Usually, when disruptive social scenarios happen, property crimes surge. But that’s not the case for the current global pandemic. In fact, data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) showed that in most countries, incidents relating to robbery, theft, and burglary declined by 50 percent. At least for the first period of COVID-19 lockdowns.
That is understandable given people had no choice but to stay home. Even those with rebellious streaks could not risk going against government-imposed health and safety protocols for the sake of carrying out delinquent behaviors. After all, everyone’s up against the same unknown and invisible enemy.
However, humans get used to their situations pretty quickly. After the initial months of lockdowns, pre-pandemic rates of property crimes returned with a vengeance. This is attributable to financial desperation resulting from the loss of jobs. In the United States alone, 30 million filed for unemployment benefits at some point during the pandemic.
This is why there’s no room for complacency if you’re in business. When financial desperation gives people a kick in the butt, there’s no telling what crimes they’ll be ready to commit. You must be prepared and safeguard your physical store for these potential threats. Here’s what you can do.
According to a study published in Justice Quarterly, improved street lighting directly correlates with crime prevention. You can apply this idea to your physical store as well. You need your commercial space’s surrounding area to be as well lit as possible, especially during nighttime.
Consider installing wallpack LEDs in strategic spots across your store’s exterior. These products last longer than other types of lighting fixtures. And they’re energy-efficient to boot.
Fortify entrances and exits
Breaking and entering is a real threat. And small businesses fall prey to this crime more often than larger establishments. That is because these small businesses lack the resources for fortifying all points of access.
However, that should not be the case. If you put up a physical store, investing in a reliable door safety mechanism should be of the utmost priority. Ideally, it’s password protected with a built-in alarm system.
Have a crowd management system in place
You cannot zero in on premeditated crimes alone. You should be wary of accidents happening within your commercial space too. One common cause of accidents is poor crowd management. For example, if you participate in Black Friday sales, your customers come into your establishment like an avalanche on that particular day. Here there’s a need for proper crowd management. Otherwise, two ladies fighting over your last flat-screen TV might inspire a store riot that’ll make your business go viral in all the wrong ways.
You should have an evacuation plan in place. That’s for when critical scenarios happen. For instance, if a fire breaks out.
Be equipped with safety essentials
For crowd management, have stanchion ropes and signage at hand. For theft, install mirrors and surveillance cameras. These are essentials to safety and security. There’s no cutting corners here.
Remember that you might be held responsible for customers losing their stuff while doing business with you. However, with a CCTV camera, you can always backtrack to what happened, potentially acquitting you and your staff from any accountability.
Do not limit security cameras inside the store. Put them outside as well, including your backlot if you have one.
Plot holiday safety plans
The holidays mean good business. Many people will visit your shop. Some of them are legit shoppers. Others might be trying to land quick cash. This is why planning for the holidays pays.
You might want to impose staggered entry during these hectic shopping seasons. That’s where you actively direct the foot traffic in and out of your shop.
Prepare your staff for the onslaught of shoppers. They should know how to multitask. For instance, doing customer service while checking inventory. You do not want to deal with an irate customer angry about not seeing the product they’ve been promised displayed on your shelves. Have dedicated employees do surveillance work while out of uniform. An irate customer might be a planted distraction.
Know your staff
Safety measures should cover the hiring process. Make sure you know your employees well. And you’re convinced they won’t turn their back against your business for quick monetary gain.
To further buff up the safety measures you employ, you may want to purchase business crime insurance. This insurance will give you financial coverage should your business incur monetary losses due to property crimes. It’s an investment worth making. Just make sure you choose the most reliable provider out there.