Dealing With Crime: A Guide For The Small Business Owner

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As a small business you will not be spoilt for security options. The big high street chains and franchises invest £££’s into CCTV systems, store security and plain clothes security, while the smaller, independently owned shops in the city center usually rely on a security network that typically provides a chain of information between the smaller shops. But what can the smaller business do to deter and deal with crime, and what is the cost to them?

Communication

Whether you own a hairdressers or run a butchers shop communication with your fellow local business owners and shopkeepers is key. Building and fostering a relationship with those near to you will ensure a tight network of people with the same concerns over security and safety. Also consider initiating a series of meetings to identify any potential areas of concern. Perhaps you even have a common problem with a particular group of shoplifters? These things can be dealt with more effectively as a group. Also try to establish links with any local neighborhood watch groups; the more people you can recruit to the cause the better.

I would also advise keeping a dossier of events. Log down any incident that compromises your business or your security, put a time and date on each one, and potentially you have a good document to present to your local police force; you never know, it might even result in them providing some additional help and support.

Security

Investing money in a good security system might seem daunting but it will pay off in the long run. If you haven’t already got it then CCTV should be high on your list of priorities, but this doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, specialist equipment. If you have a computer in your shop you could look into packages that offer an effective security camera system.

Invest in a decent roller shutter too. It is surprisingly easy to forget about security once you have left the premises, but this is when the most serious, potentially damaging burglaries can occur. Most of the larger retail chains use reinforced roller shutters as they provide a very effective barrier for the security of the premises, and they are not as expensive as you may think.

The Cost to Businesses

The retail industry in the US loses an estimated $10 billion annually to shoplifting. Scale it down and you get a good idea of how much might be lost in the UK.  The cost of security can be high, particularly to a larger company, but this is offset by the hefty losses theft and shoplifting can cause. They have the capital to fund this level of security and for them it is a necessity.

As a smaller business owner you have the potential to utilise a more cost effective and organic form of security; people. Communicate with them, build a relationship with them, and develop a security network. This, in addition to improving some of the more visible aspects of security, will hopefully reduce the cost of crime to you and other local businesses.

Image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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