The holidays are a generally a hectic time of year for everyone, including business owners. Unfortunately, those who work hard each and every day to support their families often become a target for criminals around this festive season. While the holidays are a moneymaker for the majority of companies, high customer volumes mean heightened risk for businesses. Theft is the primary risk many business owners face during this busy time of year. Taking small, inexpensive steps to help prevent theft can go a long way and end up preserving your bottom line. Here are seven tips you can implement to protect yourself, your employees and ultimately your brand during the holidays.
1. Ensure security cameras are plentiful and visible
Having a top-of-the-line security system always gives a business an advantage in preventing theft. Keeping cameras visible make customers aware they are being monitored. People are less likely to attempt to steal when they know they are being recorded. Limit the amount of blind spots in your store so any crime being committed is caught on tape. Cameras also prevent liability to businesses against a customer who may attempt to purposefully hurt themselves and take legal action. One additional element, be certain to post signage indicating the premises are under surveillance via a security system. Signs alone may be enough to deter criminals. Security cameras are an eye in the sky and can be a business owner’s best friend.
2. Employ additional staff
The more, the merrier- right? Hiring a security team is costly; however, having extra employees on the clock during hours of operation decreases the risk of theft. As the holidays call for extra employees anyway due to high-volume, having a few extra eyes and ears make thieves hesitant to act.
3. Keep normal business hours
Refrain from the holiday business trend of opening earlier and closing later. Operating too early in the morning or too late at night heightens the risk for theft, burglary and robbery, as less people tend to be around. You will not lose valuable customers because you are not open until midnight. If there is demand for your product, your customers will find a way to get to you before the holiday season is over.
4. Limit multiple points of ingress and egress
The “one-door policy” is one of the best and most inexpensive safeguards during the holidays. Using only the front door keeps a safe and even flow in and out of your business. This prevents customers from stealing merchandise and slipping out a side or back door. Having an employee stationed at the front door throughout your daily operation will ensure that a set of eyes is on every individual who enters and exits the store, and makes thieves think twice about acting.
5. Keep valuable items locked away
This should be done at all times, not just during the holidays. All expensive items should be locked in a case and only retrievable by an employee at a customer’s request. While there may be times when criminals decide to “smash and grab,” having an extra layer of protection to safeguard valuables might be just enough to ward-off even the most brazen of thieves.
6. Have multiple employees on-hand while closing
Criminals tend to target businesses where a single person is responsible for closing the store and handling the money at the end of each work day. Keep multiple employees on hand during this process to limit the chance a thief even attempts to commit a crime, let alone succeeds. And, ensure that you and your employees exit into well-lit parking lots when possible. Do not hesitate to contact your local law enforcement agency to inform them when you’ll be closing; they may come by and watch over the parking lot to ensure your safety.
7. Change your routine
Criminals look for patterns. Businesses that become too comfortable and predictable, whether it be opening, closing or with daily routines, become more prone to crime. With high customer volume comes substantial cash flow. Changing bank deposit frequency and making multiple deposits each day means less cash on-hand, therefore limiting financial exposure. Small, but necessary routine changes prevent criminals from having an advantage when planning a crime.
The number one reason criminals target businesses during the holidays is the high number of transactions and volumes of money stores manage. Additionally, the spike in customer numbers give thieves the benefit of blending-in while committing crimes. Following these simple steps will minimize your risk of becoming a victim during this meaningful and eventful time of year. We hope you and your family have a blessed, safe and happy holiday season.
For more information about safety and security practices, please don’t hesitate to contact the Fallston Group at 410.420.2001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.