Go to services

According to the most recent statistics from the MET, between July 2018 and June 2019 there were 21,374 business and community burglaries in London.

Combined with data from YouGov – which shows that the total cost of commercial burglaries to the British economy is £1.8bn and that the average cost of a small business burglary is £2,000 – it’s clear that burglary presents a significant threat to London businesses.

In order to properly protect their people, premises and assets, it’s important that business owners understand exactly what they’re up against. This will allow them to put in place the necessary provisions required to secure their businesses.

There are three primary types of commercial burglary. In this article, we’re going to outline what these are as well as give you some corporate security tips to help you avoid being targeted.


Opportunistic Burglaries

Opportunistic burglaries are performed on a whim. For example, a potential perpetrator may notice that a window has been left open or that a door has been unlocked. By taking advantage of such security lapses, an opportunistic burglar will enter your premises and steal as much as they can as quickly as they can.

Most of the time, the perpetrator will make no effort to avoid activating your alarm systems or to avoid being caught on CCTV. Instead, due to the nature of the crime, it’s more likely that they will enter quickly, grab whatever they can see, and leave.

Opportunistic burglaries are the easiest to prevent. And those who commit them are the most likely to be caught. Sadly, however, it was reported last year that UK police are only solving around five percent of all UK burglaries and robberies, which indicates that even opportunistic burglars are, more often than not, successful. As such, in order to prevent your business becoming targeted by opportunistic criminals:

• Ensure that windows and doors are closed and locked whenever your premises are unoccupied.

• Close your blinds at the end of each day to prevent criminals being able to see into your office.

• Lock valuable items and documents in drawers or cabinets.

• Never keep cash on your premises overnight (if this is unavoidable, keep it in a locked safe).

• Use signage to broadcast what security measures are in place.


Smash and Grab Burglaries

Smash and grab burglaries involve criminals using heavy items to smash windows and gain entry to premises. Occasionally stolen vehicles are used to ram their way into shops and help thieves make a hasty getaway.

Crimes in which the perpetrators use a motor vehicle to ram into a building – also known as ram raiding – are especially dangerous to the public, your staff and can be incredibly expensive to recover from.

Whether they use a motor vehicle or not, smash and grab burglaries can occur during the night or day, usually target the front of a building and are typically over within a minute.

To protect yourself from smash and grab burglaries:

• Use metal window shutters to protect the front of your building.

• Ensure the use of high-quality durable glass on all windows and doors.

• Install and use a rotating door as your main point of entry.

• Position visible CCTV cameras so that you always have a clear view of any large windows or doors.

• Station visible corporate security guards at the front of your business.


Sophisticated Burglaries

Unlike opportunistic and smash and grab burglaries, sophisticated burglaries are undertaken by criminals making use of intelligence and observation to minimise the chances of being caught – as well as to maximise the amount of time they have inside your building.

Criminals looking to undertake a sophisticated burglary will observe you and your staff to spot any security vulnerabilities. For example, if you leave your office vacant overnight, they may choose this time to act. They may also approach employees in order to try to get insider information about how your alarm system works and how to deactivate it. Alternatively, they may intentionally set your alarm off repeatedly until security guards and police stop responding to it.

To avoid being the victim of a sophisticated burglary:

• Use mobile patrols to conduct unscheduled, 24/7 observations of your premises.

• Ensure staff do not give out alarm codes or other critical security information – and change alarm codes regularly.

• Respond to all alarm soundings – especially if your alarm is going off more than usual.

• Hire manned corporate security to guard your premises overnight and over the weekends.

• Monitor CCTV footage to see if anyone is spending a significant amount of time observing your premises or approaching staff.


Churchill Security is a leading supplier of corporate security services in London and throughout the UK. As a leading corporate security company including corporate event security we provide only the most highly-trained security personnel and are members of the ACS Pacesetters – which represents the top 15 percent of all UK security companies.

Back To News

John Melling is a Director for Churchill Security Ltd. John is a highly motivated, determined and decisive security industry professional. Drawing on his extensive experience gained within the security industry whilst working on the coalface John has operated at all levels within the industry. He has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.