Burglary is frequently a crime of opportunity. Burglars aim for easy targets and most will give up if they can’t get in within a few minutes. There are steps a business owner can take to prevent their business from being an easy target for criminals.
Steps toward proper security:
- Lighting – business should be well lit, inside and out, at all entrances and windows. Good lighting is a deterrent to crime and will reduce the risk of your business becoming a target. Lighting should be high, out of reach if possible, and vandal resistant.
- Landscaping – shrubs around doors and windows should be no more than 2 feet high to allow for clear natural surveillance. Trees should be trimmed so that the lower branches are more than 8 feet above the ground. High shrubs around doors and windows, which hamper visibility from the street, are an invitation to intruders.
- Doors – exterior doors should be solid with single cylinder dead bolt locks. The bolt should extend at least 1½ inches into the doors frame.
- Windows – Windows should be free of clutter, signage, etc. to allow a good view from inside and to see who is coming and going from your business.
- Keys – never carry identification on your business keys. Know who has a key and limit the number of people you disseminate keys to. Never hide a key outside your business. Don’t hang keys in plain view of your patrons.
- Security alarms – if you don’t have one, consider getting a system installed by a professional alarm company. Use your system and test it regularly.
- Bank drops – never go to the bank alone. Change your route and routine daily to prevent an easily recognizable pattern. If you think you are being watched, call law enforcement.
- Property I.D. – have your equipment (cash registers, copiers, computers, tools, etc.) engraved and write down the serial and model numbers. Keep this list in a safe place. This information helps us identify recovered articles and return them to the proper owners. It also assists your insurance carrier in the event items are stolen. Keep the owners manuals and sales receipts to your equipment.
- Merchandise displays – arrange merchandise so that the most expensive items are in the middle of the store. This makes a potential burglar’s escape route longer by putting the merchandise he wants further away from an exit. All merchandise should be displayed so that a passerby can see clearly into the store.
Remember to immediately report suspicious activity to law enforcement as it is happening. This gives deputies the best chance of identifying the suspicious person and determining the reason for the behavior or activity.