With many stores, businesses, and offices closed, owners should take precautions to keep the premises safe. (Photo credit: Stock image)

Closed for the duration? Keep your business safe while you’re gone

Closed, empty businesses could be a tempting target for would-be thieves

Amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, many businesses and offices have either been told to close due to the necessity to observe social distancing and avoid close personal contact, or have elected to close their doors temporarily. It means that many more businesses and offices than usual are empty of staff for longer hours, making them more vulnerable to break-ins and/or thefts.

There are several things that business owners and managers can do to protect their properties and keep them secure while they stand empty:

Use effective lighting: The days are getting longer, but there are still plenty of hours where unscrupulous people can work under the cover of darkness. Having security lighting on the outside of your premises can be an effective deterrent. Not only is it likely to make would-be burglars feel more open to observation, it makes it easier for others to see if something suspicious is going on. There are a variety of lighting types available, including passive infrared lighting which is activated when someone comes into its field of vision.

Install cameras: These can be a significant deterrent, but they are just one aspect of security, as thieves can always cover their faces or keep out of the shot. Before you install cameras, you need to figure out exactly where and how to place them, and ensure you have sufficient lighting in the area.

Use a laptop lock: If thieves get into your business or office, laptops are a frequent, and tempting, target. If you can, ensure that you take laptops home at the end of the day, or lock them away where they cannot be seen or accessed.

Laptop locks — which act like bike locks — are also effective in making it difficult for would-be thieves to take your device. The lock is a metal cable that attaches to a hole in your laptop at one end, and is looped around, or connected to, a non-moveable object at the other end. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, and should be considered by any firm that has high-value portable equipment.

Keep important documents in locked cabinets: Losing confidential documents can be disastrous for your business. Keep any sensitive information locked in drawers or cabinets, and back-up virtual copies to an off-site hard drive.

Secure your cash: Remove any cash from the building for the duration of the closure. Keep a small cash float for short term needs if necessary, but deposit the remainder in the bank, or keep it in a location where you know it will be secure.

Don’t be a stranger: Many businesses and offices are currently closed to the public, but have staff inside working their regular hours. If your business has closed completely, and no one is working there, take time to visit it at least once a day at irregular intervals, to make sure all is well.

Good neighbours: If other businesses or offices in the area are still open, ask if they can keep an eye on your premises for signs of suspicious activity, and leave a contact number where you can be reached in case of emergency.


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