Last Updated on July 1, 2022 by azamqasim
Any business owner knows that keeping their premises secure is a top priority. Break-ins, theft, vandalism, and arson can threaten the longevity of a business, as well as cause emotional distress for owners and employees. Operating 24/7 security measures is a must for any business premises.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the most commonly reported types of crime against small businesses are robbery, burglary, theft, and criminal damage – which make up 83% of ‘traditional’ crimes against businesses and their property. With theft and burglary causing the most disruption and financial loss for smaller businesses, it’s worth taking steps to prevent these crimes.
So, what can you do to keep your property safe from burglars and vandals? It’s important to do a risk assessment of your premises to identify the weak points in your security, then choose the measures that would be best to make your property safer and install them. To help you out, we’ve listed seven ways to keep your business secure below – from locks and alarms to shutters and employee training.
1) High-quality locks on potential entry points
Facts and figures gathered by Review 42 reveal that thieves enter through unlocked doors in 1 out of 7 burglaries, while they enter through unlocked windows in 1 out of 5. So, while it may sound obvious, you should make sure that every single openable window and door has a suitable lock.
You should install strong, tamper-proof locks that conform to British Standard BS 3621. This is usually a minimum requirement for insurance companies, too. Avoid labelling keys explicitly in case they fall into the wrong hands – try using a code that only employees will understand. It should go without saying, but always lock everything up properly whenever the premises are left unoccupied.
2) Metal shutters on windows and doors
When burglars can’t get access through an unlocked door or window, they have to resort to forced entry. Literal break-ins can result in damage costing an average of £100-£5,000 to repair, with the bill running even higher depending on the type and number of smashed windows and broken doors.
While reinforced glass is one option, your property may still be vulnerable to ‘smash and grab’ style crimes. An extra step is to install steel bars or grilles across windows, but this can be unsightly. To protect your premises while nobody is there, industrial roller shutters are the better investment.
Secure shutters can be a big deterrent for would-be thieves. They’re simple to install and operate, but much harder to break through without lots of time and heavy-duty tools. It’s easy to find a local supplier and fitter to order from – just search online for roller shutters in Liverpool, for example.
3) Boundary walls or fences
Does your property extend to an exterior area, such as a car park? Is this area surrounded by a wall or fence that’s high enough to deter people from climbing over? Does it have a gate that can be left locked overnight? Are there bins or anything against left against the walls that can be climbed on?
Unless your premises are high-risk for attempted burglaries, measures like broken glass and barbed wire can seem excessive and off-putting for potential customers and clients. Alternative options like anti-climb paint may be enough, or anti-ram barriers such as bollards or high-visibility crash barriers.
4) Monitored alarm systems
Every business should have an alarm system. Sophisticated electronic alarms are more affordable than ever nowadays, which can automatically notify the police and a designated keyholder if an intruder trips the alarm. Displaying signs advertising that your property is alarmed can go a long way in discouraging criminals. Just make sure your alarms comply with British Standards BS EN 50131.
Be sure that anyone responsible for locking up knows how to operate the alarm system, and change the codes regularly. You should also carry out tests every now and then to make sure the system is working properly. If you want to go a step further, you could set up a monitored alarm system that’s connected to a security company, whose dedicated personnel can attend when the alarm goes off.
5) CCTV and motion detection lights
The last thing criminals want is to be seen and possibly identified, which is why you should install other electronic security measures to deter them. Fitting motion-detection lights around the exterior of your property that flood low-visibility areas with bright light when triggered by movement can scare people off, which also makes things safer for employees when leaving and locking up at night.
Security cameras are also a must-have for most businesses – even fake ones can be enough to make criminals think twice. Of course, it’s better to have a working surveillance system, as the police are more likely to find the culprit if you catch them on camera. There are many different types of CCTV systems to choose from, and like the alarms, they can be monitored by an external security team. However, you do need to remember to comply with data protection laws when it comes to filming.
6) Security procedure training for all employees
The weakest spot in your property’s armour is likely to be human error. Alarms, cameras, and locks won’t do much good if people forget to use them, or don’t do so properly. This is why it’s important to have a written security policy that clearly explains employee responsibilities concerning safety and security – from keyholding to data sharing, and visitor procedures to emergency responses.
Just as two-factor authentication, strong passwords, and anti-virus software can protect your business digitally, up-to-date security training for your staff will improve the physical safety of your business. You should reinforce security-conscious habits like hiding valuables out of sight, handling cash carefully, and not advertising when the property will be unoccupied. To minimise potential losses, you should also keep an inventory of your assets, and mark valuable items with UV pen.
7) Controlling public access to your premises
If your doors and windows use traditional keys, you should limit who has copies and keep a record of who has access to what. You should number all keys, and if any are lost or stolen, you should change the corresponding locks as soon as possible to be on the safe side. Alternatively, you could look into keyless entry options, from simple key codes and staff swipe cards to high-tech biometric scanners.
There are many other types of access control systems available, including basic intercom systems with audio only or ones with video, too. These reduce the risk of unauthorised entry, along with measures like a register at the receptionist desk in an office and making sure that employees wear some kind of identification while on the premises. Additionally, you should be sure to recover any keys or entry cards whenever an employee leaves, and change any keypad access codes as well.
Protect your business against burglary and vandalism
Unfortunately, in almost half of cases where a business reports a crime against them to the police, no further action is taken and they fail to identify or arrest the perpetrators. It’s best to do all you can to avoid being the victim of a crime in the first place, which is why over 70% of small businesses take defensive measures – most commonly upgrading physical security solutions like locks and CCTV.
Of course, every business has different security needs, and there’s no single one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to fully assess the unique risks to your property and take the appropriate steps to address any weak points you find. You should also stay on top of maintenance for your new security measures – for example, quickly arranging roller shutter repairs in Liverpool if yours stop working.
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