Retail Security: Preventing and Deterring After-Hours Break-ins

Bob Gamble
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Stores are prime targets for after-hours burglary and break-ins. Retail burglary involves the breaking and entering into a business with the intent of stealing cash, merchandise, or equipment. Not only does it involve loss of valuable merchandise, it also often involves costly damage to the building – both of which are detrimental to the business.

Why Are Stores Targets?

One of the biggest reasons stores are targets of burglary is that they contain desirable and valuable items that can be either used or sold. Retail businesses are usually located in areas dedicated to commerce and once all the businesses close, there are fewer people and less traffic to observe any illegal activity. Stores generally have large glass fronts that can provide easy access. During closing, the staff is limited which is another attractive advantage to a criminal. Together, these factors add up to the perfect storm to attract crime.

Who Are the Criminals?

Generally, burglars are motivated by economic gain. While many shoplifters are opportunistic non-professionals, after-hours burglars are usually more skilled professionals and (though still highly opportunistic) employ more sophisticated planning, methods, and tools to execute their plans. They are more likely to have committed other crimes and are familiar with security features.

What Do Criminals Take?

According to the National Institute of Justice, criminals tend to choose targets based on convenience or desirability of goods within the store. Certain items draw more attention and commonly stolen items share particular attributes which fit into the CRAVED metric.

Concealable: Easily hidden in pockets, bags, or under clothing.
Removable: Portable and easy to carry.
Available: Widely available and easy to find.
Valuable: Expensive with high resell value among peers.
Enjoyable: Enjoyable to own or consume.
Disposable: Easily resold to a wide group of people.

How to Lower Your Risks for Burglary

Burglaries are not a random phenomenon. For the retailer, that is actually a good thing because there are factors that make businesses more, or less, a target and many of those factors are highly predictable and controllable. Even better is that the most effective strategies to combat burglary and theft involve simple environmental changes. Some of the most effective strategies include:

  • Increased lighting outdoors
  • Improved indoor lighting
  • The use of access control in storage and warehouse areas
  • Monitored security alarm systems with intrusion detection
  • Outdoor video surveillance
  • Indoor video surveillance
  • Having 24-hour presence

While you can’t prevent every incident of crime, what you put in place now can play an important role in deterring crime and catching criminals. Security Instrument has the technology you need to protect and propel your business.