Prevention of theft and frauds for business people
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Break-in

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Protect your merchandise and equipment
Access control points
Install a good security alarm system
Maximize the visibility of your business
Involve your employees
What to do in the event of a breaking and entering

Nearly one in three burglaries targets businesses. The advice which follows may help you to prevent financial losses and problems caused by breaking and entering.

  • Protect your merchandise and equipment;
  • Control the accesses;
  • Install a good security system;
  • Maximize the visibility of your establishment;
  • Involve your personnel.

Protect your merchandise and equipment

Time is the major concern of criminals. Time to:

  • break into your business;
  • steal your assets and merchandise;
  • locate exit routes to flee.

You have to render the target difficult to attain, thus you should therefore see to it that thieves require the most time possible to enter, steal and leave with their loot.

Attentively review the layout design of your establishment. This exercise should take you about one hour. Also see our "20 point Evaluation of Risk Factors" (PDF File) for small and medium-sized businesses.

Think of what you could do to render your merchandise and equipment difficult to access:
  • Do not leave articles of value in the window or near the door when the store is closed. Remove them and store them in a secure location.
  • Provide locking display counters or even devices with grills, in which you will be able to display valuable merchandise.
  • Ensure that the customers do not see inside your shop storage area. Post signs on the door indicating that access is prohibited.
  • Follow the inventory of your merchandise and equipment.
  • If possible, equip yourself with a safe to store your daily receipts, chequebooks, precious objects and credit card devices.
  • Ask your local police about engraving your most important equipment.

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Access control points

Exit and conduct an inspection tour of your establishment. Take note of places where a thief could easily break in and how he could do so. Following are four recommendations to limit the risks of a breaking and entering:

Reinforce doors. Assure yourself that the doors and doorframes are solid, ideally in steel or aluminum. Install deadbolt locks with double cylinders. Affix the casings with long screws. Connect your access doors to an alarm system.

Lock your windows. Install reliable closures. Cover windowpanes with laminated glass or security film which will make them more resistant to blows. Place bars in basement windows. If you undertake these modifications, make sure that they correspond with municipal regulations (evacuation of the premises in the event of a fire, etc.). Ideally, connect your windows to an alarm system.

Check roof accesses. If you have a trap door or a doorway which opens to the roof, satisfy yourself that it is solid and well locked. Pay particular attention to light wells and aeration hatches. They could be points of entry for burglars. Cut tree tops. Do not leave objects lying alongside walls or in the yard which could facilitate access to a window or a roof: piled pallets, ladders, large equipment, cars, trucks, etc.

Conduct a proper close-up at the end of the day. What purpose does it serve to reinforce all accesses, if the thief successfully hid in your establishment at closing time? Before leaving, conduct an inspection of the premises. Ensure that all accesses are properly shut and that no one is left inside.

WHERE ARE YOUR KEYS?

  • Give combinations, security system codes or duplicate keys to only a small number of trusted employees.
  • In a register, note the dates and names of individuals to whom you have given keys or information on combinations which provide access to the safe or limited access zones.
  • Acquire the habit of changing your codes, combinations and locks once an employee is released or leaves your employ without surrendering his keys.
  • Do not leave keys within the reach of everyone inside the business.
  • Control all duplicate keys in circulation. Ask your locksmith about keys to "controlled locks". They cannot be duplicated without a written authorization from the holder of the reproduction licence. They cost more but it is a good investment.

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Install a good security alarm system

Do business with a reliable and recognized company who will be able to advise you in your choice. Here is a description of the most current security systems:

ALARM SYSTEM
It is recommended that a system which is connected with an electronic surveillance centre be installed. This alarm system transmits a signal to an operator who verifies the legitimacy of the alarm and communicates, if need be, with the police at once. It is also recommended to install an emergency button under the counter, which will activate a silent alarm which will only alert the electronic surveillance centre, without the thief or aggressor noticing.

VIDEO SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM
This system consists of monitors and video cameras. Monitors installed in plain sight dissuade thieves. Images must be of quality and preferably have the date and time inserted. Place cameras and monitors in well lit locations (cash register, entrance door, warehouse). Remove boxes or objects which could block the cameras' field of vision. If possible, choose digital equipment; in addition to producing a better quality image, they improve the management of the video sequences.

ACCESS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM BY MAGNETIC CARD
This system allows you to supervise the goings and comings by defining the areas, hours and days during which access is authorized. A card inserted in a reader identifies the user and unlocks the door.

Verify your security systems daily. Do not forget to place stickers and posters in obvious places to indicate that the premises are protected.

Did you know?

Some insurers offer preferred rates to businesses that have security systems.

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Maximize the visibility of your business

Be sure to see and be seen!

  • Have good lighting in the front and rear (signage, address, access, yard, parking). See that they are working at all times (regular maintenance, automatic timer).
  • Place protective screening on floodlights.
  • Install a padlock or quality lock on the fuse panel, if it is outside.
  • Leave blinds open and lights on so that the interior may be seen at all times.
  • Do not clutter your windows with posters which block the view. Ideally, posters should be placed two metres off the ground.
  • Place your cash register in plain sight at the entrance. After closing, leave the cash drawer open and empty.
  • Free the yard and laneways from anything which could help a thief to hide. Dark areas attract thieves. They can carry out their business undetected.

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Involve your employees

Do you have confidence in your employees? Thieves occasionally use inside accomplices.
  • Choose motivated individuals who will easily integrate. They will have your interests at heart.
  • Keep your employees informed about steps which you are taking to ensure their security and that of your business.
  • Have them participate in your preventive efforts against theft. Encourage them to give you ideas to improve security. Ask them to point out individuals with suspicious behaviour.
  • Ensure that they know what to do in case of a breaking and entering.
  • Congratulate and reward an employee who helps identify a risk area or a thief.

Crime prevention, it's also the business of each of your employees.

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What to do in the event of a breaking and entering

  1. Do not enter and prevent others from entering. The burglars may still be there. Furthermore, you may damage or destroy evidence.
  2. Call the police immediately. If you are an employee, also call the owner individual in charge of security.
  3. Remain calm.
  4. Do not give information about the theft. This concerns only yourself, the owner and the police.
  5. Do what the police officers tell you.

SUGGESTIONS TO PREVENT A BREAKING AND ENTERING

EXTERIOR LAYOUT

  • Have good lighting in the front and rear (signage, address, access, yard, parking). See that they are working at all times (regular maintenance, automatic timer). Place protective screening on floodlights. Install a padlock or quality lock on the fuse panel, if it is outside.
  • Connect all openings which could serve as access points (doors, windows, trapdoors on the roof, aeration hatches) to your security system. Use locks, padlocks, bars, screening, security film, sheets of laminated glass and other materials to reinforce them.
  • Put away your tools. Thieves could use them to break down your doors and vandalize your business.
  • Protect your products (ex: wood, materials), tools and equipment stored outside. Put them in a fenced yard which is well lit and solidly locked.
  • Rid your building of all that could help a thief to conceal himself or to enter (trees that are too high, fork lifts, stacked pallets, etc.).
  • Install a video surveillance system. Use a poster to indicate that the premises are monitored at all times.
  • Remove graffiti and repair damages promptly.

INTERIOR LAYOUT

  • Install solid doors and doorframes. Use security locks.
  • Leave blinds open and lights on so that the interior may be seen at all times.
  • Do not clutter your windows with posters which block the view. Ideally, posters should be placed two metres off the ground.
  • Do not display articles of value in the window. If you must do so, remove them before closing. Store them in a secure location.
  • Distance your expensive products from doors and windows. Place them in the centre or rear of your store, on the top shelves. Keep small articles of value in locked display cases.
  • Place your cash register in plain sight at the entrance. After closing, leave the cash drawer open and empty.
  • Ensure that the customers do not see inside your shop storage area. Post signs on the door indicating that access is prohibited. If necessary, place merchandise in wire cages. Avoid maintaining an excessive quantity of inventory in the store.
  • Store your credit card devices, chequebooks and cash in your safe at the end of the day.
  • With police assistance, have your equipment engraved. Keep a list of your assets in a safe location. Detail the model and serial number of each item.
  • Install an integrated security system (alarm and video camera), linked to a telesurveillance centre. Use a poster to indicate that the premises are monitored at all times.
  • Always assure yourself that no one is hiding inside before closing. Consult our Daily Security Routine (PDF File). It will keep you from forgetting anything.

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Useful Prevention Tips
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