Commercial Property Theft

Types of Commercial Theft and How to Prevent It

By Carlos Hazbun | Commercial Buildings, Commercial Security, Parking Lot Security, Surveillance, Virtual Guard | No Comments

Types of Commercial Theft and How to Prevent It

Commercial property security represents an interesting paradox. In many cases, the buildings are open to the public, at least to some extent. Retailers and many types of office buildings rely on customer interaction and foot traffic to sustain their business. However, some members of the public represent threats of theft, property damage, and other crime.

Between 2004 and 2008, 12 percent of the criminal acts against people occurred in commercial places, and 7 percent took place in commercial parking lots or garages, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Companies face risk in managing their exposure in retail and commercial spaces, including parking lots and common areas.

The best approach to security for commercial properties is to create layers of security. Physical security — fences, gates, locks, door barriers, lighting, open sight lines in parking lots — are one layer. Another key layer for commercial security is employing remote video monitoring.

Remote video monitoring allows virtual security guards to maintain constant visual observation, aided by motion sensors and other technology that will alert them to an incident. With a remote video monitoring system, the video can be reviewed at any time by any authorized person, so people who respond don’t have to go on-site to review security footage.

Common Security Issues for Commercial Buildings

Risk of Unauthorized Persons

In a retail setting, it can be hard to distinguish between a loiterer and someone hanging around while their partner shops. Several years ago, social media spawned a new phenomenon, the flash mob. Sometimes they’re innocent gatherings of folks who dance to the latest hit song or stage an engagement. But some flash mobs are bent on crime sprees, gathering people to flood into a store and smash and grab as much merchandise as they can carry.

The National Retail Federation reported that 79 percent of retailers polled said they were a victim of a multiple offender crime, and 10 percent of those involved flash mob tactics.

Video surveillance can monitor these situations before they get out of hand, allowing store personnel to prepare, and alerting law enforcement when necessary.

Common Security Issues for Commercial Buildings

Parking Lot Security

Parking lots present opportunities for car theft, property theft from breaking into cars, vandalism, and robbery. In fact, 7 percent of violent crimes took place in commercial parking lots or garages according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Remote video monitoring can address these issues, improving risk management and safety for employees, customers, and visitors.

Security measures vary based on the size of the lot and other factors. For more information check out Security and Safety in Parking Lots.

With remote video surveillance, parking lots can be made safer for users, and the property owner can reduce liability exposure. High-tech solutions, such as thermal cameras that see in low light or through clouds and fog, can spot potential threats regardless of conditions.

Coupled with a virtual guard service remote monitoring can be used to provide virtual employee escorts for opening and closing times when there may be fewer people around.

Mobile Surveillance in Parking Lot

Special Events Security

Retail locations may host special events that draw large amounts of visitors in a short time. Some are seasonal — like Black Friday — and others may be the result of promotions, events, or even impromptu gatherings to celebrate a winning sporting championship. Crowds will often gather in parking lots or common areas in a retail center. Mall-based and tenant retailers often do not have full control over those areas.

For pre-planned events, security should be a priority for preparation. Retailers can secure extra staff and security ahead of time, set up crowd control, and give employees and nearby tenants advanced notice of the event.

Sudden, unplanned events or surges in traffic can take everyone by surprise. Remote video monitoring can help property managers and security personnel keep an eye on what’s going and gauge the need for a reaction.

Special Event Security

Employee and Customer Safety

Video surveillance plays a key role in providing for employee safety and managing risk. Remote virtual guards can watch employees during key periods, such as opening and closing when there may be a greater risk of a theft attempt. These virtual guards can also escort employees to and from their cars in the parking lot as well.

For small businesses, employee or customer injuries or damages can be costly. The Hartford’s survey of small businesses found that a customer injury or damage claim costs businesses on average $30,000, and customer slips and falls cost on average $20,000 per incident.

Make remote video surveillance a key part of your commercial property security strategy. In addition to physical security barriers, remote video surveillance adds a layer of security to monitor retail centers, parking lots and common areas 24 hours a day to ensure the safety of your customers, staff, and property.


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The Complete Guide to Commercial Property Security