Tips to Prevent Theft
14 Tips to avoid a burglary at your business or construction site
In 2014, the latest year the FBI has full stats on, there were 1.7 million burglaries in the U.S. Of those, about 394,000 were commercial burglaries. Here are some tips to avoid a burglary at your small business or jobsite.
First and foremost, keep all areas well-lit at all times. Exterior lighting should illuminate any dark area, while interior lighting should allow those outside the business to see inside. Timers are great for these lights, to save money on electricity when it is daylight.
Those lights can help a jobsite camera catch a criminal in the act. With an IP camera, a live feed is always available, even off-site, allowing for constant surveillance. The very presence of cameras can act as a deterrent to potential burglars.
Rather than having a physical guard, a virtual guard can monitor the entire area in seconds using video analytics, and can alert law enforcement of any unwanted intrusion.
Put deadbolts on doors that lead outside, and extra locks on interior doors. Doorknob locks are essentially useless in a business environment. Ensure that doors are sturdy and hard to kick in. If needed, doors can be reinforced with a steel plate. Be sure all doors are locked at the end of the business day, or when the last person leaves the jobsite – the best doors in the world won’t matter if they are left unlocked. Also ensure that either hinges are on the inside of the doorway, or have non-removable pins. Padlock any rolling or garage doors.
Display windows should be reinforced glass to prevent a burglar breaking in. Windows in doors should be made of laminated or clear acrylic glass.
Don’t discount the old movie trope of sneaking through vents. Make sure all ventilation, crawl spaces, or any area shared with another business – such as an attic – are secured. Bars should cover skylights, and windows if possible.
Limited Roof Access
Ladders, trees, drain pipes and other close rooftops can provide access to your business. Clear away any access by covering and locking ladders, trimming trees and securing any way into the business from the roof, such as a skylight. Install alarm sensors for added protection.
Secure Fences and Gates
Especially important at job sites, fences and gates can be the first line of defense. Fences should be as sturdy as possible. The bottom of a chain link fence should be secured so burglars are not able lift the bottom of the fence and slip under. Fences should be at least six feet high. Check to see if your local laws allow sharp-point fences. Secure gates with locks that are hard to pick or cut through.
Motion viewers on a video-verified alarm system can send video straight to a central command center that can dispatch local police as motion is detected, allowing for rapid response. Combine this with either an audible or silent alarm triggered by windows and doors opening.
Don’t keep Money
Employ a system of continual bank drops for money, especially large bills. Make periodic drops throughout the day, so any burglary will have minimal effect on cash at hand should they succeed.
Empty the Safe
Building on the last point, keep the safe as empty as possible. Don’t keep more money on the premises than is strictly necessary. If it isn’t there, burglars can’t steal it. Keeping the safe bolted to the building but in a well-lit, visible place will make it much harder for burglars to do anything untoward without someone seeing them. A silent alarm and surveillance cameras pointed at the safe provide extra protection.
Keep the Property in Good Condition
Burglars target businesses and job sites not kept in good condition. A business that does not look well taken care of likely means the owner or tenant doesn’t care about the business – meaning little security and an easy target. Pick up trash, erase graffiti and replace any broken property. Ensure upkeep of any landscaping, such as trimming bushes and pulling weeds.
Signs can act as a deterrent, letting any prospective criminal know they are under surveillance. If they know they are being watched, and could possibly be identified by cameras, they are less likely to go through with their plans.
Do a thorough background check on all new employees. Audit any employee that works with money, and do surprise inspections – such as whether doors are actually being locked. An insider can give a potential burglar a huge advantage against any alarm system.