The aftermath of a burglary often requires repairs to damaged property, temporarily closing the business for investigation and repairs, and replacing stolen assets. In other words, burglaries can take a serious toll on your business. And the chances of your business being a target are high enough to take heed.
According to the Retail Council of Canada, retailers lose up to $3 billion a year or $8 million a day as a result of burglary and shoplifting. This has resulted in major retail property loss for many Canadian businesses. Although small businesses and retail establishments tend to be more vulnerable to burglary, every business faces the risk.
In this article, we share the most effective preventative measures that businesses can take to minimize the risk of burglary.
- Don’t Tempt Them With Inventory
- Replace Traditional Glass Windows
- Make Break-Ins Difficult
- Make Safes Hidden And Secure
- Install Security Devices
- Display Security Signs
- Keep Premises Clean and Tidy
- Increase Visibility
- Hire Security Personnel
Burglary Prevention Tips for Businesses
While some of the necessary precautions outlined here may seem like a significant initial investment, it can save the business thousands of dollars (and headaches) in the long run.
The following tips are recommended to help prevent your business from being a victim of burglary.
Retailers: Don’t Tempt Them with Inventory
All high-value items should be stored in a locked casing, out of reach. Additionally, smaller, lightweight items that are easy to grab should be placed as far away from doors and windows as possible. High-risk window display items should be removed when the store is closed.
Replace Traditional Glass Windows
To deter burglars from doing a smash and grab, consider laminated windows or, even better, tempered glass. Tempered glass is stronger and a lot louder when it breaks, drawing attention that burglars don’t want to attract.
Make Break-Ins Difficult
If you’re in a high-risk area, discourage opportunistic burglars with bars on windows, skylights and doors. Use a double-cylinder deadlock. This type of lock requires a key to open it from both sides, making it challenging for burglars to break in and escape.
Make Safes Hidden and Secure
Burglars know valuable items are kept inside safes. If your business has a safe, then it should be kept in a location that is not visible to burglars. Reducing the level of visibility will deter them from attempting to locate the safe. Additionally, secure the safe to the floor and leave minimal amounts of cash in the store overnight.
Install Security Devices
Security cameras and alarm systems can be very effective burglar deterrents. Cameras provide a record of suspicious or criminal activity and help identify the criminals. Alarm systems notify the authorities and reduce theft after a break-in by driving criminals away faster. Especially with a reliable alarm response. Criminals will often test the response by causing an alarm activation without entering the premises and watching and timing a response.
Display Security Signs
Accompanying security devices with visible signage to inform individuals that cameras and alarm systems are present, will often work as a deterrent. Additionally, many businesses are being encouraged to close down until further notice due to COVID-19. If this applies to you, it is recommended you place a sign indicating “No Cash On Premises” to discourage any thoughts of breaking in.
Keep Premises Clean and Tidy
A well-cared for property lets a burglar know that a close eye is kept on the premises. Signage should be up to date. All surfaces should be clean, including surrounding areas outside the business.
The building should be well-lit inside and outside, especially at access points and areas within the store that contain high-value items. Cash registers should be visible from the outside with drawers left open and empty during after-hours. This allows police or security personnel to monitor suspicious activity on their patrol.
Hire Security Personnel
The presence of security guards can be highly effective in deterring burglaries. In cases where burglaries do occur, security guards are professionally trained in emergency response procedures.
Understanding Commercial Burglaries
Commercial burglary is defined as the unlawful entry into a commercial property with the intent to attempt or commit theft. While Canada no longer uses the term “burglary” to name a Criminal Code Offence, the activities that were previously labelled as such, are now considered “breaking and entering”.
Types of Burglaries
Burglaries are often placed in three different categories. Each category describes the different motivators and characteristics of the criminal actions involved.
This type of burglary is the most common. Opportunistic burglary is characterized as spontaneous. It is a decision made on a whim without any prior planning involved.
Typically, this is a quick job which doesn’t lead to a significant amount of items stolen. Opportunistic burglars usually enter through an unsecured window, or other common entry points, and grab whatever is closest.
Typically, the opportunistic burglars cause minimal damage relative to the other two types described below.
Smash-and-grab burglaries can be devastating due to the property damage that they cause in violently entering the commercial property. This type of burglary is usually planned in advance. These burglars may come prepared with power tools to cut through locks and grills.
Smash-and-grab burglars sometimes employ “ram raiding” as a break-and-enter technique, using a motor vehicle to barge into the premises. This causes significant damage that may cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.
These burglars often target higher-end businesses, such as luxury brands. Consequently, the value of the goods stolen is often considerable.
Sophisticated burglary is a complex operation that involves an intricate plan to steal items, usually of exceptionally high value.
Because sophisticated burglary operations plan for the presence of alarm systems, security cameras and security/police response, these types of crimes are not quick jobs. These burglars allow themselves enough time to sort through the items and haul them away before authorities arrive on scene. The sophisticated burglary is the least common of the three types.
What Attracts Burglars to Businesses
When scoping out a potential opportunity for a burglary, there are certain factors that burglars look for.
- Neglected Properties: Damaged displays, outdated signs, burnt out lightbulbs, messy entryways and dirty windows all signal neglected premises.
- No Security Presence: Most burglars feel encouraged when they see that the premises aren’t monitored through surveillance cameras, alarms and security guards.
- Easy Access: Without gates and metal grills on doors, windows and skylights, burglars know that breaking in won’t be too difficult. Furthermore, displaying items beside these entry points is considered an invitation.
- Limited Visibility: Dimly lit stores and an obstructed line of sight is sure to attract burglars.
Most Common Ways Burglars Break In
Burglary is a crime of opportunity. They will always choose the easiest way to enter. The most common ways that burglars break in are through windows or doors that are left open and unattended or are easily breached. Entry through rear doors are very common since they are lower in traffic and are too often not monitored.
Helping Businesses Prevent Break-Ins and Burglaries
At Paladin, we are the industry leader in shopping centre and retail security services. We will take the time to understand your company’s unique security challenges. Our team helps create an integrated security model that addresses your needs and fits your budget. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can help you protect your business.