Preventing crimes of opportunity and securing your business
Part of owning a business is having security to deter crime from your doors. Yet criminals are privy to how we secure our businesses and will exploit holes in that security to commit burglary or robbery. These “crimes of opportunity” are often preventable, and by checking your security measures regularly can help further strengthen your business’s security.
Burglaries and robberies are two different yet similar crimes, and even go together in certain circumstances. Burglaries are non-violent property crime, which can include theft. Robberies are violent crimes against a person that include theft. For example, breaking into a business and stealing merchandise without interaction with another person is considered a burglary. However, if a person is threatened, harmed, or terrorized while the criminal also steals from the person, it is considered a robbery.
Here are some tips to help prevent burglaries and robberies:
- Lock it up. Make sure all your entrance and exit doors have deadbolt locks. These are difficult to unlock without a key and are an important safeguard in keeping your doors secure. If you use any padlocks to close your stores, be sure that the serial numbers are removed from them to prevent unauthorized keys from being cut.
- Secure windows. Make sure your windows have secure locks and, if possible, are burglar resistant glass. Grates on non-public facing windows are also a great alternative. If you have an alarm system, it is possible to get sensors that alarm when glass is broken, protecting your business when the store is closed. If you have display windows with merchandise, consider moving them back into the stock room or curtains to hide them away from public view at the end of the business day.
- Money! Money! Money! Keeping your cash register in plain view from the outside sounds counter-intuitive, but in fact is great in the event law enforcement needs to monitor your business. At the end of the day, clear out your registers and leave them open and empty. Put the money away in an anchored, fireproof safe every night and make sure it is closed properly. If you have an employee leave who knew the safe code, change it to a new code right away.
- Light ‘er up! Keeping your store well illuminated prevents suspicious activity from hiding in plain sight. As well, if you keep your store laid out so you don’t have blind spots, this further reduces the chances of hidden activity. At night, make sure any exterior lights stay illuminated until daybreak so any passerby can spot unscrupulous activity.
- Do as they say, not as they do. If you unfortunately find yourself in an armed robbery, cooperate with the criminal. Merchandise can always be replaced, but people cannot!