Commercial Protection: Tips to Help You Deter Crime at Your Business
Do you want to know how to best deter criminal activities from your business? Most small business owners don’t realize it but they’re more likely to be victims of break-ins. Plus, opportunistic criminals won’t think twice when a business isn’t as protected.
If your business is in an area with high rates, it’s vital to put up defenses. If you’re selling high-value merchandise, invest in security. Even if you don’t belong in a high-crime area or sell high-risk items, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Below, we’ll show you some tips on how to deter crime from your business.
1. Clean Your Storefront
Let’s start with the easiest and inexpensive thing to do. Keeping your storefront clean gives signals that you care about your business. There’s an interesting theory that explains this simple yet underrated trick.
If you’ve heard of the broken window theory, you’ll understand why clean storefronts deter crime. A Stanford psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, left a car parked in a neighborhood in the 1960s. He went back for the car after a week and found it untouched.
Zimbardo broke one window then relocated the car to a similar neighborhood. It only took a few hours for the car to get stripped clean and destroyed.
You can prove this in inner cities where the most successful businesses are some of the best-kept.
2. Brighten Up Your Surroundings
From burglaries to holdups, it’s common to hear that most crimes occur at night. One way to prevent these night crimes is to keep things lit. Install lights in and around your business, especially on large or spacious grounds.
If you want, install systems like motion-activated lights. This can dissuade burglars who attempt breaking into your store.
3. Train and Know Your Staff
Don’t be too trusting to your employees. Contrary to popular belief, employee fraud is a real issue, especially in small businesses. Businesses with less than 150 staff lose 5% of their annual revenue to employee fraud.
Before you hire anyone, make sure to get a photocopy of some identifying documents. This way, you know who you’re hiring. It also makes it easier to report them to the authorities when you have runaways.
If you trust your employees enough, train them to respond to crime. They deserve a safe working environment so install panic buttons. Knowing it’s easy to call for help gives them peace of mind and ensures the security of your business.
4. Get a Guard Dog
If you have a fenced building, it’s ideal to get a trained guard dog. A single dog can cover a big territory already. Plus, dogs have senses far superior for seeing, hearing, and smelling intruders.
It’s an effective way to ward off anyone foolish enough to try to target your establishment. Plus, dogs act as instant defenders for your businesses. You can keep them inside your store when you’re closed without anybody having to watch over them.
5. Add an Alarm System
While it’s one of the costlier solutions to crime, installing an alarm system is worth the money. When you get a security alarm, you often have two choices. You can get either the silent security alarm or the loud one.
Loud security alarms warn burglars attempting to break into your establishment. It can even prevent vandalism since the blaring can bring attention to them if they linger. The immediate response from people around your establishment acts as a deterrent.
Silent security alarms need a fast response time to catch burglars in the act. Loud alarms might scare them off but they can return at a later time when the alarm isn’t active. Silent alarms don’t alert them of any responders coming to get them.
6. Install a CCTV System
When your store has the right equipment, it becomes a large threat to criminals. Often, they’ll figure that it’s not worth the risk targeting your business. Cameras are effective and powerful tools to prevent crime.
A good CCTV system is a great deterrent for criminals who can’t risk getting caught on tape. They deter petty offenders who can do disappearing tricks with their hands. With a tape, you can track what and how they pocket your merchandise from the shelves.
7. Deter Crime with Security Personnel
If you want to know how to prevent crime in the most effective way, hire security personnel. There’s nothing else that can beat the human instinct. Whether it’s a night or day job, trained security guards can react right away to a situation.
The sight of uniformed patrol deters criminals from targeting your establishment. It shows them that you’re serious about protecting your establishment. Also, commercial security personnel undergoes training to understand the red flags of a criminal.
8. Secure Valuables in a Safe Place
If you sell high-value merchandise, place them in a secure spot when you’re not open. Get a safe or security cage. This way, you have an extra layer of protection for high-value stocks.
As you might know from Hollywood heist movies, time is precious for burglars. If you have silent alarms, a safe can distract them long enough until the authorities arrive. If this kind of incident occurs, change the location or the combination of the safe right after.
Also, make sure you are the only one who has access to the safe. If you must write the code down to open it, don’t write it in a place that’s too easy to find. Don’t forget to change the safe combination regularly.
9. Use Quality Locks and Control the Keys
Make sure you always lock all possible entrances to your establishment. If you have outside entrances, use double-cylinder deadbolt locks for them. Make it routine to check every entrance to the establishment before you open and after you close up.
You, as the owner, should control the keys only. If an employee needs to use a key, issue it on a need-for basis only. It should be procedural to collect keys from terminated or departing employees.
If you have any extra keys, store them all in a single cabinet that only you can unlock. Make sure you mark all your keys with Do Not Duplicate. Should someone lose keys, replace the locks right away.
10. Invest in Heavy-Duty Windows and Doors
Speaking of keys, you should get your doors changed to ones designed to hold up against contact. If you want to deter crime for good, invest in heavy-duty windows and doors. There won’t be a break-in when they can’t break into your establishment first.
It’ll only prove to be a fruitless attempt at them. Plus, if you had a CCTV system in place, you can identify the culprit in some way. It’s a double loss for them and if they didn’t get caught, they likely won’t come back.
Be Wise, Be Cautious
As Benjamin Franklin stated in a sermon, “distrust and caution are the parents of security.” It’s a great adage to live by if you want to deter crime from your business. In a sense, it can apply to real-life as well.
This doesn’t mean that you should be a cold boss or that you should be paranoid. You can be distrustful yet agreeable. Be wise in your caution, not unreasonable.
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