An open book with a quill and ink stand on a table surrounded by other books - Litigation ConsultantsHow I Started Writing Books On Crime Prevention And Security

Similarly to how I got into loss prevention and physical security, that story of how I started writing books began somewhat by chance. I had purchased a book from Butterworth-Heinemann Publishers. Although it was good in some ways, I found it considerably lacking in others – namely, it was lacking the educational content I was seeking. I was highly disappointed and vented these issues in a questionnaire I returned to them. (Some of my younger readers may not know this, but books and magazines used to include cards you could send to the publisher back then.) To my surprise, about a month later, the publisher’s editor contacted me and invited me to lunch. He wanted to discuss the feedback I had given him.

During our conversation, I pointed out several gaps in their books. I drilled into him at one point, “Where in your books do you have a complete description of every part of an alarm system and how it works?” He admitted they didn’t have any such thing in the book. Then I asked about detailed descriptions of various types of lighting—fluorescent bulbs, incandescent bulbs, mercury vapor, high-pressure sodium, etc. Again, he acknowledged the complete absence of such information from the book.

I made it clear to him how I felt, communicating how the book failed to provide readers similar to me with the essential knowledge they needed. He followed up, “What you’re saying, Larry, is that you want to put together a handbook?” I said, “No, I don’t want to put together a handbook.” He replied, “So what you’re saying is that we need to put together a handbook.” I volleyed back, “That’s exactly what I’m saying, under all of these different categories of physical security.” He was able to talk me into writing what became my first book.

As I sat before a towering pile of papers, roughly 12 inches high, I couldn’t help but marvel at the draft that was in front of me. It felt like I had created a baby. This sense of accomplishment washed over me as I completed my work, a sense of joy I’ve not experienced quite the same way in any other aspect of my life.

From my conversations with the publisher, I learned of his desire for a book addressing cargo theft control and the security of museums, libraries, and archives. My manuscript, rich with chapters on physical security, seamlessly extended to the areas of docks and controlling cargo theft, as well as museums and libraries. This sparked two more books.

My works have been published in Mandarin and Korean. Yet, the journey wasn’t without its challenges. One of my copyrights for crime prevention books was stolen in China during the eighties and reproduced word for word without my permission. Despite my efforts to get a copy, I couldn’t.

Through these experiences, I have come to appreciate the importance of adaptability and perseverance in the world of writing and publishing. My journey has been one of unexpected twists and gratifying accomplishments, shaping the body of this work.

These achievements have given me credibility in the security industry that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. To date, no one else in this field has authored 43 books. I’ve already started my 44th, clearly demonstrating that this ongoing endeavor is a testament to my dedication and passion for advancing knowledge and best practices in security.

Yet, looking back, even when I was at Harvard Police, I always did a lot of writing. We put out a weekly newsletter on crime with crime prevention tips. Plus, as a patrolman, I wrote extensively about issues like broken windows or panes of glass on buildings, aiming to get them fixed on my routes. You have to love to write, and it’s simply not for everyone.

Why I Continue

I think some people in the security industry who have written four or five books end up stopping because it takes a lot of time. It takes me at least ten months to finish a book—easy. And, in reality, there’s not a lot of money in it. I often joke by saying there were times I felt like I was making 50 cents an hour doing this work. But for me, money aside, it’s just something I love to do.

Let’s shift our focus to my most recent project, one I’m working on now with two others. It is very challenging. One of the contributors invited about 25 security practitioners to join us on this project. I believe it’s going to be called Emergency Management in the Year 2035. Writing books where you have to be a visionary to project future scenarios is complex but incredibly rewarding, right up my alley.

Image of Lawrence Fennelly attorney, with five-star reviews - Litigation Consultants

Lawrence Fennelly is a seasoned expert in crime prevention and physical security, with extensive experience at the Harvard Police Department and a prolific writing career. He has authored 43 books, providing invaluable insights and practical knowledge to countless professionals in the field.

Fennelly’s comprehensive approach and dedication to education make him a trusted resource for those navigating the complexities of security. His work continues to shape best practices and inspire the next generation of security experts.

For instance, Security in the Year 2025 required us to foresee future developments, and we’ve realized many of those predictions. In fact, we achieved about 65% accuracy in the predictions we made in this book, at least according to a dedicated reader who keeps track of and checks off our accurate predictions.

Currently, police and fire departments in large cities like Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have substantial budgets, but these will likely face significant increases. What will these budgets look like in 2035 when salaries, fire engines, and ambulances have easily risen by 50 to 75%? The cost of doing nothing will be high, and cities will struggle with budget restraints, potentially leading to the closure of fire and police stations. I recently started a paper that explores the cost of doing nothing.

There’s more, though. Hurricanes and flood warnings are increasing. In 10 years, will Miami be above or below water? What about parts of Louisiana? I’ve seen rising tides during nor’easters, full moons, and high tides on Cape Cod. This is a serious issue, and I don’t think an adequate number of people are giving it sufficient importance across the board of our society. They demand the attention of security experts like myself, who specialize in assessing and mitigating environmental risks and ensuring the safety and resilience of communities facing these threats across our nation—and the world.

My Approach To Research

My approach to the research process of crafting a book has always been grounded in a mix of personal observation, practical experience, and cultivating a visionary perspective. I often rely on my intuition and firsthand experiences to identify emerging trends and potential future challenges.

For example, I’ve personally witnessed the rising water levels in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Over the past decade, I’ve seen a public beach gradually disappear as the high tide now reaches the seawall, something that simply wasn’t happening ten years ago. I am convinced that in another ten years, the water will not only reach the wall but will likely start to flow beyond it.

Such observations fuel my sense of urgency and guide my research into environmental changes and their implications for security and emergency management. When I consider situations like these, I think about the practical challenges they pose, such as how fire departments will handle rising sea levels. The idea of needing a two-mile hose to pump ocean water to fight fires inland is just one example of how I try to envision and prepare for future challenges.

My research process also involves staying informed about current laws and best practices in various fields. For instance, in California, there’s a law requiring a 50-foot clearance around homes to prevent wildfire damage. This law seems to be what the doctors ordered, as shown by a homeowner who cleared 200 feet around his property and was able to save his house in a recent fire. This kind of practical insight shapes my understanding of what’s effective and what measures might be necessary as conditions change.

To gather comprehensive data, I combine this observational research with extensive reading and consulting experts in the field. When writing about physical security or emergency management, I dive into industry standards, scientific studies, and technological advancements. I also engage with professionals through interviews and collaboration, ensuring that my work is informed by the latest knowledge and practical expertise.

Balancing the demands of a prolific writing career with other professional responsibilities has always been a juggling act for me. My desktop is proof of this, with space constantly being optimized to accommodate an ever-growing collection of files, paper, books, and the whole spectrum of writing tools and references. If you were to glance at my resume, you’d see a narrative of numerous chapters, each representing a different facet of my journey. As a forensic security expert witness, my books often serve as a reservoir of information, making the task somewhat more manageable. Despite our best efforts, it’s impossible to cover everything, but we strive to do the best we can.

For instance, I contributed an 85-page chapter on crime prevention through environmental design to the sixth edition of the Handbook of Loss Prevention and Crime Prevention, complete with approximately 35 footnotes. The process involved continuously adding new material, ensuring the chapter was as comprehensive as possible.

I once received a request from a university student in Germany who was working on a thesis about crime prevention through environmental design. Grateful for the opportunity to assist, I sent him this paper. Overwhelmed by the volume of information, he promised to cite my work. This served as a reminder of why I write—to contribute to the knowledge pool and support others in their scholarly pursuits. Helping individuals like that student is one of the many fulfilling aspects of my career, and it keeps me motivated to continue writing and sharing my expertise.

The Benefits And Rewards Of Being A Published Author

As I near the end of my career, I reflect on the biggest benefit of being a published author: the opportunity to share knowledge and inspire the next generation of professionals. Writing books has allowed me to compile and disseminate my knowledge and experience, ensuring that valuable insights and practical information are available to those who follow in my footsteps. I encourage other professionals to write about their areas of authority or expertise for this very reason. Although the process can be challenging, it is immensely rewarding to know that your work can guide and educate others.

I often think about the legacy left by great authors like Mark Twain, who wrote 68 books—an astounding achievement, to say the least. While I may not have written as many books, I take pride in my contributions to the field. The editorial process, though rigorous and sometimes grueling, is a necessary step to ensure clarity and precision. The satisfaction comes not from the recognition but from the knowledge that my work can serve as a resource for investigators, physical security experts, and crime prevention officers in the future.

In sharing my experiences and knowledge through writing, I hope to provide a foundation for others to build upon. Whether dealing with crime prevention, security planning, or broader societal issues, the insights captured in my books aim to equip future professionals with the tools they need to navigate complex challenges. Writing has been my way of contributing to the collective understanding and preparing the next generation to continue the work.

For more information on How I Got Here: My Journey Into Writing, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (617) 616-8742 today.

Image of Lawrence Fennelly attorney, with five-star reviews - Litigation Consultants

Lawrence Fennelly is a seasoned expert in crime prevention and physical security, with extensive experience at the Harvard Police Department and a prolific writing career. He has authored 43 books, providing invaluable insights and practical knowledge to countless professionals in the field.

Fennelly’s comprehensive approach and dedication to education make him a trusted resource for those navigating the complexities of security. His work continues to shape best practices and inspire the next generation of security experts.

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