Installing Closed Circuit-Television (CCTV) video or an audio intrusion detection security system can help protect your small business, making it possible for police to be be dispatched immediately in the event of a break-in. Additionally, verified alarms provide real-time information of the crime in progress and can be provided to the responding police officers, giving them a clear warning of what to expect when they arrive at the scene of the crime. The quality of your camera can also assist police in identifying potential suspects.
Sufficient lighting is necessary for people to see and be seen. From a security point of view, lighting that is strategically placed can have a substantial impact on reducing the fear of crime. A basic level of lighting should allow the identification of a face from a distance of about 10 metres for a person with normal vision. Concealed or isolated routes should be adequately and uniformly lit. Lighting should be vandal proof and properly located. Light coloured walls and ceiling materials help to reflect light and can enhance the brightness of an area. Natural lighting is preferred and should be encouraged.
Visibility throughout the property is critical, not only for the police to navigate through the premises, but a well-lit property makes a break-in less likely at the risk of potential thieves being seen. Light both the interior and exterior of the business, especially around doors, windows, skylights or other entry points. Additionally, installing covers over exterior lights and power sources will deter tampering.
- Make sure your security lights are positioned properly
- Check lights regularly to make sure they are working
- Permanent low-cost dusk to dawn lighting is preferrable to high-cost lighting linked to a movement sensor
- Make sure lighting does not affect CCTV cameras
- Leave some lights on or use a timer to give the impression that someone is there 24/7
Entrapment zones & blind corners
Entrapment areas are small, confined areas near or adjacent to well-travelled routes that are shielded on three sides by some barriers, such as walls or bushes. Examples are lifts, tunnels or bridges, enclosed and isolated stairwells, dark recessed entrances that may be locked at night, gaps in tall vegetation, a vacant site closed from three sides by barriers, narrow deep recessed area for fire escape, grade-separated driveways or loading/ unloading areas off a pedestrian route. Be mindful of these areas surrounding your business, as they provide opportunities for perpetrators of crime to hide.
Cash Register & Safes
Leave the cash register open and empty after closing. Keep only small amounts of cash, if any, on the premises to reduce the possibility of loss in the event of a break and enter. A drop safe can also be used for employees to drop large bills and excess cash and cannot be retrieved by them. Post signs regarding this practice to deter criminals. All safes should be fireproof, anchored and kept in plain sight. When empty, leave them open, and use them to lock up valuables once the business closes. Always remember to change combinations when employees who have had access leave the business.
Protect Your Records
Secure your access to personal files and business records that are vital and not easily replaced if lost, stolen or damaged. Keep detailed, up-to-date business records, including inventories and banking records, and backup copies off the premises. This way, if a business is ever broken into, the owner can assess losses more easily and provide valuable information to help police.
Windows & Doors
Items in a window display or closest to windows are more easily accessible to thieves. All expensive items should be removed from displays at night, allowing police to more easily see into and monitor the business after closing.
Physical security techniques are still an effective way to discourage potential thieves from breaking into a property. This includes making sure all outside entrances and inside security
doors are secured with deadbolt locks. Only use steel padlocks, and keep them locked at all times. Remove serial numbers from locks to prevent unauthorized keys from being made. Keep the business address visible so that emergency vehicles can easily find the business in the event of a break-in.
For items that must remain on the property, engrave all valuable office equipment and tools with a unique identifier, such as tax identification, license or other distinctive number.
These safety tips are not intended to mandate any suggestions or changes to your business; rather, it is merely our recommendations based on acquired knowledge and proven principles that we feel will make your facility more secure and less vulnerable to crime. Implementing these suggestions does not guarantee that your facility will never be a victim of crime.
For more information about keeping your business safe, please contact our Crime Reduction & Community Partnerships Bureau at 613-933-5000 ext. 2785.