COVID-19: Protect Your Business from Theft & Vandalism

As businesses brace for the economic impact of COVID-19, there are also other risks to watch out for during this crisis. Theft and vandalism are often crimes of opportunity. With businesses left empty, criminals can take advantage. Here are some tips to help protect your company from theft and vandalism during the coronavirus crisis:

  • Locking up
  • Proper lighting
  • Surveillance 
  • Alarm systems
  • Be cautious on social media

These preventative measures might seem straight-forward but they can actually be quite complicated. We’ll discuss each of these in more detail below. 

Lock Up to Protect Your Business from Theft During COVID-19

Locking up doesn’t just mean locking the doors behind you when you leave. Forced entry won’t necessarily be stopped by a locked door – door jambs are often weak points and doors can easily be taken off their hinges. But here are some tips to improve your business’ locking up security during the coronavirus crisis:

  • Use deadbolt locks on all doors. You can also install a deadbolt protection device to help prevent lock-picking.
  • Install a wrap-around door jamb reinforcement plate. Criminals can bypass good locks by breaking down a door. 
  • Retrofit existing door hinges or install a secure door hinge to reduce the chance a door can be removed by its hinges.
  • Install a foot lock for sliding doors. You can also simply place a piece of wood or metal to prevent the door from sliding. 
  • If you have an overhead or garage door, add a padlock to prevent or slow access. If there is not a lockable latch, you can drill a hole in the track above a roller and secure a lock there. 
  • Double-check that all windows are securely closed. Window locks can also help make break-ins more difficult. 
  • Metal roll-shutters are an additional deterrent to thieves. However, they’re not an option for all businesses and can be expensive. 
  • Use padlocks that minimize exposure of their shackles, which should be as thick as possible. This makes them more difficult to cut with bolt cutters.
  • If you aren’t removing all valuables, use a burglary resistant safe made of steel or metal
  • You can add a security anchor to help secure materials and equipment. 
  • Secure any gates before you leave. Again, use a padlock to make it more difficult for close access to your business. 
Lighting Helps Protect Your Business From Theft & Vandalism

Lighting is an important deterrent for vandals and thieves. It makes them easier to be seen by witnesses and security systems. Here are a few lighting tips to deter theft and vandalism during the COVID-19:

  • Leave lights on inside your establishment. 
  • Install motion-sensor-activated lighting both inside and outside your building. These units are generally very affordable. 
Surveillance During the COVID-19 Crisis to Prevent Theft & Vandalism

Setting up a surveillance and alarm system can prevent crime as well as help catch anyone who tries to steal or vandalize your business during the coronavirus crisis. However, it’s important to have a proper – otherwise, it will not be effective. Here are some tips to ensure your surveillance system is deterring thieves and vandals during the COVID-19 isolation period:

  • Cover all the angles. A high-mounted dome camera can help catch suspicious activities while a lens with a longer-focal length aimed at key points such as a door can help identify criminals. The more area you have covered, the better. 
  • Have the right lighting. Ensure you have lighting to get useful video. Eliminate shadows if possible. You can also invest in cameras with infrared capabilities or a low lux rating that will perform better in lower light.
  • Protect the cameras. Cameras need to be protected from the elements if they’re outside as well as from potential damage by thieves or vandals. While it can be useful to place cameras in obvious locations as a deterrent, this also leaves them vulnerable to damage. 
  • Manage recordings. Ensure you have a plan for recording and storing video. IP systems stream video into a network video recorder, whereas classic CCTV are saved via digital video recorder. Your IT infrastructure must be able to handle the video data and store it securely. 
  • Don’t forget about privacy. Surveillance video recordings are included in privacy laws, so make you understand and follow national, provincial and local laws. 
  • Post signs about your surveillance system as an additional deterrent. 
Alarm Systems Help Mitigate Damage from Theft and Vandalism

An alarm system can help deter thieves and vandals as well as ensure yourself and the police are quickly notified of a crime. There are many different types of alarm systems. The one that works for your business will depend on your premises, budget, and product. Here are the different levels of alarm systems:

  • Level 1: Monitors all accessible openings.
  • Level 2: Monitors all accessible openings and inaccessible but moveable openings.
  • Level 3: Monitors all accessible and inaccessible but moveable openings as well as shared walls, floors, and ceilings.
  • Level 4: Monitors every opening, wall, floor, and ceiling. 

The key component of an alarm system is that it is monitored. This means the alarm system communicates with remote monitoring – a security company or even directly to your cellphone. This will ensure the quickest response to a thief or vandal.  

Many insurance companies offer discounts for monitored alarm systems. Talk to your broker to find out more about eligible alarm systems and which ones will best work for your company. 

Be Cautious on Social Media During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Criminals use social media to find targets. As many businesses are using social media to communicate closures due to COVID-19, this can be a problem. Here are some tips to avoid theft and vandalism: 

  • If you are closing temporarily, mention that employees will still be present to carry out essential tasks. 
  • Post old photos of your business being in operation. This can make it look like your business is still running. 
Additional Tips for Protecting Your Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Here are some additional tips for protecting your business during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Do a walk or drive-by regularly of your business premises, or ask a trusted employee, friend or family member to do so for you.
  • Move stock away from the windows and secure behind a door if at all possible. 
  • Review your inventory closely and ensure it is updated. 
  • Remove anything valuable such as cash. 
  • If you’re transporting goods, ensure additional security measures are in place for truck stops or delivery points. Double-check identification and documentation for all drivers and deliveries. 

If you have further questions about risk management, please contact your broker.

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