A general definition of burglary is when someone unlawfully enters an establishment with the intent to commit a crime, i.e. theft.
Ninety per cent of burglary prevention is physical security. If your complex is locked up and unauthorized entry is made difficult, time consuming, noisy and visible, chances of a successful burglary are kept to a minimum. The burglar will pass up your business and look for an easier target.
When attempting to improve the security of your property, think like a criminal and go over your entire complex in fine detail, looking for any means of entrance or criminal opportunity. Do this physically, and with your building blueprints, in order to discover any weaknesses.
- Locks on all outside entrances and inside security doors should be double cylinder deadbolts with moveable collars. The deadbolt should have at least one inch throw containing a hardened steel insert and protected by a latch guard. Check with the Fire Marshall for safety requirements.
- Padlocks should be of hardened steel, mounted on bolted hasps and always locked to prevent exchange. Serial numbers should be filed off to prevent new keys from being made.
- Doors (all outside or security doors) should be of solid construction, metal lined and secured with heavy metal crossbars. Jams around doors must be solid. All exposed hinges should be pinned to prevent removal.
- Windows should have secure locks. Burglar-resistant glass treatments are also recommended. An example would be the installation of polyester security film. However, this must be used in conjunction with the alarm's glass break sensor. Heavy metal grates may be used on windows of high vulnerability (such as rear windows). Check with the Fire Marshall for safety requirements.
- Lights must provide optimum visibility, both inside and out, with those outside having vandal-proof covers over the lights and power source. Entire perimeter must be well lit, especially the area around doors and other possible entry points.
- Alarm System should be supplied by a licensed alarm company with a central monitoring station. Check the alarm system on a daily basis, and advertise its presence to deter break-ins.
- Cash Register should be kept in plain view from outside the building so it can be easily monitored and should be left open when empty and not in use.
- Safe should be fire proof, burglar resistant, anchored securely and in plain view. Leave it open when it is empty, and use it to lock up valuables when business is closed. Change the combination whenever someone with access to it leaves your employment.
- Think like a criminal and go over your entire complex.
- Building Exterior should be checked including the roof, cellar and walls. Secure all openings.
- Maintain Good Visibility by not allowing landscaping, boxes, trash bins, vehicles or equipment near building where they might provide concealment or access to the roof.
- Perimeter Fences need to be adequate enough to keep intruders out, and at the same time allow good visibility of your business by neighbors and police (i.e. vertical iron bar fence or 1/8 inch mesh vinyl coated chain link).
- Key Control should be done in a responsible manner. A master key system where one key opens all locks may be convenient, but it may not be the best for security. Code all keys, keep them locked up when not in use, and do not allow employees to leave them lying around or make duplicates. Change locks whenever you suspect key security has been jeopardized.
- ID numbers should be marked on all equipment and stickers (such as Operation ID) should be displayed to make this plainly evident to would-be thieves. The best number to use is your personal Florida driver's license number. Also keeping a record of serial numbers on all equipment may help in recovery.
- Secure equipment and merchandise in order to delay a burglar in his attempt to clean you out in a hurry.
- Closing Security Check should include the entire inside of your business so you do not lock an aspiring burglar inside. Check the exterior to make sure there have been no security breeches. Run a test on the alum system at every closing.
You do not want to walk in on a burglar. He may become violent. When you arrive to open the business, look for signs of entry. If you have any reason to believe that an unauthorized entry has been made, then proceed as follows:
- Immediately back out and call the police from a safe place.
- Protect access to the scene.
- Disclose information to the authorities only.