Commercial Burglary Prevention

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1 Commercial Burglary Prevention Montgomery County Police 2 nd District Officer Dana Stroman Community Services Officer Officer Oliver Janney Community Services Officer

2 Message from the commander Dear Business Owner: In 2013, while crime went down in most categories, the 2 nd District experienced a significant increase in burglaries and thefts from businesses. There is a term in policing called hardening of the target which basically means that procedures are implemented to prevent or greatly reduce the chances of your business from becoming the victim of burglary or theft. This presentation is a valuable source of information to teach you how to harden the target for your business. The police do need your help, as you are our eyes and our ears, and we are most effective when we work together. Please take the time to review the presentation. If you have additional questions, the contact information for my community services officers is included near the end of the presentation. Thank you for doing your part to reducing crime in the 2 nd District. Captain David Falcinelli

3 Commercial Burglary A commercial burglary is committed when there is unlawful entry of a commercial structure with the intent to commit a crime. It is non-confrontational crime that occurs when the business is closed and unoccupied.

4 Traits There is no typical burglar, but many share common traits: Burglars may operate alone or in pairs, or as part of an organized group or gang. Burglars are motivated by economic gain and are opportunistic. Burglars tend to target property that is portable, valuable, and can easily be converted to cash and/or readily exchanged for drugs. Professional burglars, steal merchandise, and fence the items by having another party sell it at flea markets or online. Burglars commit return fraud by taking stolen items to a store and asking for a refund.

5 In most cases, burglars forcibly enter through doors, windows, skylights, or other openings by prying them open, smashing glass windows and doors, forcing the locks open, or kicking doors in. Since a significant amount of retail crime is attributable to employee theft, burglaries may involve current or exemployees participation or collusion with offenders.

6 Why My Property? Although burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a selection process. Burglars pick businesses based on a number of key factors:

7 Goods Sold: Businesses that sell items which can be easily transported and sold either on the internet or black market/streets or traded for drugs are more frequently victims of burglaries.

8 Occupancy: Most commercial burglaries happen when businesses are closed and there is little street activity. Usually this occurs after dark and on weekends or holidays.

9 Visibility or Surveillability A burglar s risk of being seen entering or leaving a property influences target selection, making the following businesses more vulnerable to burglary:

10 Accessibility Businesses accessible by alleys provide both access and escape for burglars, and limited visibility to neighbors. Businesses near major thoroughfares are more vulnerable to burglary.

11 Vulnerability or Security How vulnerable or secure a business is determines how likely a burglar is to target it. Those particularly at risk include:

12 Businesses with weakened entry points. Poor building materials can make a business more vulnerable to burglary. Older structures may have rusting, easily compromised locks or worn and decaying windows and door frames, while newer structures may be built with cheap materials.

13 Businesses whose staff are careless about security. Burglarized buildings often have unlocked or open windows or doors. Seasonal variations may determine burglars access methods. Summer months allow entry through open windows or doors, while winter months bring an increase in forced entry.

14 Businesses with few or no security devices. Businesses that with cover. For prospective burglars, cover includes features that obscure views especially of doors and windows including trees and dense shrubs, walls and fences and architectural features. Businesses that are secluded. Businesses that are isolated are more attractive to burglars. Businesses with poor lighting. Poor lighting, especially around entry points, reduces a burglar s visibility to neighbors or bystanders.

15 Steps to Commercial Burglary Prevention A security check list a list of ways to improve the security of your business. Install double cylinder dead bolt locks on glass paneled doors. Utilize GPS tracking devices, when applicable. Install pull down metal gates/doors or wrought iron bars. Make sure window locks are designed and located so they can not be reached and opened if the glass is broken.

16 To deter the Smash and Grab, move merchandise away from windows after closing. Use strong, well built doors. Doors with large areas of glass should be used in locations visible to neighbors or passerby's. Install see through fencing or thorny bushes to make it more difficult to access your business; however make sure that these bushes do not decrease visibility of your property.

17 Any opening can be a potential entry point. Secure skylights, air ducts, attics, crawl space, and vulnerable areas shared with other businesses. Trim and limb up shrubs and trees so they do not provide hiding places, especially near entryways. Keep premises and surroundings clean and well maintained to communicate that the owners are in control of the property and vigilant.

18 Install lights outside that either remain on all night or have motion detectors. Leave on enough interior lighting after business hours to detect movement. Secure valuable inventory in secured areas or safe. Mark all office equipment with your federal tax ID number or business name and telephone number and ID number. Keep a record of all merchandise and equipment serial numbers in a secure location.

19 If you use surveillance camera system, consider facial recognition software. The quality of images are important; the camera will need to adjust for darkness and light. Leave the empty cash register open at night. Devise a control system for all keys with do not duplicate. Start a Business Watch Program designed to reduce crime and the fear of crime and promote positive communication and relationships within an area. Contact your Community Services Officer for more information.

20 Trespass Authorization Program The Trespass Authorization program is offered through the Montgomery County Police Department. This program allows property owners or managers to authorize Montgomery County Police Officers to enter onto their property for the purpose of enforcing trespass laws against individuals who are trespassing on their property. The signer agrees to prosecute if a trespasser is charged with a crime. This is best suited for chronic problem locations. For more information, contact your Community Services Officer.

21 What to do If Your Business Has Been Burglarized Report the crime to the Police immediately. Call 911 to report a crime in progress. If the burglary has already taken place, call the non-emergency number In the event that you observe the suspects, write down any details, activities, and/or modes of transportation used by the suspect(s). Immediately following the crime while the details are fresh in your memory. This may include a description of the person and license plates and vehicle information. Ask each of your employees to do the same, but do not compare information.

22 Talk to your employees and neighboring businesses about what happened. It is important to share information with others so they are aware of any criminal activity in the area. They may also be able to provide you with additional information about the incident. Do not share security information.

23 Office Thefts can lead to burglaries AVOID THEFTS OF OPPORTUNITY Opportunity theft is the direct result of property and valuables left unattended and unsecured, even for short periods of time, which provides a thief with the opportunity to steal your valuables. Opportunity thefts are the most preventable crimes that occur.

24 Always secure your valuables and personal belongings, including cell phones, ipods, ipads and other electronics, purse, wallet in a locked cabinet. Keep items of value out of sight and secured. Do not bring items of significant value to work and do not carry large sums of cash. If you cannot secure the items, carrying them with you is the best bet. Mark your valuables in some distinctive fashion.

25 Ensure that laptops are secured with a cable on your desk. Carry the key to your file cabinets or desk drawer with you, or keep your keys in a secured area. (Depending on your position, if you leave work items locked up and you are absent from work, someone else may need legitimate access to your work materials so make sure to have an extra key).

26 Turn off your computer at night or protect access to your personal or confidential information on your computer by using a password; you can "lock" your desktop when you step away from your computer for any length of time. Empty out your pockets prior to hanging your coat in a public closet. Familiarize yourself with all emergency exits.

27 If you are alone and intending to remain in your office after normal office hours, please make sure someone knows you are there and that you are by yourself.

28 Things to Remember: Thieves can look like anyone. Often they will dress like they belong there. Employees should have identification displayed. If you do see someone who looks out of place, try to note the person's appearance in case it is needed later. If your office has security, report any strange persons to them. Also consider notifying police so that they may be on the lookout. If you don't feel comfortable approaching someone, ask security or the police to check the situation out.

29 Never assume someone is authorized to be in your building. Keep an eye out for strangers in your workplace, especially during busy times. If someone looks like they don't belong try to find out what they are doing there. It may be a new person, a customer, someone lost or someone up to no good. Ask a simple question like "May I help you?", which may deter unwelcome strangers.

30 Try to restrict access to private areas of your office. We all need customers to be able to access us. Should strangers have free access to private offices or other areas? If your office has a security policy, honor it. While it may be inconvenient at times, it can help you avoid becoming a victim.

31 If possible, lock your office when you are not in it. This will keep unwanted persons from getting into your office. Never share office keys or office key codes. If you are not in control of those items, you are not in control of access to your office. Do not leave access doors propped open or unlocked. This will grant access to your building to anyone who comes along.

32 Be careful with your valuables. Do not leave personal items of value unguarded or in the open. Do not let others see what you have to take. Keep your purse or wallet in a secure area. Most thieves know to look in desk drawers. Keep those areas locked.

33 Montgomery County Police, Community Services Officers can schedule a free commercial security assessment of your business by appointment. Please call Officer Stroman or Officer Janney. Please visit:

34 Thank You

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