Burglary happens more than many of us may care to think about, and any business that isn't taking the proper precautions is at risk of becoming the next victim. According to a survey by insurance company Insureon, as many as 8.8 percent of small businesses were victims to burglary just two years ago.1 That same survey found that business owners commonly pay as much as $8,000 out of pocket when victimized by a burglary.

A number of strategies can help prevent burglars from wreaking havoc with your company and your bottom line, or at least make it more difficult for them to do so.

Alarm system and monitors

Perhaps the most obvious way to help protect your business from burglary is to have a good alarm system and monitor setup. Do your research and figure out which systems have the best reviews. Some very reliable systems can be installed by a non-professional, although you may decide that it’s worth paying for the convenience and security of having professionals install your equipment. Be sure to use a system that includes video surveillance with monitors that you can view to identify any suspicious activity.

Keep Track of Keys

This one may also seem obvious, but in the day-to-day crush of business operations, it may not always be top of mind. Be sure to keep close track of keys that access not only your place of business itself, but also any safes, lockboxes, drawers, interior doors, etc. Maintain a log listing who each key is assigned to, allow only authorized personnel to use keys, and be sure they are always accounted for. If an employee leaves, especially if it’s under less-than-ideal circumstances, recover all their assigned keys and consider re-keying important locks in case keys may have been duplicated.

Windows and Doors

How secure are the doors and windows at your place of business? Are the locks reliable or would they be relatively easy for the common criminal to pick or break without causing a scene?

"Exterior windows can be covered with burglar-resistant glazing, which provides the appearance of glass and increases security," according to the State Farm Insurance website.2 "Consult a security expert to find out more about glazing. Many window locks are simple latches that can be pried open. Ask a locksmith or security supplier about more secure window locks."

When it comes to doors, the insurance giant recommends using those constructed from solid-core wood or metal and making sure they fit tightly into the doorframe.

Lighting (Interior and exterior)

If you have good enough lighting (both on the inside and outside), you may be able to prevent burglary before the doors and windows become an issue. These criminals don't want to be spotted, of course, so if light is going to shine on them as they try to break in, they'll be less likely to even attempt it.

Have your outside lights on a timer or buy sensor light switches that automatically go on at night and go off in the morning. Ensure that lights stay functional and are located in places that make it difficult for criminals to break them. Always have backup bulbs on hand to replace any that burn out or are broken. If there are electrical issues, don't hesitate to contact an electrician.

Eliminate Hiding Places

If it is within your power, make sure there aren't places surrounding your building that would make it easy for criminals to hide. If you share a space with others, and there are concerns in this area, speak to those who have a say in the matter, and help them understand why certain changes would help make everyone safer.

Insurance

Make sure that you have solid insurance coverage. If you do experience a burglary despite your best efforts to deter criminals, having the right insurance can make a big difference in your ability to recover from the crime with as little pain as possible. Shop around for the plan that benefits you the most.

1. https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/03/commercial-burglaries.html

2. https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/planning/protect-your-business-from-burglary

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A. Member FDIC