How To Protect Your Business from Crime
How secure is your business from potential theft or robbery? According to the Department of Justice, there were more than 9 million property crime offenses in the United States in 2010 and an estimated loss total of $15.7 billion. Whether from an outsider, a customer or an employee (past or present), every business is at some risk for crime. In addition, the National Insurance Crime Bureau released a 2012 heavy equipment theft report, estimating that 10,925 heavy equipment thefts were reported. A comprehensive premise security plan can protect your building, equipment and even your employees from crime.
Assess the Risks
The first key to protecting your property is to understand the risks you face from a crime standpoint. A security expert can provide a detailed risk assessment for you and you can then decide which items are priorities and come up with premise protection that meets your company budget.
Chris McGoey is an internationally recognized security consultant and had completed more than 7,000 security assessments for commercial properties. He also runs the security information site CrimeDoctor.com.
“Risk assessment means that, ideally, a professional security consultant looks at the nature of the business, the crime history at the location and surrounding area, and designs a security plan to counter foreseeable threats or losses at that location,” says McGoey.
If your business is on a tight budget, McGoey suggests contacting the local police department. In some communities, where there are qualified officers who understand business security issues, the police will offer a free business assessment. McGoey trains officers all around the country on how to offer this through his service Crime Free Business.
Choose a Security System
There are so many options for security systems that it can seem overwhelming to business owners. Take the time to find out which system would work best for your particular location. For example, if you have a large parking lot or storage warehouse, you will need a different system than if you only have a small one-person office.
McGoey says that one of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing a security system is: “They buy the cheapest system from Costco and install it themselves or have a friend named Bubba install it. They don’t hire a professional security company to sell and install the proper equipment suited for the nature of their business.”
Another concern is that if the system breaks down or needs maintenance, the company won’t know who to call to fix it or how best to replace the system.
There are some simple things anyone can do to decrease crime, even if the budget is very small. While not always the case, often, a crime is committed by someone who has inside knowledge of how the company runs or a disgruntled customer.
“Simple inexpensive changes are policy and procedural and involve hiring, training and supervision of employees as well as offering better customer service.”
Other simple changes you can make:
Routine Is Key. Create an opening and closing routine, so that doors are always locked, cash deposited in the bank and computers logged out.
Make It Secure. Secure company vehicles by locking doors and not leaving any expensive items in view from vehicle windows.
Hire Help. Hire a security company to provide security drive through from time to time. The security guard drives through your lot and ensures the premises are secure.
Have Back Up On Speed Dial. Keep the local police department number on speed dial in case of emergency, such as a business invasion or threat to person.
Light It Up. Outdoor lighting to illuminate any areas where a criminal could hide.
Get Rid Of The Temptation. Eliminate tall bushes around the building as these can also provide hiding places.
The FBI Crime Report estimates that about 40% of all break-ins occur without the use of force. This means that a window or door is left unlocked or a spare key is left outside and the burglar simply enters the premises and takes what he wants without breaking a window or kicking in a door. Know where all keys are, limit the number of people who have keys and put a system of checks in place so that one person is responsible for locking up and another checking that the door is actually locked at the end of each business day.
Training Is Vital
Nearly every business owner worries that someone will try to steal expensive equipment, cash or even enter the premises while employees are present and commit a robbery. One of the best ways to protect your business and your staff from crime is to train your employees in security and what to do in the case of an armed robber.
McGoey added, “Business owners need to seek security training ask for help or seek solutions before they become victims or someone gets hurt.”
Don’t wait until your business is the victim of a crime. While the hope is that a crime will never happen, by preparing today, you’ll not only reduce the risk of becoming a victim, you’ll know what to do should one occur.
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