While burglaries in the New York area are down from last year, burglary of businesses is still all too common. Installing burglar alarms and security lighting are important first steps in burglar proofing your business, but there are other simple actions you can take to make it as hard as possible for thieves to get in and get away.
The FBI reports that burglaries in the U.S. result in losses of over $1.6 billion dollars each year. About 25 percent of these losses are at businesses where thieves have paid a visit. Crime experts also report that when buildings are equipped with strong anti-theft devices and procedures, those businesses and homes are less likely to be targeted.
Here are five tips for fortifying your business and making it harder for burglars to do business with you.
Reinforce Deadbolts and Locks
Breaking in through a doorway is one of the most common ways burglars enter a building. A few seconds with a crowbar or a few swift kicks is all it takes to overpower a poorly installed or poor quality door lock, even a deadbolt. While high-security deadbolts and entryway locksets cost significantly more, they are much harder to break into and are worth the investment.
The throw bolt of a deadbolt should project into the door jamb at least one full inch, and it should enter a metal strike box inside the jamb. The strike box should be attached with 3-inch long screws into sound framing. If the framing around the jamb is rotten or deteriorated, replace it first.
On the inside of the door, install a vertical metal plate 12 inches to 16 inches in length and about 1.5 inches wide centered behind the deadbolt on the edge of the door jamb. Attach it to the framing with 10 to 12 wood screws of 2-inches to 3-inches in length. This plate makes it even harder for the door to be rammed open by cracking the deadbolt through the jamb.
The deadbolt should be keyed on both sides, especially if there is a window in the door or next to it. A turn-knob on the inside of the lock is an invitation to thieves to break the glass and let themselves in. All exterior doors should be solid-core and fitted with shatter resistant glass if they have a window.
Reinforced deadbolts are not just for entry doors. They should be installed on backdoors and rooftop entrances as well. And don’t forget about windows with hinges that swing out. Deadbolts can be used to fortify these as well. On all windows, be sure the locking mechanism works properly, remember to latch it, and consider installing metal security shutters over the window, especially if it is easily accessible.
Do not key all locks alike. Different keys for each door makes it harder on anyone using a key for the wrong purposes. When locks are all keyed separately and a key is lost, it is less expensive to have a single lock rekeyed instead of the entire building. Only distribute keys as needed. Keep a written record of who has keys, and rekey locks as soon as possible when a key is missing.
Push-button and electronic card locks are becoming more common, and they have advantages over standard locks. Electronic locks can be set for temporary codes that are easily reprogrammed. This makes it simple to give a repair or deliver person or an employee access which can be quickly cancelled at any time.
Install a Monitored Alarm
Monitored alarms automatically contact the police station or a security company monitoring station when the alarm is activated. A monitored system can be silent, letting the police sneak-up on the burglars (if they arrive in time) or, it can sound at the alarm location and simultaneously notify the monitoring company, giving you double protection.
Monitored security alarms can relay their message through landline phones, cellular uplinks, or broadband connections. Landline phones can be disabled at the alarm site by cutting the phone cables, a trick often used by burglars on alarmed buildings.
Cellular connections do not have this problem and work even if the phone lines are down. Broadband is the fastest method of relaying the signal, and while it is the least expensive, it is also more prone to a missed or dropped connection.
A wireless security monitoring system also makes it easy to include video surveillance as an additional burglary deterrent. The video can be relayed to your smart phone and to the police. While it is never a good idea to approach a burglary in progress, unless you are the police, video footage of a successful break-in improves the odds of catching the thief and may be useful evidence when making a claim with your insurance company.
Securely keeping cash on-site at a business means having a high-quality safe. Bolt the safe to the wall or floor from inside the safe, going into sound framing. Police recommend placing the safe where it is visible from a window on the street and having a motion sensing light which illuminates the safe, making it easy for anyone on the street to spot a break-in attempt.
Even better than using a safe for overnight cash storage is depositing cash into a bank or other secure off-site location each day at the close of business. Leaving cash registers and safes open at night is a strong visual signal to would-be intruders that they are better off moving along.
Batten Down the Cyber Hatch
While physical break-ins are going down a bit, cybercrime is rising. Most of the news about this new area of criminal activity focuses on cyberattacks on big businesses and government agencies. But digital intrusion into small business accounts is actually a bigger part of the game, and all businesses with a web presence, internet sales, or online banking should protect themselves.
Often, a cyberattack starts with an email ‘phishing’ attempt. Train employees not to open any emails or attachments unless the sender is verified and approved. Monitor and limit Internet use at work and install strong firewalls on computers and keep them updated.
Keep computers with sensitive data on them locked up in cabinets or rooms with additional security and limit who has access to them. Wipe out or destroy old hard drives before you dispose of them, just as you would shred old paper records containing sensitive data. Many paper shredding companies now provide secure disposal of digital data as well as paper.
If your IT security skills are lacking, consider using a professional IT security service to get set-up with adequate digital protection and procedures.
Install Security Gates and Shutters
Security gates and shutters are powerful devices for preventing break-ins. Security shutters over all exterior doors, windows, and loading docks gives you a double layer of physical protection against intrusion.
Gates and shutters do not have to be ugly or intrusive looking. New designs, materials, and surface finishes mean a security gate or shutter can protect your business while adding value to the building’s aesthetics.
Security shutters can be installed inside also, providing additional protection for storerooms, offices, and other areas where valuables are kept. There are even security shutters which can also act as automatic fire shutters, protecting you in both ways.
Looking to install a security gate for your New York based business? Get in touch with New York Gates at 718-614-0616.