Unfortunately, businesses are more at risk of crime than private households, due to the various opportunities they present for criminal activity. Reducing the risk of crime will help protect your profits and make sure that the people who work with you are safe.
We have information on how you, as a business owner or manager, can reduce the risks of becoming a victim of crime. Not all of the advice will be right for you, but following some of it could make all the difference.
If you’ve already been a victim of crime, taking action to prevent further incidents is particularly important.
What you can do to prevent a burglary taking place on your premises?
- Train your staff – Inform your staff of the burglary prevention measures you have taken and the correct use of any equipment you have installed.
- Reporting suspicious circumstances –Explain to staff the importance, for example, of keeping a watchful eye for suspicious people or vehicles to prevent people ‘casing’ your premises.
- Get them involved – You can develop their commitment to crime prevention by asking their opinions and ideas about the measures you are taking or propose to take.
- Key security – Build key security into your staff training programme. Ensure that only specially selected staff have access to certain keys or combination locks, and that keys to secure areas are not left within the shop.
- Clear up the inside of your premises
- Look after stock and cash – Remove high value goods from window displays
- Hide stock – Burglars will be less likely to break into your stock room if you hide what is in it by boarding or whitewashing over the windows.
- Leave the till open – By leaving the till visible, open and clearly empty, any burglars seeking cash are likely to lose interest.
- Reduce stock – The less you have in stock to attract a potential burglar, the less can be taken.
- Bank your cash – If you do not leave cash in the store overnight it cannot be stolen in a burglary. Night safe facilities are available after opening hours. If you do not use a specialist cash collection agency be sure you vary the route you take to the bank and the time you leave the shop.
- Physically protect the target
- Strengthening potential entrances – Use high quality (hardwood) door frames and doors, steel reinforcing and anti-thrust bolts on vulnerable doors and bars on vulnerable windows. Glass panels in doors are particularly vulnerable to attack. Ask for materials that comply with the minimum strength set out by the construction industry.
- Grilles and shutters – These can be an excellent way of deterring burglars, but externally fitted varieties will need planning permission.
- Glass film – A reasonably cheap way of improving the strength of glass windows against smash and grab attacks is by applying a plastic film, available in various grades, to the rear of the window. Mirror-finished film on rear windows will both increase the strength of the glass and fully restrict a burglar’s view into rear storage areas.
- Laminated glass – This is harder to break due to the way it is manufactured. However, to be effective you must ensure that window frames and fixings are equally strong, and bear in mind that you will often have to pay to replace the glass even if the burglar were not able to take your stock.
- Safes – A good quality safe will protect cash and valuable items overnight but you should take the added precaution of bolting it in place and positioning it discreetly. If you have a burglar alarm or are filling one you can include sensors inside the safe that will set the alarm off if the safe is opened.
- Vehicle traps – Fixing bollards into the ground around your premises will protect against ram raiders, but you will need to consult your local planning authority and your landlord. Some designs of bollard can be removed during trading hours. Large concrete plant containers can be uses as an alternative to bollards. Road blocker devices can be used to close of vehicle entrances overnight. Much depends on your location and circumstances.
- Watching and deterring intruders
- Intruder alarms – You may deter potential burglars if you display evidence that you have fitted an intruder alarm. Others may be scared off if they are breaking in and hear alarm bells go off.
- Video surveillance – Burglars are deterred by closed circuit television cameras monitoring the outside or inside of the building at night and they can also help police to detect the burglars. Stringent codes of practice need to be followed – including ensuring the date and time are incorporated into the recording – before video evidence can be successfully use in prosecution.
- Locking escape routes – Commercial burglars often plan to use exit routes that are different from their entry routes. In view of this, you need to make it as difficult to get out as it is to get in. Make sure windows, doors, panic escape bars and internal doors are locked overnight and shut off the power supply for loading bay shutters.
- Lighting – Install lights that are activated by someone approaching your shop. It may deter a potential burglar. It will increase the chances of an intruder being noticed.
A retailer may never eliminate shoplifting entirely, but there are some simple steps you can take to help protect yourself from thieves:
- Invest in a properly managed CCTV system. Make sure appropriate signage is displayed.
- Consider placing a wall mounted CCTV monitor near to till points.
- If you are designing your shop try and use low-level aisles so your staff can see customers at all times. Use mirrors to reduce blind spots.
- Manage the obstructions in your store and avoid shelving or displays so high that they obscure surveillance.
- Do not place displays of tempting goods close to doors.
- Your staff are amongst your most important and effective defences against shoplifters – ensure you provide them with proper training.
- Either empty packets of high value goods or put them behind or near checkout areas.
- Consider investing in a store security guard, join a retail radio scheme or business watch scheme, if one operates in your area – this means you can be alerted if known shoplifters are near your premises.
- If your store has a fitting room, introduce restrictions on access and have an attendant monitor all stock going in and coming out. Be sure to check the fitting rooms frequently for garments left behind. Pay special attention to discarded price tags, security tags and hangers – these may be an indication that shoplifting has already occurred.
- displaying goods within glass cabinets with good quality locks
- warning notices and signs warning customers of the consequences of theft
- displaying alarms which loop around products and sound when disconnected or cut
Organised crime has been quick to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet, particularly the growth in e-commerce and online banking.
Specialist criminal groups target individuals, small businesses and large corporate networks to steal personal information in bulk in order to profit from the compromised data available to them.
Common cyber threats
- Phishing: bogus emails asking for security information and personal details
- Webcam manager: where criminals takeover your webcam
- File hijacker: where criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom
- Keylogging: where criminals record what you type on your keyboard
- Screenshot manager: allows criminals take screenshots of your computer screen
- Ad clicker: allows a criminal to direct a victim’s computer to click a specific link
- Hacking: seek to gain unauthorised access to computer networks and systems and take administrative control of these.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks: prevent legitimate access to online services by swamping the communications links with a mass of traffic
The following are tips for small businesses to take to stave off cyber crime.
- Keep your operating systems updated and regularly patched
- Have a firewall plus software that opposes virus, spyware and phishing attacks
- Keep your browsers updated at all times with the latest version of the software
- Keep all system software updated
- Encrypt your wireless network
- Restrict software and set up administrative rights so that nothing can be installed on company computers without authorization
- Use filtering that controls access to data
- Block access to restricted sites with Internet filters to prevent employees and hackers from uploading data to storage clouds
- Remove or disable USB ports so that malicious data can’t be downloaded
- Implement strict password policies
- Encrypt entire drives, folders and files