2020 has been the most unexpected of years in recent history. I think that once the dust has cleared and we all look back on it, the world will stop and think about just how much changed in the course of a few short months. So many people became sick, so many people lost their jobs, and so many businesses had to close their doors. Something that started as a public health issue quickly morphed into a political debate, and business owners often found themselves at the center of it. From staffing to health safety issues, no business has escaped the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Because many businesses have cut back on their staff or close their doors entirely, their security needs have changed as a result.
Security Concerns Before and After
Compared to your multinational conglomerates, a small business is going to feel the effects of any product lost or property damaged far more severely. Their business is their livelihood, so it’s of the utmost importance that a small business owner can protect their goods. Before the pandemic, it wasn’t terribly difficult. Outside of holidays and maybe one day out of the week, their store would be regularly staffed. Anyone looking to steal or damage property would immediately be faced by the store owner or another staff member.
Of course, most businesses have interior recording devices, just for safety and record-keeping, but these devices often record to a physical hard drive stored within the property. Once the pandemic hit, many stores couldn’t afford to stay open or risk the health of their employees. So, without on-premise staff to act as guardians or to check security footage, many small businesses have felt less secure than before.
These are hard times after all, and many people are finding it hard to get by without work. Small business owners are no different. If they are going to make it through, they cannot sacrifice their business’s physical safety. So, what are some of the ways that small business owners work around the limitations of the pandemic?
Securing Their Perimeters
Because many store owners have not been able to stay in their business as before, they have taken to securing the exteriors of their stores rather than the interiors. This can be seen in a couple of different ways. There is the securing of material possessions such as ladders, dumpsters, mop buckets, and signs; new and stronger locks; rolling metal shutters for door fronts, and new external surveillance equipment. Of course, this has cost some business owners more than they would have liked. Fortunately, the government has provided some financial backing, but business owners are still struggling to make it by.
As business is closing their doors and leaving their stores empty, and their focus has turned outward, let’s look into a few of the more popular security options for the outside of a business. Number one is good lighting. Burglars are less tempted to break into a store that is well lit. If passersby can easily see what is happening, it doesn’t make sense for a robber to attempt a break-in. Therefore, many small business owners have upgraded their exterior lighting. One popular option is motion-activated lighting. This saves on electricity and also has the added benefit of startling any would-be thief.
Another popular external security option is a new video camera. Before the virus, many business owners felt that it was unnecessary to put external recording devices up because they could watch the outside of their building. Video cameras are also prone to the environment and can be easily tampered with if out of sight. However, there is now a growing market for tamper-proof and weather-proof video cameras. Putting these up outside your store and setting them to record to an off-sight device shows potential robbers that you are always watching.
Although having a strong first line of defense has become many small business owners’ main priority, it’s still important for them to keep their store interiors safe as well. Whereas before, small business owners may have felt safe to leave their display cabinets out in the open, they can no longer remain on the premises as often, and many have opted to hide away their goods and lock up anything valuable or stored in the register. After all, if there are no customers, it doesn’t make much sense to leave valuables on display where a potential thief could case them.
Interior alarms have also become a priority for many small business owners. If a break-in does occur, the alarm with not only alert the owner and the authorities, but it could also scare off the burglar before they make off with something valuable. Most stores already have an alarm system, but if you haven’t checked on it in a while, it’s smart to do so now. Check the batteries and that all connections are still secure and functioning. An alarm can save your business quite a lot in losses.
Making It Through the Pandemic
I think we can all agree that this year has been nothing but difficult. Most people have stuck together and agreed to fight through these tough times, but don’t let your feelings of shared comradery trick you into thinking that everything is fine and dandy. Small business owners know that burglars take advantage of these sorts of situations. To stay ahead of opportunists, small business owners have to constantly rethink how they approach their safety and security policies. Many have shifted their focus to external security systems rather than guarding their stores.
But I like to think that that same sense of shared comradery is what will pull us all through. There is something to be said about shared trauma, and no one has fully escaped this pandemic. Like I said at the start, I think when we all look back on 2020, we will be shocked at how much changed—yes, some for the worst, but also some for the better.
About The Author
Avner is the owner of Security Camera NY, a locally-owned security & surveillance systems company that has been serving clients in the NYC Tri-State area since 2004.
Avner’s and his team bring together years of experience and expertise providing security solutions for residential and commercial properties.
a security camera in an urban setting -DepositPhotos