‘Tis the season to be jolly. But as we prepare for Christmas, it’s important to remember that some people are preparing to ruin the festivities – criminals.
In fact, the Christmas period is notorious for crime. And this year, as usual, police are getting ready to deal with a spike in criminal activity.
The good news is that there are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure your business is properly protected. No one wants to discover their premises or assets have been compromised during the festive period.
At Churchill Security, we understand the importance of protecting your business over the Christmas period. No matter what industry you operate in, it’s crucial you take measures to increase business security with effective security solutions this festive season.
By utilising the advice in this guide, you can take the necessary measures to protect your business. With only a few weeks to go until the big day, this guide will show you exactly how to keep your business secure this Christmas.
Alarm systems are you first line of defence against criminal activity. That’s why it’s important you check your alarm system is installed correctly and working properly.
If technology isn’t your strong point, it’s possible to arrange for the alarm company which installed your system to come and look at it to fix any problems.
It’s better to take measures likely to increase security now than to find a broken window or smashed-in door.
Shoplifting is a major problem during the festive season. In fact, a 2017 survey conducted by the British Retail Consortium revealed shoplifting accounts to a loss of approximately £500m a year.
The Federation of Independent Retailers also recorded some worrying facts about the extent of retail crime, such as the number of robberies per 100 stores increasing consecutively by six percent in the last year, incurring financial losses of between £700 and £1,500 per incident.
If you stock items which are in high demand (especially expensive ones), make sure you place them close to tills, or within view of CCTV security cameras.
Also think about the layout of your store. You may want to consider placing mirrors above aisles and checking there are no blind spots – this may involve moving displays away from exits.
Think about placing valuables in cabinet displays with secure locks, and “facing” merchandise on the edge of displays and shelves. The latter ensures products are aligned in a one-row wall, which makes spotting any missing items much easier.
When customers enter your shop, make eye contact with them and approach them in a friendly and professional manner. If you notice they’ve been lingering for too long around the same object or aren’t making any purchases, alert your manager or manned security guards to watch them closely.
It’s important that you and your staff change your passwords regularly on all electronic devices, as even if you haven’t shown passwords to anyone else, hackers and scammers can still access them discreetly.
The National Cyber Security Centre has guidance for small businesses about how to protect data from hackers, phishing scams and viruses.
Be particularly wary of Christmas scams. A study conducted by anti-virus software company McAfee found that 49 percent of people did or would open a holiday themed e-mail – even if they didn’t know the sender.
Email scammers will often claim they are from a bank, Amazon, eBay or another well-known company. These scams can come in the forms of fake invoices, account activation emails with links – you shouldn’t ever click URL links in emails from unknown senders – or invitations to chain emails. As such, you should alert your staff to the dangers of such scams and remind them, to never give out personal information.
Lock stock rooms and make sure all staff have verified security passes or a PIN code to access them.
All employee valuables should be kept in lockers or a safe and these shouldn’t be visible from the outside – if necessary, board up windows but make sure stairs and fire exits are clear.
Train employees to deal with suspicious behaviour by following robust security plans and procedures, such as double-checking all staff rooms and entrances are locked securely before leaving and enabling security alarm systems.
If you don’t have shutters or grilles for your store, you might want to invest in them as after shopping hours criminals can be tempted to linger near your store and plan how to break-in during the night.
Robberies and shoplifting aren’t the only crimes committed over the holidays – incidents of mugging, car theft and not paying restaurant or bar tabs also increase.
Installing CCTV will help trace criminals who run away from the scene of the crime and acts as a deterrent to ward off anyone thinking of physically harming your employees or damaging your premises.
Placing cameras outside of the doors to stock rooms and staffrooms can also act as an effective business security tactic.
You may want to have your manager or security guards check employees’ bags and coats when leaving the building to make sure none of your stock goes with them.
Also think about ensuring all staff have clocked out at the end of the day, so you can keep a track of who left at what time.
In 2016 businesses reported more than £40m in losses due to employee theft. Therefore, it’s paramount that you don’t take chances with anyone who works for you.
If you work in the retail industry, consider checking changing rooms for security tags hidden in the linings of curtains and anywhere else they could be tucked into, such as behind mirrors.
Hiring security guards for whatever kind of business you run is likely to discourage crime occurring in your premises and outside – mobile patrols can be deployed to survey areas which need monitored any time of the day or night.
Consider investing in business security methods to decrease the chances of seeing in the New Year with despair. Often there can be devastating consequences of not preparing for the worst and no one wants to discover their premises have been sabotaged during the festive period.
Churchill Security has been keeping businesses safe for over 25 years, maintaining a customer retention rate currently at 95 per cent.
Call us today for your free no obligation quote and find out how our security solutions can enable your business to run effectively.