10 Tips to Prevent Burglaries at Your Small Business

10 Tips to Prevent Burglaries at Your Small Business

There were 1.7 million U.S. burglaries in 2014 alone, says Streamline Telecom Inc. And small businesses are four times more likely to be victimized than homes. Here are 10 tips to prevent burglaries at your small business.

Ways to Prevent Burglaries at Your Small Business

Place Inventory Strategically

Items that might be tempting to burglars should be placed out of harm’s way. For example, taking sunglasses out of the window at the front of a retail store works.  A display placed on the front counter checkout is a much better idea.

Sean Nolan is the founder and operations director at Streamline Telecom Inc. He says some planning goes a long way to preventing burglaries.

“An organized store helps to deter this kind of theft,” he says.

At least taking any high risk items out of window displays at night lowers the risk.

Evaluate Your Storefront

Nolan stresses this is one of your small businesses’ most vulnerable access points. You should you have an effective alarm system for starters. Security cameras covering multiple angles is also necessary.

“You may also consider posting the Operation Identification sticker on your storefront, so thieves will know that you have a security system in place,” he says.

Beef Up Your Glass

A determined burglar can usually find their way into your store. However that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to slow them down. Replacing traditional glass with a tempered variety makes a smash and grab much more difficult. Laminated glass is an excellent choice too.

Any kind of reinforced glass only breaks after several strikes which causes a lot of noise and draws attention.

Use Bars and Locks

It’s not always necessary to go high-tech. Putting bars on the windows at the back of your storefront discourages burglars. Having double cylinder deadbolts that need keys on either side discourages any potential criminals from hiding inside and waiting for your store to close.

Position Safes Near The Front

Small business owners might think it’s best to put the safe in a back room out of sight. Actually, it’s better to move them to the front where any kind of suspicious after-hours activity can be seen from the street.

Bolting them to the floor helps discourage any burglars who might be casing your store.  Leave as little cash as possible inside after you’ve closed up for the night.

Light the Outside Up

Many small business owners keep the inside of their stores well lit to prevent burglaries at night. However, there’s another angle to preventing crime.

“By keeping the parking lot and exterior well lit, your cameras will be able to capture the thieves and their license plate numbers,” Nolan says.

Keep the Outside Manicured

If you keep the lawns and walkways around your business manicured and clean, you’ll discourage criminals who are casing the area. Well looked after properties tell them someone is always around.

Cutting back hedges and trees that obscure windows is another good idea so there’s no where for a potential thief to hide.

Establish Good Sight Lines

Although it might seem counter intuitive, leaving cash registers and computers in plain sight allows police to keep an eye on them when they patrol at night. Leaving cash register drawers open after you’ve closed up for the night deters burglars.

Get Security Cameras

Security experts will tell you getting cameras for your property serves a twofold purpose. Not only do they act as a deterrent, but they also provide a record if your place gets burglarized.

Nolan says they aren’t just useful as after hours tools.

“These cameras are also active during hours of operation, so you have a record of all employee and customer activities.”

Get Expert Help

There’s a lot to think about when you’re trying to prevent burglaries at your small business. Getting some expert advice can help you find the right combinations. 

For example, getting the right combination of alarms and cameras can be tricky without some professional advice.  The Electronic Security Association can point you to a chapter near your small business.

House Break-In Photo via Shutterstock

Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.