Perhaps the biggest tragedy about burglaries is the fact that most of the attention is focused on homes, both in the way news organizations report on incidents and security companies market their products. The U.S. Small Business Administration concedes in its crime prevention guide the fact that oftentimes the smallest businesses are more likely to fall victim to crimes such as burglary and embezzlement since they are easier targets. What may seem like a minor setback to a multi-million-dollar franchise can become the straw that breaks the camel’s back before a small business decides to close its doors and sell all its assets. There is nothing more heartbreaking to a business owner who worked for years to get their foot in the market than the moment when something unexpected happens that makes everything unsustainable overnight. Burglaries do that, and over two million of them happen in the U.S. alone every year.
By taking just a few steps that require a minimal investment you can deter the majority of burglaries and reduce or entirely eliminate potential damage.
1. Tighten the Ship with Lock and Key
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of businesses that use a padlock as their only defense against the outside world. If you have one of these as the sole protection of your establishment, then the only thing standing between a burglar and everything you and your employees have toiled for is a piece of metal that can be overcome by a $15 pair of bolt cutters. Rather than settling for an illusion of safety, invest in a cylinder dead-bolt lock, like right now…
Once you’ve done all of that, make sure you keep track of every single key to that lock. A growing business with five or more employees can quickly lose track of all of its keys. Keep a database of every key you have. If you lose one, change your lock immediately.
2. Get an Intelligent Alarm
Typically, small businesses do not choose to install alarm systems because they either rent the place where they are doing business (and therefore cannot modify the property) or find the initial investment along with the ongoing fees prohibitively expensive especially when considering the slim margins involved in starting out. Purchasing a burglar alarm was typically a thing a business did when it began to mature. It certainly didn’t come as part of the “getting things up and running” phase.
That was then. Today is another day. We’re no longer in the 2000s, where the typical alarm installation would soar well above $5000. Very interesting startups are leaving their mark within the industry, with their own unique solutions that do the same job for much smaller investments. Companies like SimpliSafe are providing businesses and households with smart alarm systems that use wireless communication to monitor buildings. The fool-proof, DIY installation process means you do not have to rely on a crew to set it up for you.
3. Lighten Up!
Home burglaries—contrary to popular conceptions—are carried out during the day, when a house’s occupants are least likely to encounter the intruder. Business burglaries are the ones that do occur by night (and for the same reason). At night, lights are an infiltrator’s worst enemy. It makes him clearly visible and people who break and enter buildings want to eliminate any possibility of gaining the attention of witnesses.
This should tell you that you’ll be less likely to encounter a burglary if you kept every exterior point of entry to your business well-lit. If you’re not looking forward to massive electric bills, consider purchasing powerful yet economic LED bulbs. A decent 1200 lumen light bulb would probably eat up around 12 to 15 Watts of nominal power (sometimes even less).
It only takes one guy with a pickup truck and a couple of helping hands to empty your business of everything you’ve worked so hard for within one hour. In equal measure, it only takes a small investment to make sure this guy doesn’t “case your joint”. If you make yourself a more difficult target to break open, you’ll all but eliminate the likelihood of becoming a victim.