Christmas is upon us, a busy time for all business owners as many staff take annual leave and businesses operate on skeleton staff or no staff at all, Christmas provides thieves with a window of opportunity and a lower chance of being detected.
Looking at our own statistics it’s clear that Christmas comes with a surge of attempted intrusions on client sites. We analysed data collected over the past number of years to identify some clear Christmas crime trends:
• The business sectors with the most attempted Christmas time breaches are retailers, warehouses and construction sites.
• The busiest time of the day during the month of December falls between the hours of 6pm and midnight. 39% of all activity takes place during these hours.
• Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days of the week accounting for 34% of all attempted breaches.
So, what can you do to prevent break-ins and loss of stock? Luckily there are a number of tactics you can implement, let’s take a look:
1. Ensure Your Site Perimeter has Sufficient Lighting
Lighting is your first line of defence as it ensures a clear visual of would-be intruders. A well-lit site is less attractive to thieves than one with shadows and dark spots. Sufficient lighting also makes it difficult for thieves to stake out a business. Take the time to assess the lighting around the perimeter of your site or property.
2. Avoid Lone Worker Lock-ups
It’s quite common for the last lock-up before Christmas to be left to a single person. A lone worker presents an opening for opportunistic thieves who want to gain access to your premises. The best measure to protect your staff and business is to assign two workers with the responsibility of locking up in advance of the Christmas break.
3. Know Who is Coming In and Out
Christmas can be a busy time of year for many businesses. This means an increase in deliveries and new faces coming in and out of your premises. Criminals often take advantage of this by disguising themselves as a delivery driver or site worker. The disguise is often something simple like a hi-visibility vest and clipboard, but it’s enough to gain access undetected. There are plenty of measures available to protect yourself from this type of crime.
- Install an access control system for all entry points
- Put in an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system to track license plates
- Guarding your perimeter with a proactive video monitoring system will prevent entry over fences
4. Establish Locking Up Procedures
Before everyone breaks up for Christmas ensure there is a clear locking-up procedure in place. Meet with staff and share a locking up protocol. For example, what time should all staff be clear of the premises, who is responsible for locking up, who is assigned to accompany them? You might consider sharing a checklist of windows and fire escapes to be checked before the building or site can be considered secure.
5. Revisit Your Security Arming Protocol
If using a monitoring service, it’s always a good idea to revisit your security arming protocol ahead of the Christmas break. Your security system should be fully armed for the week nobody is present and your provider should be aware of any possible activity that could arise while the system is fully armed. Doing so prevents unnecessary phonecalls from your monitoring company leaving you and your staff to enjoy Christmas undisturbed.
It’s important to ensure that those responsible for taking calls will be available in the unfortunate event of a threat being identified. Although it sounds obvious, this role is best given to someone who will be available over the break and not planning to leave the country.
6. Deter Crime with Clear Signage
It’s not just retailers who should advertise this Christmas, if you have a security system in place let people know about it with clear signage. Be it a manned or monitored solution, obvious signage is a great first line of defence against would-be criminals. Highlighting your security system can deter many potential criminals from ever entering your premises in the first place. This kind of proactive measure can save you a lot of trouble further down the line.
7. Use a Temporary CCTV Monitoring Solution
Sometimes a temporary solution is the best way to secure your premises or site over Christmas. If you need to secure the perimeter of a large site you can implement a rapid deployment system. Netwatch designed a unit that can work without the need for internet or even power. The Netwatch Commander Unit uses the same intelligent software as our standard system, has the same rapid response times and can detect unauthorised activity from up to 100 metres away. This solution is often used by quarries, construction and waste management companies.
Have a Happy and Safe Christmas from All at Netwatch