For entrepreneurs, failure is only a hop, a skip, and a jump away. Bleak, yes. According to Forbes, 90% of start-ups will eventually crash and burn into obscurity. That makes every decision—from financial to security—managers and business owners make imperative. Failure to properly manage business security could lead to a loss of merchandise and money or the damage of equipment or property that the company cannot afford. As a business owner or company manager, it is within your best interest to ensure sophisticated security measures are in place.
Will It Really Prevent Crime?
You might be thinking, why waste money on crime prevention? Can a business owner really prevent crime? Aren’t some neighborhoods more prone to crime than others? A presentation by John Eck at Portland State University, Reducing Crime and Disorder at Problem Places, touches on the fact that managers can directly influence the level of crime present at an establishment.
John E. Eck, a criminal justice professor who has been investigating the relationship between crime and places since 1977. According to Eck, a 2006 survey of apartment buildings and crime levels found that half of the crime occurred within the buildings owned by 10% of the 4000 owners surveyed.
Why do 10% of the owners have the highest crime concentration? According to Eck, the vast difference in crime level can attributed to the fact that “most of these place managers actually make the work of offenders hard and that’s why most of them don’t have much crime. But a few make it easy.” And criminals congregate toward businesses where they can commit their crimes easily and have a low chance of being caught.
Below are 7 strategies that managers can utilize to strengthen security and decrease the chance criminals might begin to view your company as an easy target.
Invest in Security Updates for the Premises
Spend a few moments to evaluate the safety of the premises. You might want to invest in updating the buildings current security measures. Here are a few aspects to survey and potentially fix:
- Install a security system and put a warning on the window that you have one. Only give security codes to trusted employees as you needed.
- Update the locks on the windows and doors.
- Put television displays of the security feed in the main area.
- Strategically mount mirrors to the wall to eliminate blind spots.
Monitor Feeds of Security Camera
Try to regularly monitor the security feeds to keep an eye out on suspicious activity. Don’t hesitate to dive into the security if you suspect potential criminal activity may have occurred or may be an ongoing problem.
Layers of Security and Access
Security within the store should be strategic. Sensitive information and expensive equipment should not be easy to access from the main room. Install locks on doors to the rooms where the information and equipment will be stored. Only distribute keys to a few trusted individuals. Ensure that every employee with access knows to lock the higher security rooms before they leave.
Lights On at Night
Keep the interior and exterior of the building well-lighted at night. If the exterior is not well-lighted, you might eventually want to install a few more lights. Light increases the chances that passerby’s will see and report a thief. And lights will also allow for the security system to get a more identifiable depiction of the criminal. This knowledge will deter the smarter criminals and increase the chances of catching any other criminal.
Train employees to identify suspicious activity like shoplifters or thieves scoping out the area. Have clear guidelines on how employees should act when they encounter a shoplifter or armed robber. Different stores have different policies. Some stores stop shoplifters at the door and potentially hold them until the police arrive. Others require employees to let them go and write up a detailed description which they will then potentially hand over to the police. If your company gets big enough, you might want to hire a security officer who has experience with preventing crime.
Remember, the safety of employees are more important than preventing a potential theft. If your employees are detained by a potentially armed assailant, don’t suspend them like Dollar General did for not doing enough to prevent the robbery. In truly danger situations, nothing more should be expected of employees than to cooperate, try to remember details about the thief, and to call the police when they can.
Respond To Crime Quickly
The quicker you react to crime, the harder a target you will seem to other criminals. Report the crime to the police as soon as you or another employee knows about it. Once you have reported the damage to the police and you insurance company (if you have insurance), repair any damage caused to the premises immediately. The last thing you want is vandalism advertising to the neighborhood that you’re potentially an easy target.
Keep Track of Suspicious People
Have employees report any suspicious activity. Suspicious activity could include: loitering in a group or alone, potential shoplifting (if you can’t prove they took something), paying a little too much attention to the security measures in the store. If the individual or individuals don’t seem to be shopping, it is within your right to ask them to leave.
Preventing Repeat Offenders
You should also keep an eye out for identified thieves to make sure they don’t return to shoplift again. If you catch them shoplifting red-handed, you may not want to report first offenders to the police, but you can at least bar them from entering the premises in the future. If they insist on returning repeatedly despite your warning, you can file a restraining order to bar them from the premises.
Business security is the business owners and managers responsibility. Lax owners who don’t encourage secure business practices are more likely to be targeted by thieves. With just a little work, you can decrease the chances of financial fallout from your business being targeted by criminals.
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