The holidays are upon us and everyone is looking forward to spending some quality time with their loved ones. However, every business owner knows that long holiday breaks like those around Christmas and New Year’s can spell trouble and bring increased theft, trespassing, and vandalism to their properties. Luckily, there are ways to fight back against crime and increase protection levels during vulnerable holiday periods. Here are a few tips to help protect your business over the holidays and bring some peace of mind:
ENSURE CAMERAS ARE FUNCTIONING AND VISIBLE
Making sure that surveillance equipment and cameras are highly visible can be a great way to prevent and deter potential crime. Additionally, give your equipment a check and verify that everything is working perfectly before the holidays starts. Posting signs that any trespassers are being monitored is also a great way to stop would be criminals from carrying out their plans and damaging your company.
LIMIT ENTRY POINTS TO JUST ONE
Limiting access to your business reduces the likelihood of break-ins and makes it much harder for would be criminals to get away with theft and vandalism. Restricting access and verifying visitor identities is a great way to improve security without much work.
LOCK UP VALUABLE ASSETS
If you’re worried about valuable assets stored at your business, then take some extra precautions and lock them up more than you typically would. Adding some extra barriers to these assets is often enough to discourage would be thieves and vandals. Remote guarding solutions are also very helpful in protecting valuable assets overnight, as criminals get caught in the act and are typically scared off by agent voice downs telling them to leave the property.
CHANGE IT UP
If your business is being cased by criminals, they’re watching for your patterns, your routines. Be sure to change up what time you/your employees drop cash from the till, and what time money is taken to the bank.
When an employee is by themselves, businesses are the most vulnerable. If possible, operate with at least two people for all shifts, especially opening and closing shifts.
Be smart. Put money bags or contains, expensive items or other valuables out of sight and protected from grab-and-go criminals. Don’t leave the cash register unattended.
Ensure you and your employees are aware of your surroundings. Pay attention! If there is someone hanging around at the time of closing that should not be, don’t hesitate to call a security/police non-emergency line.
Maintain visibility throughout the store. Make sure you can see the front door, that there are no “hidden areas,” and your shelves are positioned so that someone cannot hide. Increase visibility from the outside looking in.
TIPS FOR PROTECTING MERCHANDISE
An increase in workers can mean an increased potential for theft. With more merchandise and more employees present during the holidays, it’s important to have steps in place to protect your inventory. Evaluate daily transactions, review security camera videos and validate voided or deleted sales to help mitigate theft. It can help to have cameras and supervisors visible on the sales floor. Clearly communicate company policies and protocols on theft, and consistently enforce them when appropriate to protect your business.
- Limit Access to areas that are off limits to customers. Use signs indicating “Employees Only” for back rooms and storage areas.
- Control Activity in your store. Deter shoppers from entering your business with open bags, large totes, etc. Consider using signage at the entrances that indicate no open bags or large bags are allowed. Give customers an option to tape their bag closed with decorative tape that you provide. It is not recommended that you store bags for your customers.
- Maintain Visibility throughout the store. Make sure you can see the front door, that there are no “hidden areas” and your shelves are positioned so that someone cannot hide.
- Determine what your employee signal will be. This is a code word or name that indicates immediate assistance is needed or that the police need to be called. It can be used over the intercom, in person, or by word of mouth. Make sure all employees know the word or name and what it means.
- Additional Staff during the holiday season provides additional control and monitoring of shoppers. Greeters should be at all entry/exit points, making eye contact with all customers. Small talk is also a deterrent for criminal activity.
- Don’t Stereotype. Anyone can shoplift or steal from you.
- Don’t leave the cash register or money unattended. Make frequent bank drops using different employees and different routes. Two people are safer than one.
- Don’t count money or move money while customers are still in the store.
- Increase visibility from the outside looking in.