As Ireland felt the obvious effects of Storm Ophelia and with another hectic Halloween period, October 2017 has been one of the busiest months on record. With these two exceptionally busy periods in October, it comes as no surprise that attempted security breaches rose by 22% making October the busiest month of 2017.
The aftermath of Storm Ophelia on Irish business
Storms (unlike criminals) are a little bit more predictable, we had time to prepare and launch our Storm Contingency Plan. As many businesses emptied, our Communications Hubs increased staffing levels to deal with the increased volume of alarms.
Why do storms affect security systems?
A loss of power, loss of connection and an attempted security breaches as intruders may believe the system to be out of action can be primary issues when storms hit. On October 16th, 2017 our Storm Contingency Plan was activated to deal with the volume of events surrounding storm Ophelia.
How Storm Ophelia unfolded
- As the storm spread across the country, we saw a wave of our monitored sites losing power and internet connection.
- As per protocol, we contacted each client when their site had lost power or internet. Our customers were not surprised that they had lost primary connections, but protocol dictates that a client must be made aware if this does happen.
- There were a few isolated cases of Intruders attempting to access sites during Storm Ophelia while the power was out. Presumably they knew that power was gone, emergency services stretched and attempted to breach security while the system was seemingly inoperative. Once the storm had passed the workload was passed over to our service department. Their role was to liaise with the client, electricity and internet service providers to get systems back up and running as quickly as possible.
- Numerous cameras and supporting structures had been damaged. All of which were repaired and replaced as part of our managed service. Once our service engineers were on site they were able to inspect the sites security system and advise our clients if any perimeter had been compromised e.g. fallen fence. In some cases, this was done remotely during a camera sweep by our intervention specialists.
Netwatch Communication Hubs handled double the amount of alarms on the day of Storm Ophelia.
The aftermath of Halloween
Halloween is a predictably busy period for Irish businesses and Halloween 2017 proved to be one of the busiest on record. Numerous attempts were made this year to breach security and access sites, which held potential bonfire material e.g tyre, pallets and plastics.
How it unfolded
- The preceding 3 nights to Halloween were the busiest periods for intruders trying to access commercial premises. Incidents increased by 45% during this period.
- Many intruders entered the premises where bonfire materials were in public view and attempted to load a vehicles or trailers with materials. Alternatively, we would see youths run in, attempt to grab what was available and run back out.
- The busiest period in the run-up to Halloween is generally the preceding 3 days between 6.00pm and 9.00pm (out of office hours) however, this year attempted security breaches were at constant during the Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday given that business were vacant.
- Warehouse’s and Manufacturing were the big targets again for Halloween 2017. In the three days prior to Halloween, 21% of all attempted security breaches happened at warehouses and factories.
When & where to watch out for crime in November
Warehousing and Factory sites were the big target increasing by 17.6% in October particularly in Dublin and Cork. This is likely due to Halloween, but it may be worth taking extra security precautions considering that in November 2016 attempted security breaches at warehouses increased by a further 5.3%.
In November 2016, 43% of attempted security breaches occurred between 6.00pm and 12.00pm. We would be hopeful for a nationwide decrease for November 2017 as attempted security breaches in 2016 decreased by 20%.
Take home message
- Storm Ophelia and Halloween made October the busiest month of 2017. Attempted security breaches rose nationally by 22%.
- Security alerts on the day of Storm Ophelia increased by 225%. We found many of our sites had damage and compromised perimeters, ensure your perimeter is still secure and effective at keeping intruders at bay.
- Halloween 2017 proved to be one of the busiest on record, with the 3 days leading up to Halloween being peak periods with warehousing and factories the preferred target.
- We envisage a decrease in the number of attempted breaches for November. Take this time to ensure that your business premises security is in place for Christmas break.