The safety of your business, your employees, and your clients is one of the most important things business owners have to think about all year long. Each business, each location, and each area have unique challenges and risks they have to face.
Winter brings weather conditions that can create higher risks for theft at many businesses because people are wearing heavy jackets and have an opportunity to conceal items they are stealing or to conceal weapons they might be carrying. The winter months also find more people who are trying to steal out working the businesses and stores because the thieves know that holiday shoppers likely have more cash on them and that they can find a greater number of opportunities to steal or commit other crimes.
One of the most effective security solutions for large and small businesses is the presence of a security guard. A security guard on duty shows the would-be criminals that your business is prepared to protect and defend the people and merchandise.
The presence of the guard sends the message that your business takes criminal activity seriously and will do everything in your power to stop crime in your stores.
10 Security Tips for Small Business
1. Hire off Duty Police Officers as Security Guards
Hiring an off-duty police officer to provide a security presence in your business is a fabulous idea. The officers make great security guards because:
- The off-duty police officers are already trained in how to spot possible criminal activity.
- The officer is already trained in how to detain a possible criminal in a safe and effective manner.
- They are already licensed to carry a weapon and they know how to use their weapon
- They often need a little extra cash around the holidays
- They are often familiar with local criminals that could be problematic in your area
2. Use Multiple Guards
Having more than one security guard in place protects your business and it protects the guards. You want the guard to have someone that can come to their aide if they do have to subdue a possible criminal. You should consider guards inside and outside of the business so all areas are properly protected, and the guards have someone to count on.
Working as a team provides safety for your guards.
If you are hosting an event or large party it is recommended that you provide 1 security guard for every 100 people.
3. Have a Security Plan
Having a security guard on the premises will be a visible reminder to criminals that you are on watch but it is important for you to have a security plan in place for your guards to follow in the event of a problem. Your guards need to know what to do if a crime is happening and how you expect them to respond. You also need to talk to your guards and let them point out possible weak areas in and around your business.
4. Proper Training
Consider training your employees to be vigilant and watchful. With proper security training every employee at your business can work as an extra pair of eyes for your security guards.
Your employees should know what to do if they suspect criminal behavior and they should be taught what to do in case of an armed robbery at the location. Making sure your employees know how to respond in high-risk situations may very well save their lives in the event that anything dangerous happens inside the store.
5. Improve the Lighting
Inside and outside your business you should invest in more lighting. The improved lighting will deter thieves, it will also give your customers and employees the ability to see where they are going and see any potential dangers.
If you have a security guard on duty the increased lighting will help them to see any potential dangers before they happen. The lighting reduces shadowy areas so criminals cannot hide.
6. Install Security Cameras
Invest in some good security cameras and place them so they can get a video of anyone:
- Close to cash registers
- Coming in and out of dressing rooms
- Entering the business through all exits
- Anyone going in and out of the company office
- Merchandise areas that the clerks might not have a good visual eye on when there are customers in the store
- The loading and freight section on the exterior part of the store
- The parking lot
7. Install an Alarm System
An alarm system can save you from break-ins when your store is typically closed. The alarm can be a silent alarm that notifies the local authorities when glass breaks or when one of the entrances to the establishment is opened after hours.
You can also use loud alarms to scare the would-be burglars away. The alarms are great for helping protect your property.
8. Limit Key Holders
You want very few people to actually have keys that open and close the doors of your business. If one of your employees quits, or you have to fire an employee that was a keyholder you should replace the locks on the doors.
9. Do Background Checks
Proper background checks on potential employees can often prevent you from hiring a potential problem. These background checks take time but during the holidays when you are hiring more temporary people it is important to know who you are putting in your business.
10. Coordinate with Local Law Enforcement Agencies
Take the time to talk to local law enforcement agencies and make sure they know about your business, and what kind of security you have in place. Becoming familiar with the law enforcement officers will help them to recognize potential problems when they drive past your business, and it will help them to respond faster in the event of a silent alarm or call for help.
The best protection you can have for your business is a security guard. They are trained employees who do nothing but handle the would-be problems. The mere presence of a guard will reduce theft by as much as 50%.