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Preventing Workplace Crime

Monday, July 11, 2016

Submitted by Heritage Technology Solutions

Protecting your business from crime – both internal and external – takes effort. But with criminals looking to take advantage of you on every front, it’s an effort you need to make. But where do you start? To non-security professionals, knowing what to do can be difficult. To make your challenge a little easier, we’ve boiled down business security to three basic, more manageable steps.

Get a security review

Call a professional security vendor before you even think about getting a new security system, expanding to new facilities or upgrading or updating what you already have. Don’t trust any vendor that wants to sell you equipment without taking the time to make sure your current (and future) needs are being met. A review – or risk assessment – will help identify potential threats to your business based on location, industry, number of employees and other specific needs. Without an assessment, you might spend money that will add little or nothing to your overall security. And don’t worry about the assessment’s cost, as most reputable security vendors will provide one for free. Expect an assessor to thoroughly review your internal and external areas.

Here are only a few of the things an assessor will check:

  • The parking lot
  • Fencing
  • Lighting
  • Landscaping, especially if it blocks views of your facility or could act as a hiding place for criminals
  • Exterior doors and windows
  • Locks or access control system
  • Security cameras and recorders
  • How you manage visitors and vendors
  • How valuable supplies, equipment and hazardous materials are stored
  • Who has access to your executive offices

There are no good cookie-cutter reviews, so expect the assessor to take time to complete yours. You can help by clearly defining your business process as well as your concerns. If done correctly, the completed assessment will give you a good road map of the steps required to help improve your security.

Control your entries

Too many businesses are unable to monitor who enters or exits their facilities. Unless you run a retail operation that invites customers to come and go easily, lock all your doors and keep them locked. That also means loading docks and outbuildings. Provide keys, codes or properly encoded access cards to only those few trusted employees that might be the first or last to enter or leave your business each day.

Put a video intercom on each door used by customers or vendors. That allows a receptionist to see and communicate with a visitor before remotely unlocking the door. If the person has no reason to come in, then keep the door locked. Be sure to collect any access cards or keys from employees that have quit or been terminated. If the employee had access to the intrusion system, ask your security vendor to remove that keypad code.

And double check that all doors are locked and the intrusion system is set as the last person leaves the building at night.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Check to see that all exterior doors and windows are in good repair
  • Have cameras installed to monitor your entries. Then add clear signage announcing that visitors are under surveillance. Cameras can often deter would-be criminals
  • Engage a professional central monitoring station to monitor your entries – and interior areas – after business hours

Be Aware Criminals are often opportunistic. They might not even be thinking about committing a crime, but they’ll take a chance if they see one. Try to think like a thief. Look around your business and try to see what could make an easy target. For example, don’t leave computers at arm’s length inside a window, where they can be grabbed in a quick smash-and-grab.

Make securing your business a team effort. Get your employees involved in looking for weaknesses in your security. Ask them to report suspicious people and cars loitering around your business. Have periodic security related discussions to keep your employees informed and enthusiastic about the effort.

Other steps you might consider implementing, include:

  • Keeping cash registers far enough away from customers so that money drawers can’t be accessed if an employee is distracted
  • Locking money, jewelry and other high-value goods away in a safe at night. These are major targets for thieves.
  • Running background checks on job applicants. Many employees steal from their employers. Try to minimize that possibility before making a job offer.
  • Limiting the number of employees with entry keys, access cards or codes for the burglar system
  • Checking invoices for purchases of supplies. Make sure you aren’t paying for things employees are taking home to sell online.
  • Immediately remove graffiti as it can mark your business as a target for more vandalism and other crime

Also, keep in mind that while today’s security equipment is generally very reliable, it does require maintenance and can break down. Having a maintenance agreement with a qualified security vendor will add another pair of eyes to regularly inspect your systems to better ensure they operate as intended. You’ve worked hard to build and run your business. Make the effort to implement these steps to help see that your investment in time and money isn’t lost to criminals.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.