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Posted: 2010-03-05 / Author: Bob Power

Security Today Is Our Protection Tomorrow

It is unfortunate that in our country at the present time because of the high level of crime, it is imperative that the owner of a small business knows how to protect his business against crime

Recent surveys have highlighted the following factors- • Crime is the biggest worry for small businesses especially in the sectors of retail, transport (garages), corner cafes and in emerging businesses in previously disadvantaged areas. • There was little confidence about any progress of relief in the future. • Many did not see any decrease in crime levels over the next year and others expected crime levels to rise. • Burglaries and robberies were the most prominent crimes affecting small business owners • In one survey 54% interviewed had experienced one incident of crime in the past year and 31% twice and 20% three times. • The main target was cash (gives the criminal 100% return on their investment) and saleable goods-clothing, cameras, laptops etc The really bad news was that many had limited or no security systems at all, because of the expense involved and worse still did not have insurance cover. Also, although the figures are not known most reported crimes were only by those who had insurance cover so needed a case number so that they could claim on their insurance. So the correct figures will never be known. They were therefore easy pickings for the criminals In the upper market areas although systems were often in place and the owner had insurance cover, the level of crime was still high because the pickings were much greater and the criminals were taking more risks, especially in retail stores and jeweller shops etc The negative psychological impact of exposure to crime was very evident amongst those surveyed-trauma and stress was high. SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT The following points are a guidance-  There must be better communication with the police and especially follow up by the police.  Keep in touch with the local neighborhood watch.  Have a good relationship with other owners nearby.  The courts must play their part.  You must know your nearest police station, hospital and fire station and how to contact them.  Always be alert and aware-persons in the vicinity of you premises.  Don’t let persons into your premises without knowing who they are and ensure that they are escorted.  Don’t have trees, shrubs blocking entrances, windows, fencing etc  Try to get finances to assist you with getting systems such as guards, alarms and especially insurance cover.  Report crime even if the perpetrators are not known.  Don’t keep cash on your premises, if it is there, lock it away.  Have a clean desk policy. Don’t leave confidential documents etc on your desk. Lock them up.  Watch danger periods and protect your staff going to the banks, change their routes etc  Don’t leave staff alone at night time.  Beware of persons looking for jobs.  Don’t leave brief cases, important documents etc in your car.  Check out your staff carefully, they may be in league with the criminals.  Employee relationships are vital, create a positive working place, lead by example.  Ensure your premises are totally secured at night time, weekends etc.  Have good lighting in and outside your premises.  Do you prosecute staff who steal? There are many reasons saying “NO”but I believe that the right course of action is to prosecute. However-“You must go into court with clean hands” i.e. if you yourself are breaking the law, and your staff know, it could prevent you prosecuting otherwise. They will report you as well.  You have an obligation to protect your staff and their assets-handbags etc  Make sure your fire extinguishers are in order and you have first aid equipment available.  In buying a small business a security due diligence is necessary, has the seller kept to the law etc. Owners are liable for the safety of their employees. With regard to specific offences the following points are relevant- 1. Robbery. /Hi-jacking-Often the criminal is armed- • Accept their requests-do not argue. • Don’t try to negotiate. • It is imperative to identify the robber in one way or the other, such as language, names if used, weapons being used, kind of vehicle escaping in. • Do not activate alarms unless it is really safe to do so. • Deal with the persons in stress-get help. The best code is DETAIL- DRESS-what was the robber wearing ETHNIC COLOUR-Skin, complexion TALLNESS AND BUILD-Skinny, fat, tall, thin AGE-Mid 20s IMPERFECTIONS-Limp, scars, speech LOCKS (HAIR)-Length, wavy, clean, dirty It is not easy to say-but it is better to be a live coward than a dead hero. 2. Shop lifting- The increase in shoplifting is a cause for concern. Small shop owners must get professional advice-such as lighting, mirrors, searching etc To the small business owner –you don’t want to be a victim of security-precautions are necessary-put them in place. Get training and learn from others experienced in fighting crime. Having your own business can give you great rewards, one of the dangers is crime, earn how to deal with it. It will be to your advantage, easier said than done.

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