According to official statistics on crimes against businesses, there were 5.5 million estimated incidents between 2012 and 2014, with 37% of commercial premises reporting criminal damage. Commonly, business premises based in London record the highest rates of business crime.
This crime affects all businesses, but not all can easily absorb the costs—it’s often smaller firms that are hit the hardest, and those in the hospitality, retail and agricultural industries are often the most affected. Aside from the material damage and direct financial losses, incidents of crime against your business also result in lost time spent dealing with your business’s recovery, increased insurance premiums and loss of customer loyalty, owing to a damaged reputation.
The Federation of Small Businesses have taken action to reduce crime against business, lobbying the Government and London’s Police and Crime Commissioners to allocate more resources to areas where business crimes are higher. They have also argued for more representation from business owners in the local policing strategies and the national strategy of the National Crime Agency.
While they call for members to report the crimes that affect them, it’s vital for small business owners in London to ensure they’re reducing their vulnerability to crime. Here are three ways to achieve that.
Petty theft may not seem like the most serious crime, but the implications for any small business can be serious, particularly given that shoplifting costs UK retailers £4bn a year. In London’s busiest stores, CCTV security systems are generally considered to be the best deterrent against shoplifters. But though the perceived value of installing dummy security cameras may suggest otherwise, simply giving the appearance of CCTV monitoring is unlikely to deter or tackle incidents of crime.
Carter Security, who operate across London, Essex and Kent, specialise in commercial security solutions for small businesses. In a blog post on how best to use CCTV in your small business, they advise “CCTV’s effectiveness relies on public knowledge of its success in bringing criminals to justice. A fake camera will not help this, and neither will a camera that is set up improperly.” That’s because in the event of a break-in, a dummy camera simply cannot record anything, making it an ineffective commercial security solution.
Commercial burglar alarms
Most break-ins occur under cover of darkness, when a commercial property is most likely to be empty. When it comes to commercial burglar alarms, therefore, most small businesses are looking for a system that detects intruders via sensors, sounds an alarm when triggered and notifies the relevant authorities.
A monitored alarm system is a quick and detailed communication between your business security system and the central receiving centre of your security provider. In the event your security control panel registers a security breach, a remote signal is sent to a central monitoring station, where, if a true threat is determined, the appropriate authorities are notified and dispatched to your premises.
There are further benefits of a digital alarm system for businesses. They can allow business owners to identify staff attempting to access a commercial property by issue a unique input alarm code to each person. This creates a record of who is entering and exiting your premises, holding staff to account for any breach.
Multiple layers of security are essential to your business’s safety. If the nature of your business requires members of the public to access your premises, zoning your security or installing additional internal barriers is useful way to manage your security during operating hours.
Free-standing, discrete wall or floor-bolted security safes are highly recommended for any business that holds cash and high-value items onsite. An anchored safe can give you extra peace of mind when it comes to securing cash, keys and valuable equipment overnight too.
You might consider a fireproof model for the protection of confidential documents and personnel files, while it is equally recommend to keeping back-up files of digital data (be it on CD-R or hard drive) in a safe.
Over half of small and medium sized businesses in the UK have been targeted by crime, with 19% of those those reporting cases of theft more than 20 times across their lifespan. These crimes can have irreversible and devastating impact on businesses. Small and medium sized business security must, therefore, always be a priority.