Summer is a time of year at which more commercial and residential properties are especially vulnerable to break-ins. This is so for a number of reasons, which we’ll explore in this article. Fortunately, businesses have access to a number of different technological and procedural tools which will help them to combat this threat.
In order to prevent theft, it’s first important to understand how a would-be thief thinks. Successful burglars are usually opportunists. They tend to operate not after careful planning, but by seeing a weakness and exploiting it immediately.
Thieves will therefore see an open window or an abandoned piece of equipment and see it as an opportunity for profit. If the risk seems lesser, then this opportunity will seem greater. In order to reduce the likelihood of a break-in, then, it’s important to ensure that the risks seem insurmountable and the rewards seem paltry. We can do this with the help of visible security measures.
What opportunities might arise during the summer?
Taking a break
Most of us choose to take our annual break during the summer. This means that throughout June, July and August, business premises across the country will be emptier than they otherwise might be – which means that the potential risks for an intruder are reduced.
Burglars will look for signs that a business is vulnerable and one of these signs is a lack of staff. The fewer staff there, the more vulnerable the building. One might counteract this by hiring extra security staff during spells where lots of holiday time has been booked. Alternatively, you might limit the holidays that can be taken simultaneously.
If you’re running a small business, then it might be impractical to have a security presence onsite. Fortunately, there are a few different ways in which we might better safeguard our premises – the most effective of these being technological.
One of the most effective deterrents against would-be thieves is the prospect of being under surveillance. This is what makes motion-sensitive security lights such an effective deterrent – they put intruders constantly on edge with the prospect of being suddenly made extremely visible. But security lights are less effective in daylight hours – and si08nce there will be more of these in the summer, it’s advisable to complement your security lights with some cameras.
The most effective camera systems are those which are monitored constantly. Smaller businesses might not have the resources to do this – but fortunately, it’s easy to outsource this task to a central remote monitoring station, which is constantly manned and which will be able to observe break-ins as they happen, log the footage and alert the police as quickly as possible.
Since the weather is warmer in summer, many of us seek to cool down by leaving a window open. Some of us even do this by leaving our windows open for long period of time – even when we’re out of the building. This presents an obvious target for would-be thieves. So, if you’re going to open a window, be sure to close it again once you leave the premises – or even the room. Get your staff into the routine of checking all windows before they leave and apply penalties to those who don’t.
Obviously, this is more of a concern for those on the ground floor – but burglars have been known to scale walls in order to secure access to a building – so don’t give them the opportunity to try!
Equipment left out
If you’re running a business which requires the use of high-value tools, then you’ll need to make sure that such tools are left out of sight when not in use. Construction site operators are at particular risk from thievery for a number of reasons – and the ease with which pneumatic drills, diggers and cement mixers can be transported away and sold on the black market is one of them.
If they’re going to be returning to these items the very next day, then your staff might be tempted to leave such items out in the open. But doing so is an open invitation to thieves. Building equipment is something that there’s always high demand for and so it’s easy for a thief to fence – consequently, they’ll be on constant lookout for such items – don’t grant them the opportunity.
What other steps might I take?
Thus far we’ve taken a look at the major causes of summer burglary. But our list is by no means a comprehensive one. Let’s take a look at some of the other things you might do to guard against burglary.
Fences are easily vaulted over. But this needn’t be the case. A suitably thorny bush, or a set of spikes at the top of the fence, can present enough of an obstacle to dissuade the majority of thieves. Razor wire will make a fence insurmountable, but it might not look particularly pleasant. You’ll therefore need to balance the look of your premises with the potential rewards.
Deadbolts on exterior doors can halt a would-be thief in their tracks. As we’ve mentioned, most burglars are not going to take big risks – they’ll make efforts only when they’re easily rewarded. A locked door is an obstacle too far for most. Put your high-value assets – like cash – in a special safe, and ensure that the safe is built into the structure of the building. There’s little point in keeping a safe if it can be easily ripped up and transported elsewhere.
It’s also worth considering the visibility of your security measures. The sight of a burglar alarm, a motion-activated floodlight, or a security camera or two, will be enough to dissuade all but the most determined of thieves. And if they can’t be dissuaded, then your newly-installed security system will make it possible to identify them after the fact!
Remember that no businesses are built alike. The procedures in place might differ, as might the dimensions of the premises. You’ll therefore need to carefully examine your own business with a risk-assessment, and determine where the weaknesses are and how they might be addressed. This way you can ensure that any action you take is as effective as it should be.