 there were registered as many as 899 – yet two years later – 1290. In 2007 there were as many as 3500 security companies operating in Germany.
Private security companies in Germany offer a wide range of actions. Apart from classic activities such as property protection, personal protection, mass event security services, patrols, airport security and checkpoint services, there are also special services such as road traffic monitoring, protection of military facilities, securing of nuclear power plants and port activities (for example, in Hamburg at the "Hamburger Cruise Center" a private security firm manages passenger boarding and guards incoming ships).
Successful enterprises have recognized that their competitiveness increases if they focus on their core business and outsource other tasks. Especially in the field of security it is often a cost-effective solution. Owing to private security companies it is possible to economize on state expenditures, as well as those of private enterprises. Moreover, in Germany home security has been partially privatized due to the fact that police duties have been extended with the number of police officers reduced at the same time. Another reason accounting for the increased need for private security services has been the terrorist acts of the recent years along with the emergence of new international organized crime. The need for personal and property protection against its damage or loss has always been part of human nature.