Theft Prevention & Deterrence – Commercial Security Checklist For Home And Business Owners
“You’ve heard the saying, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” Well, that’s true when it comes to commercial security, too. Today’s businesses face different kinds of security challenges than we faced in previous generations. Theft deterrence for businesses of any kind begins not with installing commercial security systems but with acknowledging the risks that your business faces. Once you’re aware of the challenges facing your business, such as identity theft from customer databases, shrinkage, fraud, internal theft, or organized retail crime, you can begin planning for theft deterrence with the help of business security systems.”
Let’s Look At A Few Stats On Theft Related To Business Security (Based on American Studies)
Although the stats are based on American studies, it is good to be aware of the information out there, considering that a lot of it is relevant in South Africa, and the ones that aren’t relevant, currently, can become so in the future. Let’s have a look.
“According to studies on risk and loss prevention, U.S. retailers lose nearly $50 billion a year to shrinkage due to external theft, shoplifting, and organized retail crime. That doesn’t include losses from employee theft, which the FBI has called the fastest growing crime in the United States.
The National Retail Federation has revealed that more than 90% of companies surveyed had been the victim of organized retail crime, with losses of as much as $30 billion per year according to the FBI.
Aside from that, millions of Americans are victims of identity theft every year. According to annual reports on consumer fraud, identity theft is one of the leading fraud complaints in the country. Unfortunately, some of this identity theft begins with companies who don’t do enough to ensure the security of sensitive customer information. A breach can damage more than your customers; it can damage your reputation.
Whether you’re losing money and products to organized retail crime or losing customers to identity theft, all of these challenges can have a crippling effect on your bottom line. In fact, commercial theft can push an otherwise profitable business into bankruptcy! That’s why it’s important for any business, large or small, to have a forward-looking strategy for deterring theft. And with that said, here’s maybe the most shocking statistic of all.
According to the National Retail Federation, only a little more than half (about 55%) of retailers surveyed said they believe that top management understands the “complexity and severity” of the issue, and only 29.3% said that they were allocating new resources to technology such as business security systems.
The Business Security Checklist
While theft of all kinds is a growing threat that affects businesses large and small, the good news is that there are things you can do right now to help protect your business. The following list is far from exhaustive, but it does cover a few of the top things that you and every business can do today, as reported by dozens of commercial security professionals and consultants:
1. Interior Security
For high-risk areas such as cash offices, supply rooms, and computer equipment, invest in commercial security cameras and/or access controls to keep an eye on who comes and goes.
A surveillance system is a no-brainer, but it should also be monitored 24/7.
Keep your commercial security system up-to-date and make sure that cameras or other devices that don’t work are removed and replaced promptly.
Make sure that your alarm system is activated whenever your business is unoccupied, and, keep interior lighting on when the business is closed. It’s amazing how far a little visibility goes toward theft deterrence.
2. Exterior Security
Be sure that doors are locked when you leave.
Keep all exterior areas well-lit and free from obstructions. If you have commercial security cameras, be sure that they can see the areas that they need to see.
Commercial security cameras can do more than monitor your premises. They can also help to identify visitors, vendors, deliveries, and so on.
Ground-level windows should be locked at all times, even during regular business hours. There’s no point in leaving simple avenues of ingress for would-be thieves. Similarly, if there is roof access to your building, it should be secured and monitored.
Make sure your building number is easy to see and unobscured by trees, shrubs, or other obstacles. This lets police and other first responders find your business quickly in the event of an emergency.
3. Access Control
Make sure that all possible ways in and out of your building are monitored and controlled. Apply access controls to areas of higher risk or to areas that simply don’t need to be accessible to the public, such as delivery docks and maintenance access points.
Make sure that employee access can be immediately disabled if an employee’s card has been lost or stolen or if an employee has been terminated.
4. Employees And Security
Proper training for employees can go a long way toward reducing or deterring theft and increasing overall business security. This includes instructing employees about when and how to secure specific areas, as well as how to handle access cards, key fobs, and passwords to maximize security and prevent identity theft.
Access cards, keys, and anything else that gives employees access to the building or to business systems should be immediately retrieved or deactivated when an employee leaves the company for any reason.
Make sure that secure documents are properly shredded before disposal to reduce the risk of identity theft or other security infractions.
Take Your Commercial Security Seriously
No matter what kind of business you run or what sorts of security challenges you face, the first step in deterring theft is taking your commercial security seriously. That means investing in strong, up-to-date commercial security systems, sure, but it also means understanding the severity of the problem and keeping it at the forefront of your business strategies going forward. It helps to have someone in your corner who knows the ropes.
All opinions expressed in this article are not the onus of the publisher nor supplier.