Protect Your Business

External

  • Make sure trees and shrubs around the exterior of the building and entrance ways are trimmed (bushes trimmed down to 1 meter and trees up to 2 meters around).
  • Is your site clean of garbage, graffiti, etc? Garbage containers should have closed and lockable lids.
  • Keep the premises visible from the street; avoid blocking the interior view with high window displays and/or advertisements on windows.
  • Don’t leave ladders, tools or large objects lying around that a burglar could use to help him break in.
  • Does the lighting reach 10 meters? Is it evenly distributed? Lighting should limit or eliminate dark shadows in which people might hide.
  • Do you use a security company or have an alarm system? Are security cameras recording surveillance?
  • Do you have full surround fencing? Do you have a gate? Is the padlock always locked?
  • Clearly mark parking areas and entrances to the business.

Doors and Windows

  • Ensure all doors and windows:
  • Use deadbolts with a 1 throw.
  • Have high security plates with 3 screws.
  • Have adequate cylinder guards.
  • Have full length astragals.
  • Use well installed bars or other window protection on windows and patio doors (e.g., anti-lift or anti-slide devices).

Interior

  • Consider the use of motion sensors and audible alarms and/or surveillance camera with internet access to make a verified alarm.
  • Lock individual interior offices when not in use or to limit unauthorized access.
  • Enforce policy on public access into the office or areas within the office.

Appearance

The appearance of a business can attract or deter crime and criminals. The following steps can help secure your business:

  • Maintain the property. A rundown business or building will attract criminals, so make sure that the building, the landscaping, the sidewalks and the parking areas are all clean and well-maintained.
  • Do not keep old or damaged displays, posters or signs that are no longer useful to you.
  • Keep the building, especially the rear, well-lit at night.
  • Keep business premises clear of clutter and garbage.

Store Layout

  • Have the checkout counter near the front of the store, so that employees can monitor activities inside and outside the store.
  • Clearly mark public and private areas and make private areas hard to access for non- employees.
  • Control access to cash register area to protect against tampering with Point of Sale terminals (i.e., Interac PIN pads).
  • Keep trees near the building well-trimmed and secure fire escape ladders so that they cannot be used to access the roof.
  • Provide adequate lighting and eliminate blind spots. Do not use large displays or posters that would cover the windows and hamper visibility and sight lines.
  • Loading areas should be kept clean and free of large objects that could hide people.
  • Make sure that all entrances to the business are under constant visual surveillance. Consider installing annunciators on all unlocked doors.
  • Consider installing alarm systems and surveillance systems (e.g., convex mirrors and/ or CCTV cameras and monitoring equipment).

Employee Safety

  • Establish general store security policy & procedures and provide staff with training.
  • Avoid having staff working alone, particularly at night. If this is not possible, implement a Working Alone Policy and provide training to staff on safety procedures.
  • Provide staff with training on what to do in the event of a robbery. Never argue or try to be a hero - cooperate fully with the robber’s demands.

Additional Management Tips

  • Leave as little cash on site as possible, particularly after business hours and/or over night. Empty your cash drawers and leave them open after hours. If you must keep cash on hand, store it in a safe or strong box that is securely anchored.
  • Develop and advertise a cash control policy that limits the amount of cash accessible by the cashier. Deposit cash in excess of this limit in a safe employees cannot open.
  • Make frequent bank deposits, but vary your routine enough so as to not establish a predictable pattern.
  • Try to maintain similar business hours to the stores around you. Work with neighbouring businesses to promote safety and address issues.
  • If a burglar does get in, don’t make it easy for him/her to remove items. Bolt racks to the floor, alternate hangers on the rack, lock small valuables in cabinets and keep more valuable items further away from exits.
  • If you discover a break-in, call the police immediately. Don’t enter the premises until police arrive. The thief may still be inside, or you may disturb evidence.

Other Resources

To request a Security Assessment or CPTED audit for your business, contact your local Crime Prevention Coordinator.

More safety and security information for small businesses and retail outlets is available online: