Pumpkin spice and everything nice, mint-flavored cookies and drinks, and bright-colored lights all over town. These are just some of everyone's favorite things this time of the year. In the midst of good cheer, every company needs to think about business security as it's also the time of year when hazards and crime climb.
While it's the most wonderful time of the year, it's also a time when desperate people commit a crime because they want to provide for their families over the holidays. They also know that businesses tend to have fewer people around as many take vacations during the winter holidays.
Moreover, the National Retail Federation predicts holiday retail sales will grow an average of 4 percent for an approximate total of $730 billion. NRF expects online and other non-store sales to increase between 11 and 14 percent.
Don't let criminals steal those increases. Don't let your guard down. Use these 10 tips to maintain business security and safety over the holidays and year-round.
Encourage employees to stay vigilant by watching for people loitering around the business and parking lot. When they see someone suspicious, advise they catch up with a crowd or go back into the building. For employees who arrive or depart in the darkness, ask them to find someone to walk with to and from the parking lot. Also, no one should open or close the building alone.
Smash-and-grabs occur often because they take only a minute to do. When thieves see a bag or anything in a vehicle, they will smash the window to grab the items.
Multiple incidences of these occurred at a gym in a retail center. The gym even has a person at the front desk facing the parking lot. Criminals don't let anything deter them and they got away with it. If the parking lot had cameras, it would boost the chances of their being caught.
Lock down anything that's valuable including computers, printers, and other equipment. Retail stores should display high-dollar items in locked cabinets with windows. Remind employees to lock their valuables.
Every night before departing, unplug any electronics not in use, especially space heaters. You may want to ban space heaters as they're a huge fire risk. They can overheat and short-out. If you need to use them, at least set a rule to turn them off when no one is in the room and keep them unplugged overnight.
Do the same for holiday lights, Christmas tree lights, and any other electrical items. Check the wires for fraying and bare spots. They can wear out over time especially sitting in storage that is not temperature controlled. Replace anything with bad cords and wires. For any lights you need to leave on overnight, consider switching to LED because they will not overheat.
Speaking of lights, one of the easiest and most affordable business security solutions is lighting. There's no reason to have shadowy stairwells in the parking garage and dark spaces on the walkway. Employees and customers will not feel safe.
Ensure you install the right kind of light. It's not about brightness, but more about the color choice and hue. A security consultant can help identify the best places to include lighting and what lights to get. The consultant can also verify you have enough lighting but not too much that you overspend.
Remember to add lights around the front and any back exits in the building. At first glance, it sounds silly to have lighting around your dumpster. In reality, it can save you a lot of money and help prevent dumpster diving. People look for large dumpsters to drop off their trash. Often, extra trash can increase trash pick-up fees.
Dumpster diving can affect the reputation of the property. No one wants to visit a property with high piles of trash and vagrants.
Holiday decorations brighten up a property, but they can block things. You want to verify they do not block the cameras or motion detectors. They can also create hiding places for thieves. Go ahead and decorate, as long as it does not negatively affect business security.
If the fire alarm goes off, who is the contact person? If someone who watches your cameras sees something suspicious and needs to call someone in your company, who is the contact person? Is the notification list updated when the contact person goes on vacation? Does the person still work at the company? It is important to add this to the process to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Fire extinguishers expire. Fire alarm batteries deplete. Electrical warning systems disconnect. Fire sprinkler systems break. Just like you want to keep your emergency or incident contact list updated, you want to verify everything works or get it fixed.
Companies in locations with very cold temperatures need to winterize the wet piping system that feeds the fire sprinkler system. It's possible for those pipes to freeze and burst. Then, the sprinkler system won't work when something happens.
It helps to have a documented process for testing everything. You may have to call the fire department to let them know when you're about to conduct a test. You don't want them coming and possibly charging you for a false alarm.
A security camera system is one of the most effective business security solutions. They put eyes on your property without putting a person physically on your property.
So, how do monitoring operators catch a suspect if they are not on site? During monitoring hours, these security operators watch cameras in real time to catch activity in progress. If they see something suspicious, they can issue an audio warning. If that does not work, then they call law enforcement and update them on the suspect's whereabouts.
During non-monitoring hours, the video surveillance system captures everything. If something happens, a team of trained analysts will look through the video footage to find evidence of the activity.
Do you have cameras that no one is watching? Enjoy the holidays while you let Stealth's trained operators watch your cameras. We can watch them while you're out or year-round. The best part about it is that it costs up to 60 percent less than security guards.
Like with fire warning and protection systems, video surveillance systems can stop working. Harsh weather conditions can knock the cameras out of position. An effective video surveillance system health check analyzes cameras, hard drives, network connection, video records, and other on-site equipment to maintain optimal performance.
Whether you have cameras or are thinking about installing them, Stealth can help create a video surveillance system customized to your needs and budget. Let your employees focus on what they do best while our trained monitoring team watch your cameras. It costs less than a full-time employee who splits time between watching cameras and doing everyday tasks.
Besides, our trained operators spend their full workday watching the cameras and analyzing footage. You have several options for monitoring your property. Some use 24/7 monitoring. Some use a hybrid of live monitoring at night and analytics monitoring during the day. Some even use a combination of security guard and remote video monitoring. The best option depends on your business.
Another key factor in a video surveillance system is recording. It provides the proof you need to support your case. When investigating surveillance systems, ask how long the vendor retains the footage. Things can and do come to light long after the incident.
You gain a team that can review hours of footage to quickly find the suspicious activity. We also offer regular system health checks, so you never worry about whether your cameras work.
Video surveillance can spotlight bottlenecks to improve efficiencies. It can look for safety hazards and our operators will report them to management. You may be able to reduce your insurance premiums. Implementing a video surveillance system shows your insurance provider that you have taken steps to mitigate risk. The less risk your business presents, the lower the premiums.
Best of all, video surveillance pays for itself faster than other security options.
While most people take the holidays off to relax and spend time with their favorite people, criminals don't. They may feel pressure to buy gifts for their families with the money they don't have. They may think there are presents and gift cards on-site since many companies have holiday parties and giveaways.
Instead of worrying about business security and safety, leave the camera monitoring to our team while you relish the holidays. For more information on video surveillance solutions, contact us.