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How safe are area hospitals? We went to find out

Posted at 7:55 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 21:55:32-05

At Denver Health, more than 1,000 people come through their doors each and every day.

"It's a very high stress environment. People come in here under the worst of circumstances, they're worried about loved ones so that risk of violence is a high concern," director of security for Denver Health Eric Smith said. 

At any given point, Denver Health has 20 security guards or more on duty

Many local hospitals, like Denver Health, use contracted security that are specifically trained to work in a healthcare environment and spot serious potential issues. 

"We train them on counter-terrorism measures. Something like if someone is carrying a concealed gun, the telltale signs to look for," Smith added. 

Stats from International Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation show that both violent crime and assaults in U.S. hospitals are on the rise. 

So the balance is keeping everyone safe, while still allowing hospitals to do what they're there to do. 

"We also want to make sure the doctors are safe, the nurses are safe, the clinical personnel... so they can provide that care that people are coming to a hospital for. It's the primary reason a hospital exists, and we want to make sure we can support that as much as possible," Smith said.

Several local hospitals have metal detectors at their emergency department entrances, including Denver Health, St. Joseph's, and the medical campus in Aurora. Those locations do not have any at their main entrances. 

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