How To Secure Your Business

How To Secure Your Business bb3 Sep 11, 2011

By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee

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Burglary, robbery, and theft are some of the greatest sources of crime losses for businesses.

Regardless of location, your business may be vulnerable. There are steps you can take to reduce your vulnerability to crime. This section will help you identify potential crimes and measures you can take to prevent them.

Learn more about developing a loss prevention program for your business.

Burglary Protection

Burglars choose targets that are easily accessible – protect your business by making it uninviting to a burglar and making it hard to gain entry. You should take measures to increase the likelihood the burglar will get caught if they do try to enter your business.

Finally, if the burglar is able to gain entry, you can limit the amount of loss by making it hard to remove valuable items.

Make Your Business Uninviting To A Burglar

Lighting – Burglars like to work in the cover of darkness. Good lighting – both inside and out – is one of the most effective deterrents against burglary. Pay special attention to areas that are not in plain view – where burglars often try to make entry. Protect exterior lighting fixtures against breakage and replace damaged or burned-out bulbs as soon as possible.

Keep valuable merchandise illuminated, but away from display windows where they could be a target of a quick "smash and grab."

Exterior – Eliminate hiding places around your building. Overgrown shrubbery, vehicles, and garbage dumpsters near the building provide excellent cover for burglars.

Barriers – Fencing provides a barrier that may help deter would-be burglars.

Make It Hard For A Burglar To Gain Entry

Doors – All exterior doors should be equipped with a deadbolt lock that has a bolt extending at least 2.5cm into the jam. (Check fire and building codes before installing deadbolts, since some jurisdictions limit the use of such locks on doors used as exits.)

Side and rear doors should be of solid wood or steel construction and installed in reinforced steel frames. Avoid using doors with hinge pins on the outside where they can be easily removed. Equip outward swinging doors with hinges that have non-removable pins. Secure overhead garage-type doors with padlocks on the roller channel.

Windows – Exterior windows can be covered with burglar-resistant glazing. This provides the appearance of glass while increasing security.

Many window locks are simply latches that can easily be pried open. Ask a locksmith or security equipment supplier how you can select more secure window locks.

Other openings – Skylights, ventilation ducts, grilles, and transoms over doors may also be used by intruders and should be protected. Seek the advice of a security expert or your police department on protecting these points of entry.

Increase The Chances That A Burglar Will Be Caught

An effective alarm system is one of the best ways you can protect your business against burglary. There are a variety of different alarms available ranging from very basic local alarms to highly sophisticated integrated systems.

Listings and Certifications – Check equipment for Underwriters Laboratories Canada (ULC) listing or other agency approval to assure that it meets quality standards.

Detection Equipment – Alarms can involve protection of the perimeter, area, or object. Perimeter protection covers the outside surface of the building. Area protection covers an entire space or area – such as the inside of a building. Object protection covers a particular object – such as a safe.

Alarm System Monitoring – Determine who is notified should your alarm activate. More complex systems offer a monitoring service that notifies the authorities when the system detects a burglar. Other systems are designed to transmit an alarm directly to a police station. The latter is only available in communities where there is a special alarm panel at the police station.

Maintenance and Service – Regular testing and maintenance is necessary to ensure the alarm system is functioning properly. A testing and maintenance contract is one of the requirements for UL certification.

Consult a security expert for advice on which system is best for your business. If you have an alarm system, be sure to prominently display decals and signs indicating it is present.

Make It Hard For The Burglar To Remove Valuable Items

Even if your business does not stock valuable items, consider the money or cheques you routinely handle. Deposit large amounts of money in the bank as soon as possible, but if you must keep substantial amounts, keep these in a safe for protection from burglars and fires.

Classification – Safes are classified as either fire-resistive or burglary-resistive and are rated for performance by Underwriters laboratories, Inc. Select a safe based on the values to be protected. A higher level of protection should be chosen for high value merchandise or large amounts of money. By anchoring a safe in a well-lit area, there's a better chance burglars would be noticed if they tried to open or remove the safe.

Note: A common fire safe, including an older, unlabelled safe, offers little or no burglary protection – only fire protection.

Robbery Protection

Armed robbery is less likely than burglary, but it is a more dangerous threat to you, your employees, and customers. Robbers choose targets that have cash readily available, accessible, and have loose security procedures. Even with the best precautions, robberies still occur.

Money Handling – The best robbery prevention strategy is to reduce the amount of money that is kept at the business. Making regular deposits will reduce the risk of robbery. Also, consider prohibiting transactions involving large bills during high-risk hours.

Hold-up Alarms – This type of alarm system is designed to notify the authorities when a robbery has occurred. Employees should be properly trained in the use of the system. Regular maintenance and testing is necessary to ensure it is functioning properly.

Closed Circuit TV or Videotape Systems -- Use of these types of systems provides a means to identify the robber.

Employee Training – Advise employees what to do in the event of a robbery &ndash for example, do not provoke the robber but cooperate and try to remember every detail that might help police.

Employee Dishonesty

Even though you may think it could never happen to you, employee dishonesty does occur and it is costly. This could range from something as simple as under-ring cash register receipts to sophisticated bookkeeping and computer fraud. Having controls can help minimize employee crime.

Employee Controls – Your best defence against employee theft is to hire honest employees. Thoroughly screen all job applicants prior to employment, and check references. Take extra precautions with those employees who will have financial responsibilities.

Internal Controls – Make sure no one employee is responsible for all phases of transactions involving cash and merchandise. For example, employees handling cash receipts should not verify the daily totals. Employees handling verification of receipts or bank deposits should not handle the receipts or deposits. Organize workflow so that the work of one employee acts as a check on the work of another. Require a second signature for disbursement cheques over $500. Require employees to use passwords to access computers or networks. Conduct regular inventory audits of all property. Keep backup copies of the accounting records and store them off the premises.

Security – Maintain control over access to building keys. Keep an accurate record of those employees who have been assigned keys. Keep keys in a locked cabinet if possible. Make sure all shop, warehouse, and office keys are the type that cannot be duplicated without the master. Some employers change locks whenever an employee leaves or is dismissed.

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