With the festive season approaching, it is not just residential crime that is a concern. Business-related crimes continue unabated, and any business keeping large amounts of cash on the premises presents a definite risk for everyone working there.
Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group, encourages business owners to brief their staff and be extra vigilant. “At this time of year it is not uncommon to see criminals enter a business posing as a customer or as a delivery supplier, and then proceed to hold staff at gunpoint. We also continue to see businesses being targeted during opening and closing times. If they know there is something worthwhile to take, a small window of opportunity when a staff member is vulnerable is all criminals need. To avoid being targeted, business owners need to prioritise safety and get security in place which is linked to an armed response service.”
Bartmann offers his top six priorities to consider to keep your business safe:
1. Control access: It is very important that businesses, as far as possible, ensure that there is some form of controlled access. “A locked security gate can provide you with a few vital minutes to evaluate a situation before the suspects are actually in the premises. If you feel something is not right, don’t open the gate.
2. Make sure all staff know the safety drills: Ensure staff are adequately briefed on security measures and remain vigilant about making a conscious effort to keep their workplace safe. Staff should carry panic buttons at all times and not hesitate to use them if they see something or someone suspicious.
3. Lock up in pairs: Ideally, two people should be tasked with locking up the business and ensuring the premises are secure at the end of the day.
4. Do not keep large amounts of cash onsite: It is not advisable to withdraw large amounts of cash from the bank or keep large amounts of cash onsite. Ensure you have a regular collection of your cash so your loss, in case of an incident, is minimal.
5. Check your perimeter security: Now is also the opportune moment to check your perimeter security and have any vulnerable areas reinforced. Start with your fence, wall and gate. Check that there are no overhanging trees or bushes that could be used to climb into the property. Make sure your gate is secured so it can’t be lifted off the hinges or put into manual overdrive easily. Bartmann also highly recommends investing in beams that cover the outer perimeter. Beams provide an instant alert should intruders get through the perimeter security.
6. Test your alarm system regularly: Just like residential properties, businesses should also test their alarm systems are in working order before the festive season hits. “If you suspect there is a fault, arrange for a technician to visit the site sooner rather than later,” he says. If you are closing up your business over the December break, ensure that the property is secured and alarms are set.
“Make sure the contact person on your business security profile is available, should there be an alarm activation. You may also want to consider a guard to keep an eye on the property over the holidays. Make sure to book a guard early as it is a popular time for events,” adds Bartmann.
“Criminals will no doubt be doing their ‘shopping’ in the coming weeks. However, if all staff are vigilant and alert to potential risks, you can avoid becoming a statistic. Remember that criminals will take any gap to get onto your property. Good security starts with your perimeter and should be peeled back, like the layers of an onion, right to the core, including your parking, entrance and interior. If you feel you could do with an expert opinion to assist in a security system check, have a professional risk assessment done by your security provider,” he concludes.
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