Top 30 steps you should take to prevent crime and break-ins to your business premises
Crimes and break-ins affect businesses of all sizes. And, businesses need to make all efforts to protect themselves. These businesses are an important part of the society, as they provide jobs to people and help boost the economy. So, any crime targeting businesses affects community it is operating in and the economy. Crimes and break-ins can reduce profitability of a business, create fear among those running and operating businesses, and can also threaten the existence of a business in a particular community. Therefore, businesses need to take adequate measures to ensure that their business premises are protected, and look for effect methods of crime prevention.
Here are the top 30 Steps you should take to prevent crime and break-ins to your business premises:
1. Risk assessment
Typically, when businesses are targeted, it is an unplanned incident. A criminal spots an opportunity and makes use of it to commit the crime against a business or break-in into a business premises. Hence, a business should do a thorough risk assessment and look for areas where opportunities to commit a crime exist, such as keeping the cash till unsecured or having anti-social elements hanging outside the business premises. A business should have a checklist to assess the risk and then take steps to decide on the required security measures.
2. Check the surroundings
Check your surroundings, especially if they have an unkempt appearance, such as overgrown bushes and untrimmed hedges; or when the environment is a run-down state, it will be easier for a criminal to break-in, as they would think that the business does not have any security measure in place. Therefore, remove rubbish, trim the bushes and get rid of graffiti quickly. Do this even if you are not responsible for the upkeep of the surroundings, as it will be beneficial for your business.
3. In-house theft prevention
Make sure you check references for new employees. Also, have clear policies with regard to employee theft. Hold regular training sessions for employees, so that they are able to spot thieves and can spot suspicious behaviour. Monitor petty cash and also randomly check and inspect deliveries made to your business. If employees are responsible for depositing cash in the bank, rotate the employees, so that one person is not responsible for handling all monies. Make it clear to staff handling receivables to pay cash just against an original invoice and not photocopies.
4. Protect your business premises
Keep all valuables under locked in a safe. If necessary, strengthen the doors and windows by installing grilles and shutters. If no staff is in the premises, ensure all exits and entrances are securely locked. Install an intruder alarm and also CCTV. Make sure that the windows do not have posters and displays, as these obstruct the view. Your staff will be unable to see people loitering outside your business and not keep track of people entering the premises. Have good lighting at entrances and exits, and also around the building. This will help do away with potential hiding places.
5. Protect your business
Contact your local police or relevant authority to find out what measures are in place to reduce local crime and break-ins. Find out if you can become part of crime reduction schemes on a local level to protect your business.
6. Protect your business assets
Business assets include computers, printers, equipment, tools, personal organisers and mobile phones. You can protect these assets by ensuring you keep a careful record of their make, model and serial numbers. Permanently mark these assets to work as theft deterrent. Also display signs prominently in your business premises to make everyone aware that your assets are marked and easy to identify.
7. Protect your stock
There are many ways to protect your stock from theft. First, have an organised way to keep records of all the stock in your business. Schedule regular stock checks and store the stock away from entrances and exits. If necessary, install a CCTV to keep a watch on stock that is easy to take and hide away. Store high value stock under lock and key, such as secure room or cage.
8. Use a safe
Have an anchored and fire-resistant safe in your business premises to keep cash and other valuables. If the safe is not bolted down, the thief will have no qualms about carrying it away. Be sure to change the combination of the safe if you have given it to an employee to take out something from it. Make sure that at the end of the day, the safe is locked securely with all your valuables.
9. Alarm system
Install an alarm system and if you already have one, make sure it works. The alarm must be of European standard and if you are unaware of the standard, consult your insurance provider to find the appropriate grade for your alarm system. The alarm should always be monitored by an alarm receiving centre, so that when it goes off, appropriate alarm response can be taken, such as placing a call to the police or a security company.
10. Hire security personnel
Hire security personnel from a reliable and legitimate security company to guard your business premises at all times. This protection can be in the form of mobile patrols and static guards. It is best to hire an SIA accredited security company to ensure total safety for your business premises. If necessary, the personnel can also conduct checks of people leaving the premises to ensure that they are not walking off with something they haven’t paid for. Many security companies offer key holding services. However, such a service requires an SIA licence. It is best to opt for key holding services, so that your office or business opens at a particular time and closes at a particular time. This is a much better option than leaving the key under a flowerpot!
Having surveillance cameras is an extremely good crime prevention method. These cameras deter potential criminals and thieves. It is easy to activate the cameras and if you install them in plain view, everyone will know that your business has the necessary measures to protect itself from crimes and break-ins.
12. Use other security devices
Besides surveillance cameras, use other security devices to deter break-ins. These can include chemical marker system or a device to generate smoke, so that the intruder cannot see.
13. Get educated
Find out what measures local businesses in your neighbourhood are taking and see if you can use any of them to protect your business. Also educate yourself and your employees to be good witnesses. In case of a robbery, learn to note the gender, age, height, hair colour, weight and description of the robber’s shoes and clothes. This will help the police immensely. Teach employees not to let strangers inside the business premises. For instance, someone may come just to use the toilet. This could be a genuine request, but at times the person may be coming in scout the area and may leave a window open to return later in the night.
14. Never resist a robbery
Should you or one of your employees have the misfortune of keeping in office when a robbery occurs, be sure to comply with the demands of the robber. Give up your merchandise, money or any other asset that the robber demands. It is better to protect yourself in such a situation.
15. Have emergency drills and plans in place
Check your business premises to ensure that medical kits are in stock and fire extinguishers working properly. Mark fire exits and other routes carefully and clearly. Have regular drills for your employees, so that they are aware what they should do in case of an emergency. Draft different emergency plans for different kinds of emergencies and ensure that the employees are aware of these plans. Even designate a person for alarm response, even if the security company is handling this aspect.
16. Change security codes regularly
To prevent break-ins, change security codes of doors and computers regularly. This is especially true when an employee is no longer associated with your business.
17. Reduce anonymity
Have name tags and identity cards for all employees. This will enable the security guards to identify strangers. Make sure that visitors also get IDs, so that it is easy to identify them and anyone without an ID can be escorted outside and questioned.
18. Paint the walls and fences with anti-climb paint
You can deter break-ins by painting walls and fences with anti-climb paint. This will not only make it difficult for an intruder to climb, but also mark the intruder’s clothes. However, be sure to follow all legal requirements.
19. Do away With crime and break-in opportunities
An intruder will look for ways to get into a business premises and if there are tools or materials left outside which can help the intruder break a window or gain access to the interiors of the building, he or she will use it. Hence, do not leave items outside. Instead secure them properly, so that they cannot be used for breaking in. If any equipment lying outside can be used to climb to the upper floors or the roof, look for an alternate place to keep the equipment.
20. Rely on guard dogs
If your business premises are huge, use guard dogs to protect areas where security guards or mobile security patrols vehicles do not visit frequently. You can even install a dog bark alarm to protect your business, in case the dog is sleeping or having its meal.
21. Use locks
Use padlocks to secure areas that are not frequently used. Be sure to use high quality locks and file off the serial numbers from the locks, so that new keys cannot be made.
22. Parking area and delivery trucks
If your business uses delivery trucks and they are parked in the company’s parking area, make sure that the area is well-lit. This will make it easier to spot someone trying to get to the trucks. Also, install GPS system in the trucks, so that they can be traced if they are stolen from the parking area.
23. Have physical deterrents in place
Place the cash register in such a way that it can be seen clearly from the outside. This will help the police see inside when they are patrolling the area. A well-lit business premises is never attractive for break-ins. If necessary, grow thorny bushes around your business premises to deter criminals from breaking in. Always keep minimal cash around and have a notice to advertise this fact near the entrance. Post signs prominently to inform everyone that your business is under surveillance and that trespassers will be prosecuted.
24. Be cautious of workers and contractors
If you have workers and contractors working temporarily on something in your business premises, secure all valuable items. For some, it could be tempting to pick up a few items and walk away with them at the end of the day or go and inform a friend, who may come later in the night to ‘lift’ these items.
25. Collaborate with other businesses
If the cost of setting up monitoring systems and CCTVs are too high for you to bear, collaborate with other businesses in the neighbourhood and share the costs. This will also allow the businesses in the area to communicate freely about various crime issues and come up with better and longer lasting solutions.
26. Be liberal with exterior lighting
Exterior light is a great method of crime prevention. It deters criminals from breaking in, as the person would be visible to mobile patrols, police and security guards.
27. Avoid false sense of security
Even if your business is located in a neighbourhood, which does not have crime, there is always the chance of a break-in. So, do not have a false sense of security that no break-in will occur in your business premises. Take all measures and steps to prevent and deter possible break-ins regardless of where your business is located.
28. Stay alert and rely on your instincts
If you or your employees see suspicious-looking people loitering around your business, call the police and report it. If you have security guards in place, let them handle the situation. Never confront these people yourself, as the situation could get out of hand and potentially dangerous.
29. Follow the onion peeling principle
Just like peeling an onion, which has many layers, also include many layers of security for your business. This will take an intruder a long time to break-in. And, ensure that you start all the security measures from the perimeter of your business premises and they should continue all the way to the interiors of the premises.
30. Enjoy benefits of improved security
When employers introduce better measures to keep their business safe, it brings peace of mind and helps reduce losses. This, in turn, leads to happier staff, higher efficiency, more profits and a better business image.
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