Many of us will be looking forward to the forthcoming festivities – enjoying some time off, relaxing and spending time with loved ones. A positive time to relax and reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead.

 

Unfortunately, for some organisations, the festive season and the New Year holidays will bring a difficult time, as whenever premises are unoccupied there is an always an increased risk of theft, arson and criminal damage.

 

Security measures for unoccupied premises; whether they are businesses, schools, leisure facilities or anywhere else should have four main aims:

  1. Make it more difficult  to commit a crime
  2. Reduce the incentive to commit a crime
  3. Increase the risk of the criminal(s) being caught
  4. Reduce any potential reward from committing the crime.

 

Making it difficult to commit a crime

The easiest way to review your security is to take a moment, both in daylight and in the dark after you have locked everywhere up, to take a tour of your premises and identify any potential points of entry. Once you are aware of all of your potential entry points (which could include entry through a roof light, fragile ceiling, etc.) you then need to identify any vulnerabilities.

  • Check that all gates, doors and windows are secure, strong enough to withstand an attempted forced entry and have high quality locks and bolts fitted.
  • Consider fitting security shutters, grilles or window bars to any high risk entry points.
  • Remove anything that may help a criminal to gain access – i.e. remove or secure any ladders which could aid entry, secure any power tools, move stacks of pallets or waste bins which may provide access to low level roofs, etc.

 

Encourage everyone in your organisation to consider security on a daily basis.

  • Produce a written procedure, outlining everything that needs to be switched off, closed, checked, etc., when locking up and leaving your premises. Circulate this to all members of staff who have access to the keys so that everyone can follow the same procedure.
  • Allocate responsibilities for locking up specific areas at the end of each working day. This can either be on a rota basis or just for senior members of the team – but don’t forget to allocate substitutes for when key personnel are on holiday or not at work.

 

Reduce the incentive to commit a crime

If a criminal thinks that a site will be difficult to get into; there is an increased chance of them being caught or they cannot see anything of any great value that they could take and use or easily sell on; then they are far less likely to attempt a break in.

To reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime:

  • Make sure your site looks secure at all times
  • Don’t leave doors or easy to access windows wide open during the day
  • Don’t leave valuables next to windows or doors
  • Close all blinds, doors, shutters, etc. when you leave
  • Consider investing in an intruder (burglar) alarm (this will also act as a visible deterrent)
  • If you have an alarm system, consider linking it to a professional 24hr alarm monitoring station
  • Consider investing in a professional CCTV system (this will also act as a visible deterrent)
  • Put up relevant signage informing everyone outside that the premises are protected by an alarm system and / or a CCTV system
  • Keep valuables out of sight and locked away wherever possible
  • Bank any cash or keep it in a locked professional quality safe which is bolted to the floor
  • Keep sensitive information (including portable data drives) in a secure place or safe when not needed

 

Increase the risk of the criminal(s) being caught

Anything you can do to highlight the presence of a criminal, bring attention to their activities or even to slow them down, so they would have to spend longer on your premises trying to get to anything valuable, will reduce the risk of criminal activity.

  • Make sure that all doors and entrances have adequate lighting so that anyone going in or coming out can be seen clearly
  • Consider installing motion activated security lights in less frequently used areas / entrances
  • As above – a professional intruder alarm and CCTV installation linked to an offsite 24hr alarm monitoring centre will alert someone to the intruder’s presence, no matter what time of day or night.
  • An alarm monitoring centre can notify your key holders as well as contacting the police where appropriate
  • A modern CCTV system which is regularly maintained should be able to record evidence of criminal activity, which can then be handed to the police – thereby increasing the chance of the criminals being brought to justice.
  • A professionally installed and maintained fire alarm will also provide an early warning of fire – and if your alarm is linked to a professional monitoring centre, the fire service can be called at the earliest opportunity.
  • Securing items in a strong safe and bolting the safe to the floor of your building will mean that it takes longer for anyone to gain access to your valuables – again increasing the chance of them being brought to justice.
  • Investing in a Fog Cannon (which creates a harmless, but visually impenetrable fog and is triggered upon activation of your intruder alarm) will also make it nigh on impossible for intruders to steal anything as, within a few seconds, they will not be able to see anything to steal it.

 

 

Reducing any potential reward from committing crime

Sometimes even the best security deterrents and systems will not be able to prevent items being stolen or damaged, but you can still make it difficult for a criminal to profit from selling your stolen property.

  • Investing in a forensic marking spray system such as SmartWater; which can be painted on to your property, to permanently mark it as belonging to you, or can be sprayed across the entry / exit points upon activation of your intruder alarm (coating any intruders in uniquely coded liquid and irrefutably linking them and any property they may be carrying to the scene of the crime); can significantly reduce the chances of anyone being able to sell items on.

 

Schedule a review

Although these measures will certainly help to reduce the risk of your organisation becoming a victim of crime, criminals will always be looking for new ways to gain entry to your premises and / or valuables. So make sure that you schedule another security review in 6 months to identify any new potential risks.

If you would like a free security review from one of our team of experienced security professionals, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01902 658822.

 

And finally – once you have completed your last checks – you can go home and relax over the festive period, before the start of another fantastic New Year.