A northern security firm is urging current and potential customers to ‘Think Twice!’ and ensure customer security on and offline.
Taking its lead from a Celine Dion hit in the year of its foundation (1995), Sector Security, with headquarters in Preston and offices in Manchester and Leeds, says while music, fashion trends and society have changed over the last 20 years, the need to be vigilant has been a constant.
Commercial director, Dirk Wilson, says, “Many of us are leading hectic lives, which can make us careless when it comes to leaving property guarded and personnel safe. We live in a world of social issues, community and racial tensions and terror alerts, but often fail to consider the ‘what if?’ questions that could bolster our security. People often only appreciate the need for better security after an incident has occurred and they have become a victim. Our view is that this is far too late in the day. Preparation and prevention are essential.”
Around 9 million crimes are committed against commercial businesses annually. To help businesses and property owners stay safe in its 20th year, Sector Security has put together 20 top tips:
· Close all windows and roof lights before leaving the property – a high proportion of thefts occur through open windows.
· Lock the door before leaving the property. It’s easy to dash out and forget to lock the door, or think a colleague will do it.
· Set the alarm, if you have one. Do not share the code with all and sundry. Appoint dedicated alarm setters.
· Do not leave metal materials, equipment, tools or scrap around the property and on view. In 2013, there were over 1000 metal thefts a week from commercial businesses. A 2012 survey found 14% of manufacturing businesses experienced metal theft, 9% of wholesale and retail, 9% of transport and storage, 8% of food and accommodation providers.
· Secure vehicles by locking doors and fitting additional security devices. Most light commercial vehicles are stolen at night, so invest in out-of-hours mobile patrols, or fit pick-proof locks to your vehicles and keep vehicles out of sight.
· Install CCTV to protect property and personnel – from the internal thief, as well as the external. Adding a verbal warning system to your CCTV is an added layer of protection.
· Increase security if you operate your business out-of-hours. Statistically, the food and accommodation industry and its night-time economy attract the majority of non-theft related incidents, (e.g. attacks and assaults) so keep your staff and property secure, by installing deterrents.
· Prevent your property being vandalised by using out-of-hours mobile patrols, arriving at random times.
· Screen visitors before granting them entry, by using a remote reception service.
· Remember that catalytic converters and external parts of vehicles have a high value. Invest in an alarm that sounds if a vehicle’s exterior is attacked, or have mobile patrols monitor your van park.
· Protect the perimeters of your yards or plant storage areas thorough out-of-hours monitoring. Plant theft costs the UK construction industry over £800 million a year.
· Reduce your exposure to corporate manslaughter and homicide, by protecting your lone workers and not insisting employees respond to out-of-hours alarms.
· Don’t allow sensitive data or intellectual property to fall into the hands of competitors simply because of inadequate disposal of documentation. Invest in a secure shredding service.
· Protect guests at your events, by hiring skilled security guards, to deter gatecrashers and opportunistic thieves.
· Do not fall for the old thieves’ trick of setting off the alarm repeatedly until key holders/police think it has a fault and stop responding. A hired security service, would investigate each and every time.
· Only issue keys to well-trusted staff, who will not leave keys lying around. Make sure they understand the need to not just lock external doors, but also safes, drawers, filing cabinets and internal doors and cupboards.
· Train staff to watch out for suspicious behaviour, such as people ‘casing’ the building.
· Protect any vacant property that you own. This can be a target for vandals and interior and external damage could occur, if you do not have screening or mobile patrols monitoring it.
· If you have workers arriving early for work e.g. cleaners, or on late shifts that end well into the night, do not issue them with keys. Reduce your and their risk, by hiring a professional and secure ‘open and close’ service.
· If employees have to check in out-of-hours deliveries, give them professional backup. A freight-load of goods is highly attractive to thieves.