The fourth part of ‘The New Shop Owners Guide to Security‘ focuses on what security products you can install in your premises to help keep you protected…
KEYS AND LOCKS
Every point of entry on a retail premises should be securely locked at the close of business every day, and those locks should be of the highest possible standard, especially if your business has expensive goods on site that will be left unattended overnight. The internal and external doors and windows should be securely locked and secured with padlocks, secure locks and/or electronic locks. Whatever will keep an intruder from advancing further through your property is a positive. The more trouble you cause for an intruder, the more likely they are to vacate the premises. A very important point to remember is that you don’t leave any keys on the premises overnight, and keep goods away from windows to protect your store from a smash and grab situation.
There is still nothing better for your property than having a great quality security alarm system fitted on the premises. The number of alarms on the market is incredible, and you can get quality systems for a good price. A good alarm acts as a deterrent as much as anything else, as the majority of intruders will see that an alarm is fitted and carry on walking. But it is important that the alarm is used properly. Having the alarm fitted but not switching it on, in the hope that having it will be enough, is a sure fire way to get yourself into trouble. If the camera isn’t on, it isn’t going to capture anything in the event of an intrusion.
Installing security lighting into your retail premises can act as a great deterrent for criminals, as it can create the illusion that people are still on the premises and give your property a little extra security when staff are exiting the premises. It is very important that all the lights are operating and that all entrances and exits are well lit at all times. Some retail premises choose to leave lighting on overnight, but it is completely down to the business owner and what they deem appropriate. Having security lighting in areas where criminals could hide, e.g. trees, bushes and fences, is a good idea and can prevent intruders from settling.
When you decide to have CCTV cameras installed, it is important that you consider where you are going to position them. There is no point having cameras pointing into the shop but they are not in a good enough position to capture an image of an intruder. Carefully positioning the cameras around the premises so that they focus on entry points and capture as much of the premises as possible is the best way to protect your store and is far more likely to lead to a conviction if the cameras are positioned well enough to catch the criminals on film. When you have your cameras installed, the security company can help you optimise the potential of the CCTV by giving you advice as to where the cameras could be positioned.
A great deal of the security plan will focus on night time security, when it is far more likely that intruders will target your shop. But thieves still operate on a daily basis, and they contribute to millions of pounds worth of stolen goods every year. To combat shoplifting and theft alongside CCTV, installing mirrors in your shop is a tried and tested way of letting thieves know that you are watching and that it won’t be tolerated. Mirrors give you full view of your store and will give you the upper hand in your bid to prevent shoplifting.
Another popular and tried and tested product to help combat shoplifters is to have signs fitted in clearly visible places around your shop. It most cases, these signs will put doubt in the mind of shoplifters because they will know that you are aware of the issue and that you take your security seriously. The most popular shop sign for deterring thieves reads: “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted” and has been scaring away shoplifters for years. It also gives the shop owner more power legally in the event that they catch a shoplifter red-handed.
Having a safe on the property is a very good idea and can be used as a storage facility for more than just your hard earned cash from the daily takings of the business. It can also be used to keep any important documents that you have to keep on the premises, and it is a good storage system to keep files, receipts and ordering forms together; safe, secure and out of harm’s way. It is essential that no important documents are left out in the open as they could be grabbed by opportunist thieves or – worse than that – lost amongst all the clutter and files that you may have behind the counter or in your back office.
Some councils across the country have their reservations about retail operations installing security shutters on their premises. Their reasoning is that they give the impression of an area that has been hit by crime or is at least expecting to be hit by crime, leading to the area surrounding the shop being unwelcoming to visitors.
Retail owners have responded in saying that they feel that it is in their best interests to be as secure and as protected as possible, and if that means to put up a security shutter on the front of their premises, then they have the right to do so.
In the 2,500 shops that were looted across the UK during the riots of August 2011, the majority of those shops were independent stores that didn’t have the same security measures as the larger or wider known stores did, and therefore suffered as a consequence.
The riots are an extreme case that we all hope will not be repeated, but it definitely highlighted the need for better security on retail premises. As long as the shutter is not going to cause damage or lessen the aesthetic of a Grade One or Grade Two listed building – as some shops are situated in these buildings – then it should really be up to the discretion of the shop owner as to whether they feel that shutters are necessary for their security needs.
A popular alternative to the roller shutter, a security grille protects your windows and doors and can be designed to come perforated, which makes visibility into the shop a great deal easier and is sometimes a better option for a retail operation. The grille is manufactured from steel and aluminium, so there is still a high level of security in the product, but the high visibility also enables you to be able to reach out to potential customers during out of hours. After all, people always need to window shop.
The next part of the guide will focus on cash handling and the best practices for keeping cash safe on the premises…