Some recent thefts have police reminding businesses and staff to make sure their workplaces are secure.
Rachel Zubick from the Vernon Community Safety Office says there’s been a recent string of incidents where thieves have gained access to restricted areas, resulted in personal belongings from unlocked lockers or storage areas being stolen.
Items taken include credit cards and car keys which have resulted in stolen vehicles.
Staff are reminded to make sure that access to staff rooms or common areas where they store personal belongings are constantly monitored or locked.
“Crimes against small businesses are often crimes of opportunity and thieves are looking for cash and an easy target,” says Zubick, the office’s coordinator.
Zubick says the Community Safety Office provides security audits using the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, which is free of charge to any business that would like to review their security.
“If you own or manage a business, the fear of burglary, a robbery or a major shoplifting loss is probably never far from your mind.”
Here are some tips on how to protect your small business:
Make sure trees and shrubs around the exterior of the building and entrance ways are trimmed (bushes trimmed down to 1 meter and trees up to 2 meters around).
Is your site clean of garbage, graffiti, etc? Garbage containers should have closed and lockable lids.
Keep the premises visible from the street; avoid blocking the interior view with high window displays and/or advertisements on windows.
Don’t leave ladders, tools or large objects lying around that a burglar could use to help him break in.
Does the lighting reach 10 meters? Is it evenly distributed? Lighting should limit or eliminate dark shadows in which people might hide.
Do you use a security company or have an alarm system? Are security cameras recording surveillance?
Do you have full surround fencing? Do you have a gate? Is the padlock always locked?
Clearly mark parking areas and entrances to the business
Doors and Windows:
Ensure all doors and windows:Use deadbolts with a 1 throw.
Have high security plates with 3 screws
Have adequate cylinder guards
Have full length astragals.
Use well installed bars or other window protection on windows and patio doors (e.g., anti-lift or anti-slide devices).
Consider the use of motion sensors and audible alarms and/or surveillance camera with internet access to make a verified alarm
Lock individual interior offices when not in use or to limit unauthorized access
Enforce policy on public access into the office or areas within the office
The appearance of a business can attract or deter crime and criminals. The following steps can help secure your business: Maintain the property. A rundown business or building will attract criminals, so make sure that the building, the landscaping, the sidewalks and the parking areas are all clean and well-maintained.
Do not keep old or damaged displays, posters or signs that are no longer useful to you.
Keep the building, especially the rear, well-lit at night.
Keep business premises clear of clutter and garbage.
Have the checkout counter near the front of the store, so that employees can monitor activities inside and outside the store.
Clearly mark public and private areas and make private areas hard to access for non-employees.
Control access to cash register area to protect against tampering with Point of Sale terminals (i.e., Interac PIN pads).•Keep trees near the building well-trimmed and secure escape ladders so that they cannot be used to access the roof.
Provide adequate lighting and eliminate blind spots. Do not use large displays or posters that would cover the windows and hamper visibility and sight lines.
Loading areas should be kept clean and free of large objects that could hide people.
Make sure that all entrances to the business are under constant visual surveillance. Consider installing annunciators on all unlocked doors.
Consider installing alarm systems and surveillance systems (e.g., convex mirrors and/or CCTV cameras and monitoring equipment
Additional Management Tips
Leave as little cash on site as possible, particularly after business hours and/or overnight. Empty your cash drawers and leave them open after hours. If you must keep cash on hand, store it in a safe or strong box that is securely anchored.
Develop and advertise a cash control policy that limits the amount of cash accessible by the cashier. Deposit cash in excess of this limit in a safe employees cannot open.
Make frequent bank deposits, but vary your routine enough so as to not establish a predictable pattern.
Try to maintain similar business hours to the stores around you. Work with neighbouring businesses to promote safety and address issues.
If a burglar does get in, don’t make it easy for him/her to remove items. Bolt racks to the floor, alternate hangers on the rack, lock small valuables in cabinets and keep more valuable items further away from exits.
If you discover a break-in, call the police immediately. Don’t enter the premises until police arrive. The thief may still be inside, or you may disturb evidence.
Establish general store security policy & procedures and provide staff with training.
Avoid having staff working alone, particularly at night. If this is not possible, implement a Working Alone Policy and provide training to staff on safety procedures
Provide staff with training on what to do in the event of a robbery. Never argue or try to be a hero – cooperate fully with the robber’s demands
For information on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design contact Rachael Zubick at 250-550-7840.