Many crimes against commercial properties can have devastating effects on the future and success of the business as well as the health and wellbeing of your staff.
In this blog, we’ve covered a range of tips and tricks that can help deter criminals as well as the security systems you can put in place to protect honest, hardworking business owners like you from theft, cybercrimes and dangerous situations.
Carry out a risk assessment
By identifying where you and your business are most vulnerable, you can begin to prevent these risks from becoming a real issue. The time it takes to thoroughly complete a risk assessment is certainly worthwhile if it could save you £100’s if not £1000’s in the long run. Having the right security in place could also help you reduce insurance premiums dramatically, making it a wise investment in both time and money.
You may already be aware of some minor issues, or you may have been a victim of crime in the past. By piecing these weaknesses together as well as improving your knowledge on criminals and how they carry out their crimes you can begin to get an understanding of what needs to be done as well as what should be done in the event of a worst-case scenario.
If you have been a victim of crime, make sure that you create an Impact Statement for Business (ISB). The ISB gives you the opportunity to set out the impact that a crime has had on the business such as direct financial loss, and wider impacts such as operational disruption or reputational damage. This will help you in court as they will take the statement into account when determining the sentence. Find out more here.
Secure your premises
It’s all too easy to become accustomed to the idea that ‘these things don’t happen to me’ but the truth is no-one expects it to happen to them and without paying close attention to your business security you could make it an easy target for thieves. The first factors to consider are all of your windows and doors. It may be that there’s an easy fix such as improving the window locks or having a security bar installed for additional strength. These solutions are particularly useful for smaller businesses or as temporary solutions, however, they’re not the most reliable compared to some of the other installations available therefore it’s worth looking into beforehand. If you’re unsure which bar to buy or how to install a security bar then it is best to ask a local locksmith for advice. Remember, most criminals are opportunists and most burglaries are unplanned so the more difficult it is, the more likely they’ll give up. You could also consider installing shutters or grilles but you will need permission from your local council to do so.
If you own a retail business then check out our other blog here.
Provide employees with essential training
It’s no secret that without valuable employees, most businesses wouldn’t last very long and protecting them from any risks is vital. All employees should have the correct training to deal with criminal situations such as theft. Having the correct security training in place for staff can make the difference between prosecution or an escalated situation therefore everyone must be sure of what to do if there were a serious threat. This includes any temporary or outsourced staff. After all, it is better to have some stolen goods than injured or traumatised employees.
Training your staff on what to do in these situations can be difficult, but it’s important that they’re also aware of how to recognise suspicious behaviour and how to report it. This can help avoid these events from happening in the first place, without staff confronting the criminals themselves. If possible, retail businesses and local shops should keep as little cash in the till as they can by emptying it on a regular basis and then taking any excess money to the bank.
Restricting members of the public from certain areas is another great way to keep sensitive information, valuable stock and excess money out of site. Consider putting warning signs in place to make it clear that those areas are only accessible to members of staff.
Protect your equipment and data
Carrying out regular audits to your property and equipment is a great way of ensuring it stays safe, particularly for offices which may hold sensitive information and be at risk of cyber-attacks and data loss. For this process to work, you should record details and add serial numbers to any equipment such as computers. For larger offices that hold extremely valuable property, it may be worthwhile securing these items to the floors/walls.
Don’t forget to ensure that all vehicles and bikes are kept secure. There are many ways you can do this such as adding a coded entry system or installing a bike rack. This will help any staff and visitors to feel more secure when parking at your business.
If you’re a contracting company that has a lot of equipment and vehicles, then consider adding signage to all vans to make sure thieves are aware nothing is kept there overnight. This can often help reduce vehicle windows being broken and therefore reduce costs. If you do keep equipment in your vehicles, or out on construction sites then consider adding a tracking system to them. These are often very small pieces of technology that can be hidden within the equipment itself. Therefore, whether it’s lost or stolen you’ll be able to track down the source and retrieve the goods. However, you should never go to retrieve the goods without first contacting the police to make them aware of the situation.
Prevent employee theft
Some companies will put a lot of time and money into protecting their business but will still find themselves struggling due to missing stock or tills being down on cash. If this applies to you then it may be that you have an issue with employee theft. This can be hard to accept and difficult to deal with but there are things you can do to stop it.
Whenever taking on someone new, you should always do a thorough background check for any criminal records or negative previous employment history. Always make sure that you verify the information given to you and put clear policies in place to make all staff aware of the potential consequences for crimes such as theft. This includes any temporary staff.
You should also be very wary of who you give access keys, cards, passwords or codes. Chances are there is security in place for a reason and giving the wrong person access could lead to burglary or data theft. In some instances, this could lead to a huge loss for the business as extra fines could be in place for sharing sensitive information under GDPR.
Both till money and petty cash are often the main targets for internal theft, therefore should be watched closely. However, it can happen in any industry and by any person, so it’s important that you are decisive in your actions against this and are prepared to support and deliver prosecution against any member of staff if necessary.
Avoid data theft
Data theft is nothing new, but over the past decade, this has become a more common way for criminals to steal money from hardworking businesses. From selling on sensitive data to blackmailing the owners, these criminals have no conscience and so we must take matters into our own hands in order to prevent this.
If you want to protect your data, including clients financial records and employee details, you must have sufficient passwords and adequate controls in place on all computers to restrict any unauthorised entry. Passwords should be set up so that they must be changed on a routine basis and not written down anywhere for people to see. You should also make sure that you regularly review who has these access privileges to ensure no past employees still have access. All IT systems should be adequately protected from external threats with up-to-date software including firewalls and anti-virus. Regular scans should be automated to keep all data and systems safe.
In this modern era, we can often forget about sensitive data that has been printed. Remember to shred any sensitive paper waste rather than throwing it in the bin. Not only will this keep you compliant with data laws but it will also stop any criminals from getting hold of it. Any printed data that is sensitive and needs to be kept should be in a lockable file or unit with only the relevant people having access to the confidential information.
Keeping confidential information safe is an utmost priority, particularly for hospitals. You can find more information on hospital security here.
Stop criminals from entering your property
One of the biggest causes for concern in most businesses are the chances of anyone entering a building without authorisation, causing damage to buildings or property. There are numerous ways this can happen but the most common ways include tailgating, door propping, levering doors & stolen or missing keys. This can have detrimental effects to your business such as theft, or worse, a threat to staff and public safety. Make sure all employees are aware of the dangers and double-check the ID of any visitors. If necessary, check the company about any unexpected visitors, particularly if they claim to be from your gas, water, electric or IT provider.
Ensuring no unauthorised access is vital for businesses such as industrial units which hold a considerable amount of property on behalf of other people.
Increase your business security
Believe it or not, installing decent lighting can be a great deterrent. Motion sensor lights can often intimidate criminals who do not want to risk getting caught.
A visual burglar alarm can also help alongside other security measures but is often unsuccessful in preventing entry to your business premises without other measures in place and in a worst-case scenario it will not help retrieve your belongings, or bring the culprit to justice.
The best way to protect your business is by installing security cameras. A decent CCTV system is vital in deterring criminals and in bringing them to justice. It’s proven that just the sight of a camera surveillance system can help minimise crime and deter thieves. What’s more, most modern CCTV systems can be accessed remotely via smartphone or tablet, meaning you can keep an eye on your business 24/7. Once installed, a CCTV system requires very little maintenance, making them the perfect ‘fit and forget’ security system. Our professional team of installers can offer a multitude of camera options, including single and multi-camera recording systems; all of which can be tailored to suit your needs.
If you want to know more about the camera systems available, or would like to receive a free survey and quote then please contact us.
Don’t forget to undertake regular checks
As businesses and residents become smarter, and the capabilities of security and technology improve, criminals are always looking to find more sophisticated methods to carry out their crimes. We suggest checking your security measures once a year to ensure everything is up-to-date and working to its best capacity. If you’re unsure how effective your security is, then consider getting suggestions from staff or seeking advice from your crime prevention officer at your local council or police station. They can often provide valuable advice regarding the most common types of crime in the area, what to look out for and where you might be most vulnerable. If you’re worried about cybercrime then contact your IT provider.