Be it an economic recession, the holiday season, or any day ending with a ‘y’, the fact is businesses are susceptible to burglary. In fact, a burglary takes place in the U.S. every 14.3 seconds, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program Crime Clock. While the majority of nonresidential burglaries occur during the evening hour (just over 42% as compared to 33.3% during the day), almost a quarter of all nonresidential burglaries are unknown as to when they took place so actual numbers may be higher.
It may be helpful to know what the definition of burglary is. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) defines burglary as the unlawful entry into a structure to commit a felony or theft. The use of force to gain entry into the structure need not have occurred. The UCR definition of “structure” includes apartment, barn, house trailer or houseboat when used as a permanent dwelling, office, railroad car (but not automobile), stable, and vessel (i.e., ship).
Here are a few eye-opening statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice:
• Burglary accounted for 23.6 percent of the estimated number of property crimes committed in 2009.
• In 2009, burglaries of non-residential properties accounted for 27.4 % of all burglary offenses.
• Of all burglaries, 61.0 percent involved forcible entry, 32.6 percent were unlawful entries (without force), and the remainder (6.5 percent) were forcible entry attempts.
Any time a crime is committed against your business its impact can affect your profitability or worse, lead to business failure. Yet a surprising number of burglaries go unreported. According to the U.S. National Retail Security Survey in 2008, the average burglary cost $5,209. To make matters worse, once a business has been burglarized, it is at a higher risk for repeat victimization.
An effective deterrent that can aid in the reduction of commercial victimization as well as go a long way to prevent repeat victimization is to use this three prong approach:
1. Have a reputable security professional conduct a security risk assessment of the interior and exterior premises of your business. The results of this assessment are used to develop your security plan.
2. Using recommendations of your security plan, install the recommended countermeasures. These may include such measures as; security alarm, re-enforcement of vulnerable areas, staff training and/or close circuit cameras.
3. Test and routinely re-test security measures to ensure their continued effectiveness.
There is plenty of good evidence to support that the incidence of burglary and losses can be impacted through interventions that are simple and cost-effective.