A winter security checklist for dark nights
As the clocks go back, that usually brings with it an increase in domestic burglaries of up to 20%. Businesses are not immune to this spike either as the cover of darkness works just as well for those targeting business premises as homes. In fact, in some ways, commercial premises can be more vulnerable.
Those businesses that operate standard office hours will shortly find themselves both opening and locking up in darkness. That means that it’s dark for the entire period that the premises are unoccupied, giving intruders a much bigger window of opportunity.
Therefore, before the winter sets in, it would be prudent for all businesses to make sure their security protections are in place. The following is our checklist of measures you should consider:
Locking the premises up at the end of the working day is a big responsibility so make sure the person tasked with it has the authority and the appropriate training to do so. If you have a number of people doing this on different days and you suspect that some are better than others at setting the alarm/locking the doors you could consider using a key fob/card burglar alarm system that can monitor when it has been set (or even if it hasn’t been set at all) by operator. Likewise with an access control system. This may highlight the people that require a bit more guidance or training. People want to get home quickly when it’s dark and cold and may be more inclined to rush the process so this can account for an increase in human error.
It seems too obvious but the best way to combat darkness is light. Security lighting that works on a sensor or a dusk til dawn basis will illuminate your property and make it much harder for a would-be intruder to remain undetected.
You might want to consider a CCTV system that has infra-red night vision. It’s not just useful for after-the-event evidence, it can act as a deterrent as well. If you really like to know what’s going on you can even log into the cameras from anywhere via online monitoring for peace of mind.
Have you thought about what your plan would be if your alarm was triggered in the night? Businesses are not actually under any legal obligation to have an alarm response mechanism but good practice states that you would want to know if it has been triggered while your premises are unoccupied. The most basic notification would be via a speech dialler that would ring or text you in the event of an activation. Many businesses opt for an monitored alarm, where notifications would go first to an alarm receiving centre who would then either notify a nominated key holder, the police, an emergency break secure and repair response or a guard response – depending on what cover you opt for.
Do you want to be getting out of bed to respond and can you be confident that you can deal with whatever situation you might find there? You’ll need to weigh up the likely risks in your particular business and make that decision.
Had any staff changes? It’s always worth giving your key holder list a review to make sure the alarm receiving centre has up to date information.
When the building is secured at night you need to know that all possible entry points are secure. This can either be the responsibility of the person who is locking up or different people could be responsible for different areas of the building – just make sure that everyone knows the plan. You may want to consider some security shutters which can not only prevent a break-in but guard against vandalism such as broken windows and doors.
A break-in will always cost you money, even if they don’t manage to take anything. Damage to doors, locks and windows and disruption to business can be costly. As we approach winter, now is the best time to make sure you have a security plan in place and that all those with responsibility for implementing it understand what’s expected.
If you would like to take advantage of a free business security audit, give us a call on 0345 833 5543.