The diversity of business operations can require individual security solutions tailored to the nature of a specific business, but there are general security principles applicable to most businesses in all sectors.
A good approach in assessing any potential vulnerability to your business, is to put yourself in the mind of a burglar and look for any weak spots that make your business an easy target. The key principles in reducing the opportunities for crime, are DETER, DELAY, DETECT and DENY.
Deterrence is generally achieved by creating in the offender some sort of fear. This could be fear from detection or capture, injury, failure and is achieved by the obvious presence of detection equipment such as CCTV cameras, signage and robust physical security.
Delaying an offender is essential. An opportunist will steal a laptop through an open car window, but if they have to spend time breaking into the car they are likely to be put off or choose another vehicle that has easier access. Delaying an offender also allows for a higher chance of detection and apprehension.
Detection by means of electronic measures or personnel will often deter an opportunistic offender. Encourage your staff to greet all unknown visitors with a polite “Can I help you?” to show them they have been noticed and not just assume they must be there to do some sort of work, regardless of their attire.
Denying entry or access to goods is the aim, however given time, any committed offender will be able to get through or over the toughest wall or fence.
Combining the Four Security Key Principles
While each of the four principles (deter, delay, detect, deny) can be effective as a stand alone security prevention element, the more you use - the more effective your security should be. In general, the higher the security risk the more security measures should be used to protect that item, person or information.
- Meet with staff to discuss risk assessment concerns and ideas for improving security.
- Seek advice or familiarise yourself with the various types of security products available and their individual applications.
- Contact neighbours to share contact details and information on local crime.
- Keep a record of and report suspicious activities, persons and vehicles to Police and or GETBA.
- Consider having a full audit by a Security Consultant to identify vulnerable areas.
- Secure items left outside your property that could be used for gaining entry such as ladders or tools.
- Move any external fixtures to the building that could provide an easy climbing aid to gain access to an upper level e.g. containers, pallets etc.
- Ensure doors and windows in plain sight are not obscured by shrubbery or trees that provide opportunities for concealment.
- Minimise places where an offender could hide and ensure clear sightlines.
- If your business could attract a ram-raid type entry, install solid bollards or raised concrete flower beds as a deterrent.
- If applicable, fix visible signs indicating that regular security patrols are conducted.
- Protect your boundary with see-through fencing to restrict multiple access routes to your property and to control entry and exit onto the surrounding land.
- Check security around your vents, skylights or potential access points, ensure the security is sufficient to deter unlawful entry.
- Increase security around doors or windows opening into a side or rear alley to minimise opportunities for concealment to any person attempting to gain entry.
- Walk around your building at night to check that all areas are sufficiently illuminated. As a general rule, in risky areas you should be able to identify a face 25 metres away from you.
- Install floodlights or security lights either low beam or on an activating beam.
- Regularly check that your external lights are in good working order.
- Position external lights at a sufficient height that they cannot be reached and disabled by a burglar.
- Keep some internal lights on after hours to discourage burglars, such as in the entrance, reception or other visible areas.
- Seek advice from a security lighting specialist, electrical contractor or supplier to select the most suitable type of lighting for your specific site.
- Check any external door hinges and ensure hinge security bolts have been fitted to prevent doors being opened if hinge pins are removed.
- Check doors for areas of glass near the lock. Modify to stop thieves breaking glass to reach through to unlock the door from the inside.
- Keep roller doors or tilt doors padlocked for additional security. Place a forklift or similar behind it to ensure if it is rammed that the impact is not taken on the door.
- All external doors should be solid core. Frames should be firmly secured or additionally protected to resist jemmying. If using padlocks, ensure they have a sufficient security rating.
- Protect all external doors, such as ranch sliders by bolts or other security mechanisms.
- Fit all exterior windows with quality locks, locking pins or bolts.
- Use burglar resistant glass where practicable in external ground floor windows.
- There are various levels of security protection afforded by different types of glass such as standard plate, tempered glass, wired glass, laminated safety glass, burglar resistant glass, polyester film protection, acrylic and polycarbonate materials. Consult a glazier.
- If more strengthening is required, install security bars, grilles, metal shutters, mesh or wire screening over ground floor windows.
- Do not leave valuable or attractive items in full view and within easy reach of external windows.
- Designate a staff member to be responsible for checking that all windows are closed and secured and doors locked, when the premises are closed at the end of the day.
- If you have an alarm, ensure there are clearly visible alarm warning signs on the exterior of the property as a deterrent to burglary.
- Test your alarm on a regular basis to ensure it is working properly.
- If the alarm was installed prior to your business moving into the building, check that the sensors are installed in appropriate positions for your unique risks and building layout.
- Ensure external sirens are fitted at a position and height to restrict access by an intruder seeking to disable the system. Remove anything that will assist a thief to access them.
- Internal sirens will discourage any intruder from remaining on the property.
CCTV may be useful as an identification tool if you are being targeted by thieves, but you need to ensure your standard of equipment is capable of providing high grade images, of a quality required for identification purposes. Check them regularly to ensure the camera is positioned well for the Police to be able to identify intruders and their vehicles. Also regularly check that the hard drive is working.
- It can be useful for staff to have natural surveillance over the car park from windows.
- Illuminate it at night where necessary.
- Advise customers not to leave valuable property in their vehicles, by use of signs or verbally.
- Photograph important items for ease of recognition and identification if they are stolen.
- Record a list of important items including their make, model and serial numbers.
- Permanently mark equipment without serial numbers.
- Retain a duplicate inventory of equipment and identifying numbers off site and keep it regularly updated.
- Have visible signs on the exterior of your building to say that all property has been marked for identification.
- Consider the use of secure worktop fittings for items such as laptop computers and ensure they are never left in view at the end of the working day.
- If your business stocks high value property, use a strong room or secure cabinets to secure the property after hours.
- Secure any tools in your workplace that a burglar could use to force cupboards or internal doors after hours.
- Keys to internal doors should be securely locked away.
- Keep the minimum amount of cash on the premises during office hours and avoid keeping any cash at all after hours.
- If you have a significant amount of cash that needs to be kept on the premises, keep it secure and out of sight in a safe.
- Leave cash registers on the premises open and empty of cash to avoid further damage.
- Show visible signage on the exterior of your building advising that No Cash is Kept on the Premises.
- Set up an Alert system for staff who may be in difficulty so that someone else can assist them.
- Escort night staff to their vehicles with a security patrol.
- Provide a secure place for staff to keep their valuables during the work day.