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The threats facing your business, Part one: External dangers

The threats facing your business, Part one: External dangers

broken window on a business door

This is Part One of a series of business security articles brought to you by EPS Security

At first glance…

The phrase “business security” may seem cut and dry, but a comprehensive business security solution is anything but simple. Forget the complexities of design and the nuances of installation; an all-encompassing security system must address multiple threats that face the average business, including (but not limited to):

Protecting from these threats only becomes more difficult with each added complication: is your business open 24/7? Does your business have multiple shifts? Do you hire seasonal workers? Do you have inventory out in the open for customer browsing? Do you handle large amounts of cash? Securing a business from the threats that face it can get messy fast, but fret not: a well-rounded security solution can be obtained by understanding what your business needs protection from—and with a little help from a professional security provider.

In this series of posts, we’ll more closely examine individual categories of threats that face your business—and what you can do to bolster the security of your facilities.

police tapeThe problem: Externally originating property crimes

When most people think “business security,” this category of threats is likely where their minds turn. Definitions on what constitutes a “property crime” vary from source to source, but most consider burglary and vandalism to fall under its umbrella. (Arson is also considered an externally originating property crime, but we’ll cover fire threats in the next post in this series.)

Burglary

The fact that businesses are at risk for burglary shouldn’t surprise anyone. Security systems at large are often referred to as “burglary systems” because of their well-known ability to both deter and detect burglars. The reason the threat of burglary is so unsurprising is because they are unfortunately common—and often devastatingly costly.

In 2016, 8.8% of small businesses suffered a burglary or theft—a nearly 1 in 10 chance.

The same study that identified this incidence rate also estimated that these crimes cost small business owners $8,000 on average. And that’s not the end of the bad news: the burglar apprehension rate in the US hovers around just 13%, meaning most culprits are never caught and most stolen goods are never recovered.

Threats that originate from outside of your business are often carried out by culprits who are “economically motivated” and who prefer discretion. Instead of carrying out a robbery in broad daylight, a burglar prefers to break in at a time with the lowest likelihood of someone being present within the facility. Many businesses operate under “business hours,” meaning they are often vacant at night or even on the weekends—making these hours prime targets for malfeasants. Additionally, many businesses handle cash or handle valuable inventory that can be easily stolen and resold on the street but can be handled of “made off with” discreetly. Even objects such as computers, tablets, or televisions may be targeted if the burglar believes they can sell it for a tidy sum later on.

Because burglars prefer discretion, they’re likely to utilize entry points that are visibly obscured from the road by landscaping or other obstacles. They also prefer the cover of darkness or ill-lit access points. Unlike popular heist movies, most burglars don’t tunnel underground or cut through walls or rappel from roofs; they usually force open a front door or break a first-floor window. And to minimize the risk of getting caught, most burglars do their damage in a matter of minutes, preferring a quick strike over lingering—making the amount of damage they can do to a business in a short time quite staggering.

unlocked padlock

Vandalism

Where burglaries are often motivated by money, vandalism is caused more frequently by underlying psychological issues such as the need for attention, political beliefs, personal vendettas, or destructive playful behavior. Vandals are most commonly juveniles, a fact most often reflected in the increased incidence rate of vandalism in the “school’s out” summer months.

The senselessness of most cases of business vandalism is precisely what makes it such a strong threat against a business. In a matter of seconds, a vandal can tag a wall, shatter a window, or destroy signage and other property—and unless it’s a personal vendetta, there is often no way to predict when someone will lash out. Those seconds of senseless violence are costly, too, with the average case clocking in around $3,370.00 in repair costs. Without an eyewitness or recording, the odds of catching a vandal during or after an incident are incredibly slim.

Vandalism isn’t just a concern for the exterior (or even interior) of your business. A business owner must also contend with vandalism in parking lots or alleys where employees, customers, and couriers park on a daily basis. It is highly unlikely that a customer will have a satisfactory experience in your business if their car headlights and windshield are smashed while they are inside—especially if you have no way to identify the culprit in question.

digital watchdog bullet camera in office settingThe solution: Video surveillance and monitored intrusion alarm systems

Defending against burglary and vandalism is a two-pronged approach. First, every business should contain a professionally installed intrusion alarm (burglary) system. Without an intrusion alarm system, burglars have free reign to break into your business and take what they please. An intrusion system is reactive, meaning your door sensor, glass break sensor, or motion detector will send an alarm signal to the central control panel whenever they are tripped. In turn, a properly monitored control panel will send a signal to a central station or monitoring center staffed by personnel trained to interpret and dispatch emergency services when necessary. A monitored intrusion system removes the ability for a burglar to break in discreetly and even “goes off” within the business to alert anyone onsite—and especially the burglar in question—that emergency services will be arriving post haste.

An intrusion alarm system can tell you that an object just went through your front display window; it can’t, however, identify the reason why. A video surveillance system works in perfect synergy with an intrusion alarm system by capturing footage from the exterior and interior of your business. A video surveillance system is a great tool for managing day-to-day interior threats to your business such as shoplifting—a threat to be addressed later in the series—but they are also essential in keeping an eye on the exterior of your building. Parking lots, work yards, back alleys, and more can be surveilled with properly installed cameras of varied functionality depending on your protection needs. Modern IP camera setups are capable of capturing hundreds of hours of camera footage from dozens of cameras, allowing for coverage of businesses both big and small.

Visible camera systems have been shown to be excellent deterrents against property crimes and especially burglary. A particularly bold burglar may take a gamble on smashing a display window to grab high-end items before taking off; the same burglar is far less likely to play the odds in the presence of a high-end surveillance camera. Regarding vandalism, discreet cameras do exist, and cameras can be installed out of reach of the average miscreant. However, most top-of-the-line models are designed to be vandal-resistant, especially given the fact that a visible security camera could possibly be targeted by an ambitious burglar.

eps trucks in front of eps officeThe EPS Advantage

While this series of articles will cover everything from fire risks to employee theft, as an owner or manager, you can’t afford to ignore any one threat against your business. Regarding burglary and vandalism, the success of an intrusion alarm and video surveillance system in defending your business comes down to a number of factors. One, you need high-end equipment from leading manufacturers to outfox those who wish to do you harm, including seasoned burglars with high rates of success. Two, you need systems installed by professionals with a wealth of experience in designing complex security systems uniquely tailored to your unique facility layout and security vulnerabilities. Thirdly, without professional monitoring, your intrusion system will sound loudly in your building but won’t notify a soul. Finally, you need a system that can be tested and maintained regularly—and quickly—by professionals to ensure continued functionality. After all, if the threats against your business never stop, your security systems can’t, either.

There are reasons EPS Security is Michigan’s largest family-owned security provider. As a local company, we work to protect businesses within our own communities. Our dedicated team have collective decades of experience in the oft-advanced and complex world of commercial security. Our technicians are trained to install and service equipment from world class vendors such as Honeywell®, DMP®, AXIS®, and Digital Watchdog® so our customers know that when they’re getting an EPS Security system, they’re getting a security solution with clout.

For more than 65 years, we’ve made protecting Michigan businesses our business. Whether you’re looking to bolster your existing security systems or are looking for a brand-new solution, let EPS Security help you to protect what matters most.

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