The Christmas & New Year break is one of the peak times for theft and break-ins for homes and businesses across the country. It’s not always possible to prevent a burglary, but a few simple steps can make it harder for a potential thief to access your home or business:
Whether you close down over the Christmas break or continue trading, the risk of customer and employee theft, robberies, and even cyber-crime are all increased during the Christmas season. However, SMEs are often at greater risk than large multi-nationals, mainly because they have fewer backups and resources, and might seem like easier targets. So, what can you do to protect your SME from theft and break-ins this holiday season?
- Identify the risks that are unique to your business and then put steps in place to reduce these risks. Contacting your local police is a good step, because they know of common issues in your area, but talking to other businesses or store owners can also help to identify repeat offenders. Installing CCTV and a sign that indicates CCTV is in use are good deterrents, as is electronic tagging of merchandise. If running a store, locating small and easy-to-steal items within view of the POS is another great tip, as is not overcrowding your store with merchandise as this can make it more difficult to spot shoplifters.
- Staff: If possible, organise extra staff to manage the busy period and reduce your risk of theft. Encouraging your staff to make eye contact with each customer that enters your store is also a good deterrent, because they realise that they have been noticed. Keeping an eye on customers as they wander through the store, asking if they need any help, regularly changing store layouts and training your staff to identify suspicious behaviours are also good tips for preventing in-store thefts.
- Review your security measures. Routinely test your alarm system to ensure it still works, have it serviced regularly and updated as required.
- Review and update your insurance requirements: Your business may have grown or changed activities in the last few months. Contact your adviser to ensure that it is up to date, reflecting your current list of assets and your operating environment.
- Patrols: Many businesses hire patrol companies to check on their premises, however modern video patrols can also achieve the same or better results, often at a significantly lower cost. Obviously, this requires a capable CCTV system.
- Don’t boast about your holiday plans on social media: Burglars are becoming more creative and using social media to find out if you have left home or have purchased new high value items. A study of 50 ex-burglars found that 78 percent of the participants strongly believed that social media platforms are being used to help target properties. Check your privacy settings and limit your posting until you are back.
- Don’t make it obvious that you are away: If you plan on being away for a long period of time, ask a neighbour or close friend to check on your property, take your bins out and empty your letterbox regularly to hide obvious signs that you are not at home. Put any mail services on hold and if possible, make sure your lawns and mowed and garden is tidy. You want to make it look like someone is home during the festive season.
- Lighting & Alarms: Installing automatic sensor lights at the front of your house is not only a great way to deter burglars, it will also welcome guests to your front door. Use an automatic timer on your internal lighting to make it look like someone is inside at night. If you have an alarm system, make sure it is activated and working correctly. There’s nothing better than a loud noise to drive away unwanted guests.
- Security: Intruders love sliding doors, so make sure yours are protected. You can go old-school and use a window bar or dowel in the track to keep the door from being forcibly opened. Windows are the most common entry points for burglars, but unfortunately manufacturer latches on windows aren’t always effective. Increase your security with key operated window locks.
- Check your Home & Contents policy: You should regularly review your sums insured to ensure they accurately reflect the replacement cost of your building (if insured) and your contents, particularly if you have made any large purchases throughout the year.
In the event that something does happen, having the right insurance policies in place can help you get back on your feet sooner. Contact the allinsure team to discuss which policies are right for you, your home and your business.
General Advice Warning
The information provided is to be regarded as general advice. Whilst we may have collected risk information, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase this financial product.