Category: Commercial security

Category: Commercial security

#101 tips on commercial break-in prevention

Most criminals are opportunists. Either the victim himself or the victim acting unwittingly in response to a stimulus created by the criminal may create opportunity. A business door being left unlocked after closing is an example of the victim creating the opportunity. On the other hand, the act of armed robbery exemplifies a response-created opportunity. In either case, an awareness of the potential for crime empowers individuals and businesses to act more cautiously, thus, eliminating the opportunity. It requires, for many, to change the way they think and it requires putting a healthy suspicion into our daily lives and activities. It compels us to shed the “blinders” that we unknowingly wear as we go about our day oblivious to the real threats that exist to our daily safety and survival. Businesses can take an active role in reducing criminal opportunity in and around their property by participating in a variety of crime prevention initiatives.

Businesses can reduce their vulnerability to crime in many ways. Security measures like updated locks, lighting, and alarms can make any establishment a less attractive target for criminals. Remember that most criminals are opportunists, and the goal of a security survey is to reduce the opportunity. These methods include, but are not limited to:

Lights
Proper lighting eliminates shadows, which burglars use for cover. Light up all points of entry, including those on the roof. Leave lights on inside just as you would do at home.

Install lighting at the front and back in addition to any side doors of your business.

Doors

As with windows, check for signs of any structural weaknesses. Use heavy and solid constructions, and material that is drill-resistant. You can also reinforce the backs of doors with crossbars. Be sure the doorframes cannot easily be jimmied.

Locks

Secure doors, windows, skylights and other openings with the best possible locks. No lock is burglar proof, but the longer and harder a burglar finds it to break in, the more likely they simply give up or are caught.

Use deadbolts and be sure to change the locks every time an employee with access to them leaves.

Windows
Check window frames to see if they are loose or rotting, and ensure that the windows offer visibility.

Arrange merchandise so that a passerby can see into the store. The store employee needs to be able to notice dangers outside and let witnesses see trouble inside. So keep windows clear of obstructions, from stacked boxes on the floor to high shrubs beside the walkways.

Covering windows with bars or grills for added protection may be necessary. Install burglar-resistant glass or use wire mesh or iron bars over all glass.

Safes
Reduce how much cash you have on hand after hours. If you have cash or other valuables, keep them in a safe anchored to the floor and that is in an illuminated location visible from the outside.

Change the combination if staff, who are familiar with it, are terminated or separate from employment.

Install and use a drop safe.

Limit how much cash is in the register and post signs saying that a drop safe is used and registers have only limited cash.

Store displays
Keep your expensive merchandise away from the windows, toward the center of the store.

Roof
Check ventilation system to ensure it cannot be used to gain entry.

Fences
Make sure that fences are high and sturdy enough so they are not too easy to breach. For some workplaces, barbed wire on top of the fence may be appropriate.

Alarm System
Install an alarm system. At least an alarm offers a measure of peace of mind. It is a deterrent to burglars, or forces them to get out quickly if they happen to break in.

Post warnings in clear view that the business is equipped with an alarm, and train the staff to avoid false alarms.

Commercial Parking Lot Security

Whether the parking lot is next to a larger business or is operating as a parking lot business, it is the responsibility of the owner or manager to make the lot as safe as possible. To accomplish this goal, the business should create a security plan to safeguard the lot area. This plan should include:

Signs

  • Make sure lot users can find entrances and exits easily.
  • Use signs to remind lot users to take precautions, such as “Secure Your Belongings/Take Your keys/Lock Your Car.” Some garages have sheets of paper at the elevator or stairs that a person can pick up to remind them where they are parked. A person wandering a parking garage is an easy target for a criminal.
  • You can also warn potential criminals through signs like “No Trespassing,” “Security Patrolled” or “Lot Monitored by Video Surveillance”(but only if it is true; you do not want to give a false sense of security).

Emergency Telephones

  • If the parking lot is large, the use of emergency telephones that directly dials security or the local police or sheriffs’ department may be warranted.

Alarms

  • Alarms, such as duress or elevator alarms, should be clearly marked, and zoned for response so that security personnel can find any breaches quickly.

Lighting

  • Criminals love anything that will cover their activities, especially darkness. Use sufficient illumination, and replace burned out lights promptly.
  • Have a regular maintenance plan in place for inspecting current lighting and to recommend additional lighting.

Video Surveillance

  • The decision to use security cameras depends largely on the available budget, monitoring capabilities, and the physical environment.
  • For outdoor lots, cameras can give security personnel a feel for what is happening in the general area.
  • Indoors, cameras are particularly effective at elevators, lobbies, entrances and exits, cash/ticket booths, stairwells, or any other area where people stand and wait.

Security Patrols

  • If a security force is available, patrol regularly and vary the patrol times and routes to avoid being predictable.

Facilities Design

  • Paint underground walls white to increase the light levels.
  • Reduce hiding places for criminals and maximize visibility for any patrols (or for potential witnesses to a crime).
  • Keep exterior walls and foliage less than three feet, and trim any tree branches below six feet.

Cash/Ticket Booths

  • Be sure to exercise good robbery prevention techniques since parking lot cashiers are frequent targets of robbery.

Access Control

Even in a restricted lot controlling access is tough. Without turning it into a fortress, you can take precautions such as using pass cards, installing motion detectors to keep trespassers away, and linking emergency doors to the alarm.

Anyone noticing strangers lurking in the lot should notify security or the police immediately. While the business owner or parking lot operator has a duty to protect the area, parking lot patrons must also exercise good crime prevention habits.

To help they should:
– Park in a well-lighted area as close as possible to the exit you will be using.
– Lock the car and roll up the windows all the way.
– Patrons should lock any valuables or packages in the trunk.
– Use an escort to your vehicle.
– Ask the security guard or a co-worker to escort you to your car.
– Have your keys ready for quick entry into the vehicle.
– Check your vehicle for signs of a break-in and for anyone hiding inside.
By taking common sense security steps, you will increase the safety of the parking lot.

Commercial Business Alarms

Business premise security is one of the most important aspects of practicing sound crime prevention tactics. Burglary is a big business and to help prevent it, good locking, lighting and alarm systems play a crucial role in protecting the business’ assets. The latest crime figures available from the FBI show that four burglaries occur every minute of every day. It is no wonder then that many homeowners and business owners are considering electronic alarm protection. Unfortunately, there are some people in the burglar alarm industry who are out to take advantage of the anxious alarm buyer. Therefore, the selection of a proper alarm system is not always a simple matter. The needs of each individual homeowner and business owner are different.

Some questions that should be answered when selecting an alarm system include:

  • What is the system going to protect? – Identify the target of the thief.
  • Where are the possible points of entry? – Doors, windows, roofs, etc.
  • What are the locations and types of sensors needed? – Motion detectors, glass break detectors, hold up switches, etc.
  • How will the alarm notify the authorities? – Through a direct telephone dial, a local annunciation device, central monitoring station, etc.
  • What type of monitoring is needed? – Is it connected to a central monitoring station?
  • Who will be operating the system? – The type and complexity of the user control board.

An alarm system should be simple to operate, designed to fit the lifestyle of the homeowner or the daily operating procedures of the business, and be easily adaptable to any foreseeable changes. An alarm system that does not fit your requirements will undoubtedly end up causing excessive false alarms, and will likely no longer be used.

Safety of your business is our business

 

Securing your office space

As the owner of your business you probably also wear the hat of chief security officer. As such, it’s important to keep the Boy Scout motto in mind and always “Be Prepared!” If you use common sense and a little planning, you can keep yourself and your business safe.

One very basic principle for any business is to secure all doors and windows before you leave the building. This may seem like a no-brainer, but employees have been known to forget from time to time. It is also wise to lock yourself inside the building if you or your employees need to work late into the night.

Since criminals tend to case out a building before breaking in, be sure you know everyone who steps foot inside your office. Post a “No Solicitation” sign and enforce it, only allowing people associated with your business to enter.

Having an alarm system is not only a good idea but a good investment. You can purchase a quality alarm system with a motion detector for only a few hundred dollars. Proudly post the signs that come with the system, letting would-be thieves know you are protected. You can monitor the alarm yourself or hire a company to monitor it for you.

Employee access

If your small business has a number of employees, only give trusted, long term employees keys to the building. Consider spending a little more to invest in a lock mechanism where all copies of the keys must be authorized by you and locksmiths won’t make copies without authorization. And if anyone loses a key to your building, spend the money to have the locks rekeyed.

If an employee is terminated, take proper precautions to protect your business. Each employee should have a unique password for the alarm panel and computer access, so you can easily delete their codes when needed. Otherwise, a disgruntled ex-employee could become security risk.

Safe safety

If you have any confidential client information or valuable assets you must keep in your office, you’ll need a good safe. Keep in mind that if you don’t follow some common sense rules, even a safe can be easily broken into. Here are some basic tips:

  • Find a good spot for your safe, keeping it out of sight. Place it so that it isn’t visible from any window or areas accessible to clients.
  • Don’t put your safe against a wall shared with another business or the outside. If that wall is smashed, the safe can be pulled out from the other side.
  • Use random numbers for the combination, ones that aren’t linked to dates associated with your business or life. And never write the number down. Memorize it.
  • Invest in a heavy safe with thick walls. And if possible, bolt it to the floor.
  • Limit the number of people who can access your safe to the bare minimum. Ideally, you would be the only one with the combination.

Cyber security

Your computer passwords are the high tech padlock holding off would-be cyber criminals from hacking into your vital accounts and databases.

Lists of the most common passwords are  lists are commonly posted on the internet. “123456” and “password” war back and forth for the top spot. Needless to say, these aren’t good choices. Neither are other popular choices, such as “qwerty,” “baseball,” or “dragon.”

Although the best passwords have no pattern, most people don’t want to memorize a long string of random characters. If you fall into that category, here are a few tricks you can use to create a secure password that isn’t hard to remember.

Consider turning letters into numbers. For instance, the number 1 can be substituted for an “L” or the number 3 can be put in place of an “E.” Zero works for “O” and 5 can take the place of an “S.”

Next, it’s a good plan to insert a few capital letters randomly within the word. And remember, the longer the code the harder it is to crack. Finally, if you add a few random characters to the mix, your password becomes even harder to guess.

For example, say your pet turtles’ names are Samuel and Melody. Following these simple rules, SamuelMelody could become #5aMu31m310Dy&.” That’s a hard password to hack.

Another good technique is what is called a passphrase. Instead of just a word or two, simply pick out a memorable phrase from something you like. A line from a favorite poem or anything else memorable, the more unique the better. Here is a line from a Christina Rossetti poem that would be a good example (except that now I have used it here it isn’t anymore). Don’t forget to run it together. “Theuplandflocksgrewstarvedandthinned.” Why is this good? Because length makes it much harder to crack a password.

Most cyber security expects would advise that you avoid using the same password for different accounts. That way, if someone does hack into your Twitter account, they won’t have access to your bank information and email account as well.

A technique combining everything we have done so far is to take some piece of the site name, like the last five letters of its name and combine them with your usual password in some way. Using the passphrase from above this might be after the first two words. Your password for facebook would then be “Theuplandebookflocksgrewstarvedandthinned” and for Yahoo it would be “Theuplandyahooflocksgrewstarvedandthinned”.

Some sites ask you various security questions to ensure you are really you. If you don’t use real answers for these questions, a hacker will have a tough time impersonating you.

For example, if you’re asked for your mother’s maiden name, select the name of your first pet instead. Keep in mind though, this only works if you keep that name a secret. In other words, don’t chat about Spot on Facebook.

Passwords are important for all your devices, too. If your laptop, phone, or tablet gets stolen, all your contacts and personal information could be easy to access.

Antivirus and Malware protection

In February 2015, The New York Times reported that a band of hackers stole hundreds of millions of dollars from over a hundred banks around the world. How did they manage such a theft? It was through simple malware, opened by unwitting bank employees.

Modern malware can not only record every single keystroke entered on a computer, but they can take screenshots as well. The cyber-bank robbers had the luxury of time, as they sat back and learned the intricate procedures of the banks involved.

On a smaller scale, what could a cybercriminal do with the personal information stored on your computer? Certainly, they could gather all your passwords and transfer money from your bank accounts into theirs. They would also be able to tap into any confidential client information, as well as other sensitive data.

So, how do you handle this threat?

Install anti-malware and anti-virus software on all your computer systems immediately! And be sure to update the software regularly to keep on top of any new advances in malware. Also, don’t open any attachments you receive from an unknown source.

Back up important files and documents

All your important information needs to be backed up. If your computer has a meltdown, or any other emergency occurs, and you don’t have your files backed up, it can be disastrous, particularly for a business.

The most secure method for backing up your files is to use an external drive in addition to a cloud system, so that all bases are covered. It also doesn’t hurt to put important files on a thumb drive or an alternate computer.

Some people purchase a fire-resistant safe for their hard drives, protecting the data from any mishap that might occur.

If your company has a server, you’ll need to take extra precautions to secure that system as well. Keep the door to the server room locked and change the password for the network monthly.

Keeping your building, assets, and computer systems secure doesn’t have to be time consuming or cumbersome. If you follow these few simple suggestions, you will avoid becoming an easy target and will keep your business safe.

Alternatively ,
Contact us on any of the following:
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Fax : 086 609 7337
Email : lerry@ellersecurity.co.za

 

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