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Don't Get Robbed: How to Prevent Burglary at Your Business

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Sep 14, 2016

Nonresidential burglaries make up about a quarter of all burglaries in the United States. Here are some tips on how to prevent burglary at your business.

It's every small business owner's nightmare: You wake up and go to work like any other day, only when you arrive at your store, broken glass litters the floor and you can see that the safe has been broken into. Dozens of questions flood your mind, not least of which is how much the burglary cost you. As you pick up the pieces and file the police report, you begin to think about how to prevent a burglary from happening at your business again.

The stats on burglary

According to the FBI, 26.8% of burglaries in the U.S. take place on a nonresidential property. To break that number down a little bit further, the FBI estimates that in total (residential and nonresidential) a burglary occurs in the U.S. every 15.4 seconds, which means roughly once every minute, a nonresidential property falls prey to burglary.

If you're a business owner, those are some scary statistics. The good news is there are ways to reduce the risk of this type of property crime. Some of these suggestions may seem burdensome at first, but if the result is saving $20,000 in losses over the course of a year, the investments of time and resources will be well worth it.

Security systems

It comes as no surprise that security systems are an excellent deterrent to commercial burglaries from both external and internal sources. Tyco Integrated Security tells us that businesses without security systems are 4.5 times more likely to suffer burglaries than those with security systems. This simple addition will not only interrupt a burglary in progress but according to Tyco, the very presence of the security system deters some 60% of burglars from even making an attempt. (Not to mention that having a security system installed can lead to significant insurance savings.)

Apart from Tyco, a few of the more common security systems for small businesses are ADT, Simplisafe, and DGA.

Not interested in a full-service security system? Check out Dropcam by Nest or Ring. Both are devices that allow you to monitor your business from your smartphone, 24/7.

Locks on the doors, bars on the windows

These precautions may also seem obvious, but they're worth reinforcing when thinking about how to prevent burglary at your business. Every entry door and every window should have secure locks to prevent unauthorized entry, especially after hours. For the doors, magnetic locks are ideal as they cannot be picked like traditional deadbolts. In all cases, make sure you know exactly who has keys and never give them out to people who don't absolutely need them to help run the business.

Concerned this makes your business look less inviting? Invest in grates you can close to protect your store overnight. During the day, your customers will still enjoy a clean, welcoming facade while at night, you've put another layer of security between a would-be burglar and your business.

Lights, camera, action

The more well-lit your store—both inside and outside—the less likely a burglar is to target your business. Why? For the simple reason that light means burglars can be seen and identified. Set the indoor lights to timers and flood the entrance with external lights that leave thieves no place to hide.

Of course, if there's no one around, the lights won't do much good unless you also install security cameras. Have at least one at every entrance, one that focuses on the register or safe or wherever you keep cash overnight, and even one that looks out on the parking lot to capture license plates and other identifying information.

Monitor employee activity

Not all threats come from the outside. Employee theft accounts for a significant part of all business property crimes. There are a variety of ways to prevent employee theft, but the best way is to have an employee theft policy in place and to keep an eye on any unusual behavior.

Have an insurance policy

Preventing burglaries at your business is one thing; moving forward is another. While an insurance policy won't prevent a burglary, it will certainly help you get back on your feet in the wake of a break-in. You can read more about the different types of insurance available to your business here. Remember, when preventing burglaries at your business, the best thing you can do is to use common sense. Regularly check camera recordings for suspicious activity, always lock the doors, and most importantly, always keep your eyes open.

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