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  • Writer's pictureKCS Projects

How Thieves Target Businesses (And How To Avoid Becoming A Victim)

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Thieves are experts at getting into secure buildings and can notice security gaps that property owners may have overlooked.

In particular, professional burglars can use highly sophisticated techniques to identify targets and scope out security weaknesses, and may secretly observe routine operations in your business to determine the best time and method for a break-in.

Here, we will look at the common methods that burglars and thieves use to target businesses, and outline some simple changes you can make that will improve your business' security.

Types Of Commercial Burglary

Generally, commercial burglaries are placed into three categories:

Smash And Grab - As the name implies, a 'smash and grab' burglary is when thieves break into a property and take whatever they can. Smash and grab is the most frequent type of commercial burglary, and usually targets retail shops among other businesses.

Smash and grab burglaries may also involve the use of a stolen vehicle to crash through a shop front; this is known as ram-raiding, and it causes significant property damage while also posing a high risk of harm to staff and members of the public.

Opportunistic - Professional burglars have a keen eye, and if there are any weaknesses in your physical security, a potential wrongdoer will likely have already noticed them. For example, if you have a ‘dummy’ alarm, poorly secured windows and doors, or no CCTV system in place, your business is likely to become a target for crime.

Retail premises are particularly likely to be affected by this type of crime, as they will stock display items in windows - which are easily smashed.

Sophisticated - Sophisticated burglaries are when burglars use information acquired from observation, inside knowledge, and research to break into a premises.

This type of burglary requires thorough planning, and may involve using a member of staff to gain access to the property, and/or dismantling the building’s security systems using the knowledge gained from their research.

Types Of Premises Frequently Targeted By Thieves

All types of business are potentially at risk from theft, but some industries are targeted more frequently than others. If you have one of the following types of businesses, you should pay particular attention to your on-site security.

Retail - Retail premises are an easy target for thieves because they usually keep cash on the premises (and often overnight), and frequently have few employees in the store - thereby making it easier to intimidate or persuade staff.

Shops that are open at all hours may be particularly at risk, as thieves can enter when the shop and surrounding areas are quiet.

There is also the risk of theft being perpetrated by employees, as they will have ready access to the premises, will handle cash, and may have the opportunity to tamper with stock checks.

Warehouses/Distribution Centres - Warehouses and distribution centres are frequently targeted by inside threats (e.g. thefts by employees), due to the ‘blind spots’ in security that are often found in large buildings.

In addition, warehouses are often manned by a large workforce, which makes it easy for thieves to blend into the crowd and go unnoticed.

Construction Sites - Construction equipment is often expensive, and therefore of value to thieves. This equipment may be taken by workers – either deliberately or by accident - and sites are often targeted at night by burglars.

The construction equipment is often powerful and dangerous too, meaning it may be stolen by violent offenders for use as a weapon.

Car Parks And Transport Storage - Car theft is a common problem for businesses that keep fleets of vehicles on-site. Vehicles are worth large sums of money, and driving a stolen vehicle can also help criminals to disguise their identity.

Oil and petrol thieves may also target large goods vehicles or fuel storage depots, and can drain an oil tank in mere minutes - thereby causing businesses to suffer significant financial losses and disrupted operations.

What Burglars Look For In A Target

Burglars have three main requirements when choosing a target: easy access and departure, accessible valuables, and poor security.

Therefore, burglars frequently target businesses that:

• Are open late, when fewer staff and potential witnesses will be around

• Keep cash on hand

• Sell valuable items such as jewellery

While other factors that may prompt burglars to target your business can include:

• Unsecured doors and windows

• Piles of unopened mail, as this indicates that nobody is around to receive it

• Obvious and unsecured valuables

• No intruder alarm or CCTV system in place

• Being located somewhere convenient for thieves, i.e. your premises is easily accessible by road, and offers cover (such as trees, for example) that will prevent witnesses

How To Avoid Becoming A Target

There are several steps that you may choose to take to secure your property against burglars and thieves, including:

• Installing the appropriate security technology for your property, such as CCTV systems, intruder alarms, and access controls

• Ensuring compliance with the best practice security protocols for your industry

• Keeping hedges and bushes trimmed and ensuring your shopfront is visible from a public road

• Keeping any cash in a locked safe, and ensuring valuable stock is stored securely

• Having at least two members of staff on-site during all working hours

• Keeping staff up to date on security training, and disciplining any personnel who commit employee theft or assist thieves

Want to give your business the best possible protection against thieves and other security threats? Give us a call!


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