Burglary, robbery, and vandalism can be particularly devastating to small businesses in terms of financial loss and customer and employee safety. Merchandise and equipment could be damaged or stolen, and employees and customers could be in mortal danger if your facility is robbed.
These types of risks to your business are unpredictable, but there are steps that business owners can take to protect their assets and employees.
- Establish and enforce clear policies about employee theft, substance abuse, crime reporting, opening and closing, and other security procedures. Provide training for all employees on security procedures.
- Use good locks, safes, and alarm systems; keep detailed inventories and banking records; and store backup copies off-premises.
- Engrave valuable office equipment and tools with identifying information.
- Have outside entrances and security doors fitted with deadbolt locks. Security doors should be metal lined. Secure the doors with metal cross bars, and install security hinges or peen hinge pins.
- Remove expensive items from window displays and have a night light so law enforcement officers can easily see into the building after closing.
- Light the outside, especially around doors and windows, and keep lights covered or placed high to prevent tampering.
- Have a fireproof safe, and leave it open when empty. Do the same with the cash register.
- Change the combinations and keys when an employee who has had access leaves the business.
- Robbery does not occur as often as other crimes, but if confronted by a robber, you should cooperate. Merchandise and cash can be replaced, but people can’t.
- Employees should greet every person who enters in a friendly manner, as personal contact can discourage a would-be criminal.
- Keep windows clear of displays and signs, and make sure the business is well-lit. Eliminate any blind spots that may hide a robbery in progress.
- Instruct employees to report any suspicious activity or person and to write down the information for future reference.
- Make your bank deposits often – and during business hours. Do not establish a pattern; take different routes and times.
- Make sure your physical address is visible so that emergency vehicles can easily find your business.
- Ask law enforcement for advice on alarms, locks, and other security measures.
- Annual damages in the United States due to vandalism are in the billions. And with the social unrest in some cities in recent times, the risks are increasing along with the damage.
- Use landscape designs, building materials, lighting, or fences to discourage vandals.
- Clean up any vandalism as soon as it happens, and work with local law enforcement to report vandalism.
- Organize a business watch that is modeled after the neighborhood watch. Be alert and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement immediately, even if it means taking a chance on being wrong.