Summer crime prevention advice
The warmer summer months are here. Our days are longer, our nights draw in later. Whilst this is great for us all to get out and about to enjoy, it’s also the months crime rates can go up as criminals also look to capitalise on us all taking advantage of the great weather.
As the better weather often alters our working practices (windows and doors open, staff providing both indoor and outdoor services) it can lead to increased risks of burglary, trespass, shop theft and assaults on staff. Figures from the trade body the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) revealed 44% of frontline retail staff have experienced verbal and physical hostility from customers in the past six months. A quarter of those reporting claim the reason is customer stress brought on by the current cost of living crisis.
In light of the above, here are our top tips to increasing your summer safety:
- Doors and windows – It’s important to be aware of which doors and windows have been unlocked and opened. Opportunist thieves are constantly on the look-out for quick and easy ways to steal cash or grab other items. Keep cash and other valuables out of arm’s length of open windows and doors. Bags, purses, wallets and mobile phones should be out of sight and secured, so as not to tempt thieves. Always try to keep ground level doors and windows as secure as possible, and try to have staff on hand to deter and challenge anyone out of place or acting suspicious. If windows have blinds, pull them down whilst a window is open – this will allow cooler air to circulate whilst shielding the view into the room.
- Check it out – This may sound over-the-top but having an agreed routine and checklist of actions will always ensure you don’t forget to properly lock away valuables and fully secure your premises. It’s easy after a long, hot and sweaty day to just want to lock up and go – but have you closed and locked all the open windows? Have you cashed up and secured your takings? Have you still left phones, laptops and other devices on the desks ready for tomorrow? By following a quick and simple checklist you and your staff can ensure your building will be ‘safe and sound’ until you next return.
- Don’t give thieves a leg up – It’s likely that summer will be the time you get those postponed repair jobs done, building work completed or just your windows cleaned. Ensure contractors don’t leave any ladders, tools or other equipment lying about that will help criminals climb up and enter your building. Even moving wheelie bins can provide a thief with a helpful leg up to that awkward-to-close small window you can’t shut properly!
- Give us a sign – Eye catching security signs and notices for security alarms, CCTV, property marking or the use of anti-climb paint could be enough to deter any would-be burglar. Deterrence is better than detection – use the increased daylight hours to display signs in prominent places to warn off criminals.
- Batten down the hatches – Well, not quite but it’s a good idea to check the quality of your door and window locks, shutters, CCTV and access control systems to make sure they are fit for purpose and the required specification for insurance policies. Don’t risk voided claims, now is a good time to check and if necessary replace to ensure your insured.
- Protect staff – you may be able to reduce verbal and physical threats to your staff by providing them with conflict resolution awareness training. Being able to successfully diffuse an aggressive situation may resolve incidents successfully. Additionally ensure you clearly display signs that state you have a zero tolerance policy on both verbal and physical abuse to staff – it’s important for staff to know their organisation is proactively looking out for them. Finally, be aware that new legislation under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act has increased the penalties for customers who attack shop workers. All attacks on staff should be reported to Police so the right action can be taken.