The cost burden of criminal activity on your business can be high. Theft, vandalism and arson are some of the more well-known crimes that can severely dent your business activities – and even your confidence as a business person.
It is up to you as a business owner/operator, to ensure that your premises and all the staff and customers who frequent it are made to feel safe and sound.
It’s impossible to pinpoint and eradicate all risk factors, but you’ll sleep soundly at night knowing that you’ve taken precautions against some of the more significant complications that can damage your business in more ways than one.
Risk assessments, while they may seem trivial and something to pop onto the to-do list, are incredibly important, and they’re a must-have skill for any modern business owner.
They pinpoint areas most at risk and will give you the information you’ll need to prioritise and plan out your approach.
Firstly, you should begin your review of the security processes, by first targeting the real risks that could damage your premises. This comes in two phases:
Phase 1: Root Out Weakness in Your Security Procedures.
- Unsecured bottom floor windows and/or doors.
- Items that could attract thieves, i.e. laptops and other expensive electronics.
- Potentially flammable materials.
- Weak walls and fences.
Phase 2: Consider Threats In The Local Community.
There are several websites you can use to study the most common crimes afflicting your local community, and while those sorts of crimes may never impact your business, you can at least be prepared.
It’s also worth talking to fellow businesspeople in the area…
“Have you been affected by crime in the area?”
“Have you implemented any proactive safety measures?”
These are the sorts of questions you should ask in order to give you a basic outline for your plan.
Basic Crime Prevention Tools
It’s important to take specific threats seriously, but it is also just as important to take the initiative and implement some basic measures that can deter the criminal in the first place.
Employ A Security Manager – This person will have ultimate control of all security processes and will periodically review and determine where improvements are needed.
Controlled Access – Receptionists are the ultimate gatekeepers – they’re able to control who enters and leaves the premises. Every visitor will need to state their purpose for visiting and will be given lanyards and guest cards to enter only the necessary parts of the building. This is also an important fire safety element as well because you can determine precisely how many people are in the building.
Security Policies – Emphasise the importance of reporting unrecognised visitors to security or the people in charge. All keys and fobs should be kept safe at all times and the last person to leave the building must take responsibility for ensuring the premises is secure.
Physical Crime Prevention Tools
Implementing physical security tools will create a round the clock barrier against theft and other kinds of crimes.
Ensuring Locks & Keys Are Insurance Certified – Insurance companies often require certified locks. Installing locks with registered keys means that only the named person can provide consent for copies to be made.
Securing Windows – It seems obvious, but unsecured windows are used in 3 out of every 10 robberies. If this is something of a trend in your area, then think about installing steel grilles or iron bars.
Securing the Perimeter – This is particularly important if your business operates in more out of the way areas, like a warehouse or a farm for example. If your premises is surrounded by walls or fences, install curls of barbed wire to deter potential climbers.
If you’re based in more of a suburbanised area, then installing lights to illuminate entry points will ensure that any onlookers will easily spot someone attempting to enter the premises.
Electronic Crime Prevention Tools
Electronic crime prevention tools must run alongside your physical countermeasures to decrease the chances of crime impacting your business.
These most commonly include:
Alarm Systems – You’ll need to ask yourself the following questions before you purchase a system:
“Does this alarm conform to insurance company specifications?”
“Does this alarm solely make noise or is it connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre?”
“Does it include technology to protect against false alarms?”
Closed Circuit TV – CCTV is a brilliant way to deter potential criminal activity, alert staff and to catch a criminal after a crime is committed.
The sight of CCTV is often enough to put off any potential acts of criminality, but when the action is carried through regardless, it can often be the determining factor in the capture of the culprit.
IT Equipment Protection
Computers and other electronic devices, such as tablets are extensively targeted by criminals. In order to deter potential thieves consider:
- Keeping IT equipment away from high visibility areas.
- Use PC locks to ensure items can’t be removed without the combination.
- Ensure server rooms are locked and are only accessible by specific personnel.
- Move laptops and other portable devices into a safe place, like a locked cupboard.
Accidental & Purposeful Fire Precautions
Ensure you take out the following fire safety measures:
- Keep flammable liquids stored away where possible (under lock and key if necessary)
- Install fire alarms and smoke detectors
- Ensure the correct fire extinguishers are provided throughout the premises.
Whether you’re a small business or a part of a large multinational corporation, you’ll need to ensure your business, staff and property are protected.
Of course, it isn’t realistic to expect that you’ll be able to say that there is no longer even a risk of risk in your business, but doing everything possible will give you the peace of mind you need moving forward.