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“Another break in and my business will close down”

Can small businesses afford the cost of security? And what is the price of insufficient security?

Businesses in Wyke, Bradford, are appealing for more security in the town centre after being hit by several burglaries over the last few months. One business in particular has been hit 5 times this year including twice in the same week. These businesses are calling for CCTV or street cameras to be installed by the council as a deterrent, claiming it has a responsibility to take action to protect the town’s businesses. See the story here.

There is potentially a debate to be had as to whose responsibility it is to provide security for these businesses but it’s clear that better measures than those currently in place are required. One of the business owners spoke about getting security for her shop “It’s OK people saying ‘get this, get that’ but where does the money come from?”, indicating that her business could not afford to have sophisticated security measures installed. She did also state that the break ins were “costing me a fortune. If it happens again, my business will close down.”

The issue of responsibility aside, this dilemma is one that many businesses face when it comes to security: how much can it afford to spend on security and what is the cost of not investing in it? It’s certainly true that there is a cost to security and that cost comes off the bottom line. If you are a small business then margins can be tight and you have to weigh up the cost of security against the risk of not having it. You could invest in a range of security measures and then never experience a break in (though the two facts could be related!), however if you don’t invest in them how big an impact could that have on the business? As you can see with the companies in this example, the cost of these break ins could well mean the end of the businesses.

A local business experiencing the same issues, Ackworth Garden Centre, approached us about the loss they were incurring through break ins and shoplifting. It was clear that this was unsustainable to the business and we put in place a number of measures to counteract the specific issues they were having. While there was clearly a cost to this, it dealt with both problems very effectively and the savings overall far outweighed the cost.

Cost of security v risk of a break in

In this situation, as with the shops in Wyke, the answer is actually obvious: invest in security or eventually go out of business. But if you perceive the risk to be low, the choice isn’t perhaps as straightforward. Of course, there will be a degree of guesswork involved, especially for a new business, but a ‘wait and see’ strategy of not implementing security until you see a real need for it (often not until the event of a break in) can be costly – not only in terms of the actual cost of damage and theft, but of the increase in insurance costs and the message it sends to other would-be intruders.

However big you perceive the risks to be, we would always propose an absolute minimum of good quality locks and a working burglar alarm. Other solutions such as CCTV, alarm monitoring, security lighting and shutters are things you may want to consider to deter thieves. We are, of course, more than happy to give specific advice and conduct site surveys to propose the most appropriate measures for your business.

To arrange a site survey call us on 0345 833 5543 or send us a message.