A security guard, sometimes known as a security officer, is a person hired to safeguard a property, a person, or their belongings. Security guards can be engaged on a freelance basis, however they are mainly hired by security firms. Security guards are typically dressed, similar to police officers, but do not carry firearms. Instead, their goal is to maintain a visible presence in order to deter criminal conduct and to watch for signals of a potential crime on the property or people they are protecting. If suspicious activity is observed, the security guard is responsible for informing the appropriate authorities as well as the individuals for whom they work.