Secure Your Business and Employees: Ways to Deter Thieves

man robbing a local store

In small businesses, theft is a huge risk. As of 2018, small businesses lost an average of $1,377 per dishonest employee. These incidents, called internal theft, occur in other industries besides retail.

Burglary and robbery are major risks for businesses, too. Bigger companies tend to fall victim to them more often. But no matter the size of your enterprise, you can’t be too complacent. Small retail stores selling expensive items, such as jewelry or smartphones, are appealing targets to burglars and robbers all the same. Robbery is especially threatening. It doesn’t just harm your business, but your employees and customers, too.

Theft vs. Burglary vs. Robbery

Many people aren’t aware of the differences between theft, burglary, and robbery. To strengthen your business’s security, you need to understand how those three differ. Plus, the deterrents for those three crimes vary.

Theft is a broad term that covers a wide variety of criminal offenses. In some states, theft is called “larceny.” It’s the act of taking something from a person or property without permission. Some examples of theft include:

  • Shoplifting
  • Stealing money from a person or taking it away from a place
  • Carrying a property away and intending to keep it permanently

Theft also involves stealing services. It refers to the act of benefiting from a particular service without paying for it. Examples include:

  • Staying at a hotel without paying or using counterfeit money
  • Using cable, cellphone, and internet services without paying
  • Using the business’s landline for a long-distance call with a friend

Petty theft, such as taking a pen from the office, is theft all the same, and therefore shouldn’t be ignored. Many small businesses suffer losses because of such acts. If a company tolerates the use of its resources for personal purposes, employees might take advantage of them. They themselves won’t be aware that they’re committing theft.

Burglary involves forced entry into a property. Employees can also do this in their company. They’d sneak into the office at night, crack the safe, and flee with the cash. In some cases, a burglar doesn’t even need to enter a property fully. As long as any part of their body comes inside the property, they can commit the crime, for example, breaking glass to snatch a jewelry display.

Unlike theft, the intent of burglary is proven. Burglars sneak into the property for the sole purpose of stealing, unlike thieves who do it on impulse or subconsciously.

Lastly, robbery is a violent crime. It uses force to take something from a property or person. Robbers usually barge into a place with weapons, which they would use to threaten anyone inside. Robbery commonly occurs in banks, sometimes involving a hostage.

Prevention Against Theft, Burglary, and Robbery

To prevent theft, consider the following strategies:

  • Impose an anti-theft policy in the workplace. Prohibit employees from using the company’s resources for personal purposes.
  • Hire attentive store employees. Their alertness and vigilance can help deter shoplifters.
  • Separate employee tasks. For example, a staff who handles cash shouldn’t be reconciling receipts.
  • Do meticulous background checks on candidates.
  • Install security devices in your workplace. Surveillance cameras are excellent theft deterrents.

Burglary prevention:

  • Install sophisticated security devices. Choose surveillance cameras with night vision, motion detectors, alarms, digital door locks, and manual padlocks. Using both tech-based and manual security devices works best.
  • High-speed Wi-Fi. Most modern security systems are internet-based. Hence, you need a stable connection to keep them functioning.
  • Keep your premises well-lit. Just as you would in your house, keep some lights on outside your business premises at night as well. Burglars fear feeling exposed, and lights make them feel just that.

Robbery prevention:

  • Install high-tech alarm systems. There are actually silent alarms, which don’t emit a sound in the premises, but rather, straight to the police station. They make effective burglar deterrents as well.
  • Consider panic buttons. These are alarm devices installed beneath desks or worn as accessories (e.g., pendant necklace). They can also be silent alarms. Just press them, and help will arrive shortly.
  • Deposit your money at different times. Robbers can lurk near your premises and monitor your routines. If they notice that you deposit your sales money at 12 noon every day, they might wait for you at that time, then rob you.
  • Have emergency exits around your premises. They can be the difference between life and death in your workplace.

Security systems are essential investments for every business. Luxurious retail stores aren’t the only ones that will benefit from them. Any property that stores cash is vulnerable to theft, burglary, or robbery, so be on guard. Downplaying security can have long-term consequences.