Commercial threat series part one: Preparing for criminal activity

Commercial threat series part one: Preparing for criminal activity

This article is part one of EPS Security’s Commercial Threat Series:

Whether theft, robbery, or an after-hours break-in, no one wants to believe it will happen to their business. Considering commercial threats in all stages is essential in mitigating risk and creating effective emergency plans. This three part series outlines the before, during, and after of commercial crime. So if an incident strikes, you are prepared.

Navigate the links below to read the complete series: 

When it comes to crime, no one wants to believe it will happen to their business or organization. The reality is, however, commercial crime can happen to anyone. From shoplifting and employee theft, to robbery and after-hours break-ins, it is essential for businesses to prepare for potential incidents they may encounter.

Crime definitions and statistics

To get started protecting the people and products on a business premises, administrators must first identify potential threats. Let’s dive into commercial crime definitions and statistics.

  • Shoplifting: the act of disguising oneself as a shopper in order to unlawfully remove goods from an establishment.
  • Employee theft: the theft of products or information from a premises, carried out by individuals employed at that institution

Shoplifting and employee theft are common commercial crimes. According to the Michigan Annual Crime Report, 23,003 cases of retail fraud took place in 2020. Similarly, statistics report that 95% of all businesses experience employee theft. Both of these threats can take a major toll on business profits, and can leave commercial sites vulnerable.

  • Robbery: the act of taking items of value unlawfully, typically involving confrontation with the individual(s) being robbed; threat of physical safety is often present

The Michigan Annual Crime Report indicates that 28.2% of all robberies occur on a commercial site. When we say commercial premises, this includes banks, schools, small businesses, restaurants, and more. While robbery occurs at a much lower rate than employee theft, for instance, it is considered a more dangerous crime. Of all robberies in 2020, 43% included a firearm.

  • Burglary/break-in: occurs outside of business hours, when a building is unoccupied; typically involving forced entry, vandalism, and intent to steal/completed theft

Over 4,000 burglaries occurred on commercial sites in 2020, following the Michigan Annual Crime Report’s data. Because burglary takes place in times when an unsecured building does not have oversight, they can result in business devastation. If not caught quickly, or prevented entirely, a break-in can result in extreme property destruction and theft of merchandise, costing an organization a fortune.

Making preparations

No one wants to prepare for potential danger, but the reality is in the numbers. Once a business owner, manager, or administrator has identified these threats, they can move forward in establishing emergency procedures. Each crime may elicit a unique response from employees. Facilitating conversation around these expectations can help ensure emergency procedures go smoothly, and all are prepared if a crime occurs.

Questions/scenarios to consider:

  • How will these expectations be communicated? Is it during on-boarding, or at a company-wide meeting? Will there be drills or other graphics/examples used for employee education?
  • What is the preferred method of crisis communication? In the event of each crime, who should be contacted and in what order?
  • Are employees expected to intervene in cases of shoplifting or employee theft? If so, in what ways are they enabled or limited?
  • What are company priorities during an incident? Will employees be trained to comply in the event of violence, protecting life above all else?
  • Are there panic buttons or other emergency communication methods in place throughout the building?

There is a reason k-12 students are required to undergo fire and active shooter drills, why all apartment buildings must post emergency evacuation routes, and why businesses are required, by law, to test their fire systems once each year. Making and practicing emergency plans can seriously mitigate harm.

Security systems & active protection

While you can train employees to respond according to plan, varying factors may impact the way they actually respond to an incident. The response of an EPS Security system, however, does not falter. Installing a customized security solution at your business site will bring peace of mind to employees and administrators alike. Employees can walk in each day knowing protective measures are in place, and administrators can leave knowing they will be notified if an after-hours entry or break-in occurs. At EPS Security, our alarm solutions are engineered to safeguard the people, places, and things that matter most. 

With a comprehensive EPS solution, several security methods work together to protect a premises. Intrusion alarm systems, composed of reactive alarm sensors such as door contacts, motion sensors, and glassbreak sensors, protect a site when it is armed. In the event of a burglary, this system would signal an alarm if an intruder forces open a door, breaks a window, or triggers an interior motion sensor. When unauthorized activity is detected, the system will sound sirens on site, notifying all nearby of a crime-in-progress. With a monitored intrusion alarm system with EPS Security, this activation would additionally send a signal to our 24/7 Monitoring Center, who shall dispatch authorities with urgency. 

Panic alarms, typically hardwired to a desk or cash register, but additionally available as wireless devices, can also be pressed to trigger immediate police dispatch in the event of an emergency. The functions of these systems can be easily integrated into emergency preparations. 

Video surveillance and card access systems, on the other hand, are preventative systems which allow administrators easy authority over a site. These systems, which allow for remote access and individualized access programming, can especially deter shoplifters and employees with ulterior motives. Video surveillance solutions are available to monitor a site from all angles, both indoors and out, day and night. Access control additionally protects a premise by ensuring only those who are supposed to have access to the site, do. At EPS Security, our Managed Access Control Team has decades of experience assisting administrators in identifying and securing at-risk areas.

eps vehicle parked in home drivewayThe EPS advantage

At EPS Security, over 65 years of experience has provided us with the expertise needed to best protect any commercial premises. Our on-site engineers, full-service technicians, customer support team, and award-winning Monitoring Center has served Michigan businesses for decades. If you are looking to protect your business from potential threats, EPS is here to help you get started. We work with business administrators and owners one-on-one to meet their unique security needs. When you install an EPS Security system in your business, you are not signing up for just a service, but rather a long-term life safety partnership.

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