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The Old Mill District
William Smith Properties, Inc.
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Compass Commercial Real Estate Services
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New Hope Church
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Bend Park & Recreation
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The Forum Shopping Center / G Group Holdings
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Security Tips The Bad Guys Don't Want You To Know
Landscaping: While landscaping can contribute to the aesthetics of a building, if not carefully controlled and thoughtfully designed, it can also provide hiding places for those with a criminal intent. Evaluate the location and height of plants and shrubs by doors, windows and walkways with security in mind. Consider planting “protective plants” which have thorns (i.e. barberry, rose bushes, etc.) as an additional means to keep criminals uncomfortably away.
Lighting: Lighting has been used as a means for crime prevention since the dawn of time. Properly applied lighting has a positive influence on both safety and security. Make sure that you have adequate lighting around doors, windows, walkways and parking areas. Consider what lights you leave on inside your building after closing. Is the emergency lighting system (if available) in good working order? What action will you take if a power failure happens? Lighting is one of the most cost effective ways to provide a safe and secure working environment for your employees.
Perimeter Security: Statistics (and common sense) show that doors and windows are the most frequent points of attack in a burglary. Make sure all doors and windows have the proper structural integrity and that they are closed and locked properly. More often than not, thefts or other incidents occur simply because a door or window is left unlocked. Check to see that large objects such as rocks, planters, ashtrays, tools, etc. are not located by entry points. These items could be picked up and used to break open a door or window. Secure items inside such as ladders and hand tools that could be used to gain access to windows or the roof. If your location has a security fence, make sure that vehicles aren’t parked directly next to it (including inside the fence) providing criminals with cover to cut the fence or an easy platform to use in climbing over the fence.
Arriving or Leaving Work in Low Light Conditions: In the winter or when working later hours, it’s not uncommon to arrive or leave in the dark. These employees can be susceptible to safety issues or criminal attack. Employees often walk to their cars after work with things on their minds or are preoccupied and fail to be alert or pay attention to their surroundings. While walking to a vehicle an employee should be aware of what is happening around them and return to a safe place if uncomfortable. If possible, leave in groups and wear brightly colored clothing to improve visibility. Another consideration would be to carry items such as pepper spray, a whistle or battery powered personal alarm device.
Closing Procedures: At closing make sure someone checks inside the office building or store for someone hiding or locked inside. These criminals sometimes referred to as “lock-ins” will wait until everyone has gone before committing a crime. Make sure to check restrooms and other potential hiding areas and designate someone with this responsibility. Call us, if you need help in this area.
Intrusion Detection Systems: Determine what level of security is needed after your business is closed. Access control, alarm systems, fire system, CCTV/DVR camera systems, and/or a private security officer. Make sure to have a sound physical security plan with each system. Follow this up with proper training for each system.
Contingency Plans: What actions will you take in response to various emergency situations? All businesses should have plans in place in case of natural disasters, power failures, fires, bomb threats, robberies, and burglaries, etc. Make sure to have some emergency supplies, flashlights, etc. on-hand. Important information such as financial documents, contracts, hard drive content, should be backed up and secured in a safe place, preferably in another location.
Identification Program: If a burglary or robbery takes place at your place of business, would you be able to identify your lost or stolen property? Each business or department should be able to identify property with a description and serial number if possible. You may want to use an electric engraver and mark the objects for identification. This will help in proving which items are from your company and in some cases, marking an item can discourage the theft in the first place.
Key Control: Locks and keys are the basic safeguards of any business. They are the first layer of security. The type of lock and key system you have will be governed by how much security you need and your budget. Even the best system will fail if it’s not managed correctly. Keys can be lost or stolen, so a system in which keys are marked “DO NOT DUPLICATE,” is a good investment. A numbered system, which can be audited and updated, will ensure good key accountability. When employees leave the company or a key is lost you should consider changing locks and keys. Remember, locks and keys are useless if not properly controlled.
Establishing a Protective Foundation: Don’t forget that you’re in business to make money. In any business, that begins by having control of all your assets. One of the most common ways to lose these assets is by way of burglary. Burglary can be deterred by not advertising your assets after closing. Often times the criminal element will see computers and equipment such as laptops, TV’s or equipment though the window at night and break the window to gain access. This is known as a “smash and grab” and is one form of burglary. One way to combat this burglary is by using shades or curtains to hide your valuables. Close them at night before you leave. If they don’t see or know of the assets in your office, they are far less likely to burglarize your business.
Document Security: According to a variety of studies, businesses lose between $2 billion and $4 billion a year to their competitors. The losses are the result of a competitor’s learning the business secrets of others, many times through underhanded means. Lock up and secure sensitive information and control access to these locked files. Safeguard your computer network via firewalls and a password-protected system, which is changed frequently. Backup business information and store at a remote server or have a copy of this in a secured second location. Purchase and use portable shredders for your discarded sensitive documents and watch closely what winds up in your trash. If you have a large amount of documents to be discarded, consider a commercial shredding company.
Educating Employees: Why not make all of your employee’s part of the solution? Crime prevention is everyone’s business and is cost effective. Loss prevention, asset protection, safety and security are all related to running a successful business. By educating each employee with knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to loss prevention, you empower your employees with a sense of ownership and teamwork. Don’t forget to include your maintenance, cleaning crew, and other tenants in your safety and security plan. Remember, your employees are your greatest asset. Enhancing their sense of safety and security at work is a win-win result worth achieving.
These ideas were developed by and are provided courtesy of Security Pros, Inc.
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