Protecting Commercial Properties from Burglaries

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While statistics are generally showing crime rates in decline, it’s not true that all kinds of crime are going down.

The most recent statistics show that theft – particularly vehicle theft, burglary and robbery – is on the rise in the short term, despite a broader decrease over the last 20 years.

The words theft, robbery and burglary are often used interchangeably, but they are different categories. The term “theft” generally covers items taken while someone is in a place they’re allowed to be – such as shoplifting, or staff stealing something from work. Robbery is a theft that involves force (or the threat of it), while burglary involves entering a building without permission.

These crimes are of particular concern to commercial property and business owners where employee safety is paramount, and high value stock provides an attractive target.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) provides some interesting statistics for 2018 – on average, 16% of stores saw an increased incidence of theft, while 45% stayed the same.

And crime can happen anywhere. A study of burglary rates found that while many of the highest-risk areas were in London, suburban areas of northern cities – such as Kirkstall in Leeds or Chorlton in Manchester – were also well above the national average.

Deterring theft and burglaries in commercial properties

While there is no sure way to completely eliminate the risk of all kinds of theft, there are a number of steps that can be taken to greatly reduce the risk.

The ACS report recommends a number of different strategies, from regular stock monitoring to deter employee theft and floorplans that allow for visibility across shop floors to reducing the amount of cash stored on premises and installing CCTV.

West Yorkshire Police (WYP), on the other hand, suggest that you do as much as possible to slow burglars down by putting multiple barriers in place and strengthening potential entrances, as burglars will aim to spend as little time possible risking getting caught.

WYP recommend high quality hardwood doors and frames with steel reinforcing – though steel security doors provide an even more secure solution, with three, four and six-point locking systems, and the option for colour coatings to fit company branding.

Grilles and shutters are also recommended as “an excellent way of deterring burglars” – security grilles can be an effective way to secure windows, as well as larger openings in open-plan public areas. There are also roller shutters specifically designed for commercial properties, with both internal and external usage in mind.

Many external shutters and grilles may need planning permission to install, or may be refused by property managers, so using these features internally can be an effective way to slow down burglars and prevent them from gaining access to valuable stock.

In the event of a break-in, don’t delay

A break-in compounds the financial impact on lost funds or stock with the emotional impact on staff not feeling safe and the additional downtime spent getting the problem fixed. So it’s important to get repairs sorted as soon as possible.

Once the police have been in, find a door and roller shutter supplier that operate a 24-hour repair service, and have them on-site as soon as you can to get you back up and running again.

The ACS report that crime against convenience stores alone costs £193m annually – the impacts across the UK are greater still. Don’t take any risks with your security – make sure your premises are adequately protected.

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