Since the coronavirus lockdown was put in force, the UK police force has found itself having to ramp up its night patrols throughout empty town and city centres as opportunistic intruders target construction sites, shops, restaurants, pubs and other commercial premises.

Unoccupied premises security for lockdownAccording to reports based on police reports and news coverage, there has been a surge in break-ins at commercial sites ever since the lockdown was put in place to help stem the spread of COVID-19. With city centres deserted, thieves are taking their chances, particularly at a time when the police service is already stretched and there is less likelihood of being spotted and reported with most people following government advice and staying home.

With this in mind, it has never been such an important time to ensure sufficient security measures are in place to protect your business and your premises, and that what you do have in place is double checked for effectiveness and is adequately maintained.

Lockdown Checklist

The following comprehensive checklist will help you make sure you don’t fall victim to unscrupulous intruders during these already challenging times.

CCTV

If you don’t already have it, now is the time to seriously consider installing CCTV. According to burglars themselves, CCTV is considered the biggest deterrent, especially nowadays where smart CCTV sends real time intruder alerts to handheld devices.

If you do already have it, take some time to ensure it’s in perfect working order, that the sensors are working and that alerts and recordings are active. In addition, make certain  your cameras are placed for best effect, seeking out weak points such as flat roofs and concealed entrances.

Intruder alarm

Again if you don’t already have one then think about the many benefits an intruder alarm offers. Most commercial premises will require an intruder alarm in order to validate insurance. Always check your insurance requirements on alarm fitting, installation, usage, type, standards and system grade.

A monitored alarm is well worth considering. Surveys have revealed that up to three quarters of people in Britain ignore burglar alarms because they don’t know what to do when they hear them. Indeed, in the lockdown situation, who would be about to hear a sounding alarm in any case? Monitored alarms resolve these issues by passing the responsibility to trained security experts. Here’s how monitored alarms work.

Security lighting

Most commercial property break-ins happen under cover of darkness. Security lighting positioned at vulnerable points around premises perimeters instantly flood the area with bright light the minute an intruder sets off the sensors.

For an even more sophisticated level of security during lockdown, integrate security lighting with your CCTV and intruder alarm for the ultimate deterrent. With the would-be burglar fully in the spotlight, being recorded and the alarm sounding, they would have to be incredibly foolish to proceed any further, and would more than likely be caught so they can’t try their luck again on your premises or someone else’s in the future.

Security review

You may have carried out your security risk assessment and ticked that box, but have things changed since you did it? And did you account for a long period of premises closure during lockdown?

Checking for things such as poorly functioning door and window locks and damaged frames is vital.

Ensuring servicing and maintenance contracts are up date is also extremely important. This should cover things such as your intruder alarm and CCTV system. Safe maintenance and servicing is also essential to ensure your safe is in full working order, and that you can access the contents yourself when you need to.

Out of sight, out of mind

Be sure to remove valuables and cash from your premises when closing them down temporarily, or store them in a fixed, insurance-graded safe that is well maintained and serviced. It is crucial that safes are bolted down, because believe it or not, thieves have been known to make off with a safe so they can attempt to open it later.

If you have a cash register, empty it and leave it open. Same goes for any fruit machines, tobacco vending machines and jukeboxes. Empty them and leave the cash drawers or doors open with a sign attached stating they there is no cash left inside.

All stock should be kept out of sight, ideally in a locked and alarmed room.

Anything that could potentially be used to aid entry from the outside, such as bins or pallets for example, should be safely stored away or chained and locked up.

External security shutters create a physical barrier and help to delay entry as well as concealing what’s on the inside.

Finally, put a sign up stating that all cash and valuables have been removed from the premises.

Lock it up

Naturally you are going to make sure that your final exit doors are well secured and that all windows are locked. In addition, internal doors should also be locked, especially those leading to stock rooms. Never leave keys anywhere on the premises.

Cover every point of entry including service doors, cellar hatches, roof openings and fire escapes. Perimeter protection is your first line of defence, so it’s wise to pay attention to getting this right.

Be certain to ensure the quality of your locks and bear in mind lock standards and insurance compliance, because if your locks don’t meet the grade, an insurance claim may not be honoured. Remember also that a lock is only ever as good as the door or frame to which it is secured. A Master Locksmith Association accredited installer will provide you with the reassurance you need surrounding all aspects of locks.

Mark it, register it

Should the worst happen and a burglar does manage to gain entry and take valuables from your premises, you can enhance your chances of retrieving lost items by marking and registering them.

SmartWater is a traceable liquid containing a unique forensic code registered to a particular location. Making it clear that items have been marked is a deterrent in itself.

At Your Service in any Security Emergency

Recently, the British Security Industry Association confirmed that regulated security professionals were included on the official list of key workers. Roles that are critical to supporting law and order and that are likely to reduce the pressure on the police can also be defined as key worker status. This includes guarding non-staffed property, CCTV monitoring and alarm response centres.

At Barry Bros Security, whilst our showroom and offices are closed following government advice, we continue to run a full 24/7 emergency service which includes burglary damage and repairs, intruder protection, lock repairs and replacements, safe opening and repairs and an emergency board-up service. Our team has been trained to work safely and in line with official advice for their protection and of course that of our valued customers.

If you need us in an emergency, please call 020 7262 9009. Lines are manned around the clock.

In the meantime, wishing you well from all at Barry Bros Security. Please stay safe.