Security Tips For Small Business

Updated November 18, 2022

RPD is thankful for Roseville’s small businesses and wants them to have a safe and successful Small Business Saturday, coming up on November 26th , as well as a prosperous holiday shopping season this year.

Part of the success of small business is deterring crime.  Crime against small businesses cuts into already narrow profit margins.  According to the US Chamber of Commerce, crime is a factor in 30% of all small business closures.

There are some simple practices and policies small business can use to deter crime.

Natural Surveillance

Utilize “natural surveillance” as much as possible. 

  • Have a clear view of all areas inside the business, with no observable obscured areas where thieves can conceal signs of their thievery

  • Do not cover windows with displays or signs. Unobstructed windows give passersby and police a clear view into the business – and ability to see anything suspicious

  • Have any exterior landscaping trimmed down below 3’, and any trees trimmed up at least 7’

  • Keep all areas of the store interior and exterior well-lit

Natural surveillance can be supplemented with mechanical surveillance – that is, video surveillance cameras.  These tools are relatively inexpensive today, with both DIY systems and through security companies.  Make sure all cameras are strategically placed covering entry and exit points, high value goods, and Point of Sale areas.  Cameras should be placed low enough to provide good views of people’s faces and clothing.

Access Control

  • Make public access to your business clearly marked and/or defined. Where possible use landscaping to deter people from easily accessing areas not meant for public use

  • Have glass doors, and low windows, strengthened with protective films or special glazing.Use a more secure deadlock on glass doors

  • Always lock any windows that open

  • For other access doors into the business, use ones that are reinforced and use deadbolts, which require burglars to have more than a basic tool to break in. Full length security bars on rear doors or other non-customer doors can be installed to protect the entire length of the strike jamb

  • Verify all doors and windows are locked before leaving the business (having a closing checklist is helpful)

Other tips to “harden the target”:

  • Make sure any doors that lead to private / employee only areas within the store stay closed and locked when not actively in use. Have any areas not open to the public clearly marked.

  • Empty registers at night and leave the register drawer empty and open – this shows crooks there is nothing to steal.

  • Leave a few interior lights on at night to give the impression that someone may still be working.

  • Don’t leave discarded boxes outside – fresh boxes indicate that new merchandise or equipment is stocked inside. Break down all boxes and drop them off at a local recycling facility.

  • Display more expensive items near the center of the store and not near exits, which facilitate “grab ‘n’ go” thefts.

  • Have a policy regarding deliveries made at the business during the workday to make sure delivered items are secured immediately.

Employee Training

Attentive and helpful employees are one of the best deterrents for crime at any business

  • Remind employees to stay observant both while working and when arriving and leaving.

  • Train employees to stop and question anyone who doesn’t not work for the company who appears to be loitering or lost in the business, especially anyone who tries to enter back office/storage areas

  • Train employees to call the police immediately if they see something suspicious or an emergency situation.