Crime and violence in businesses can have severe consequences: not just for the victims alone, but also for the entire organization. Crime and violence in your place of business can result in bodily injury or fatality of employees and customers, and cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation and economic stability. As businesses of all sizes are susceptible to rising crime rates, the need to address this issue has never been more critical.
In this article, we explore five ways to address crime and violence in businesses. These methods are designed to help organizations both prevent and respond to incidents, ensuring the safety and security of all employees, customers, and assets.
1. Develop a Comprehensive Security Plan
The first step in addressing crime and violence in businesses is to develop a comprehensive security plan. The plan should include a risk assessment, identification of potential threats, and defined procedures for responding to incidents. Researching incidents that have occurred at both nearby businesses and similar businesses can provide valuable data for developing your own plan.
No matter how detailed or comprehensive your security plan is, it should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains both relevant and effective. The plan should also be communicated to all employees, so they understand their particular roles in maintaining the safety and security of the workplace.
2. Implement Physical Security Measures
Physical security measures are essential in preventing and deterring crime and violence in businesses. Here are some physical security measures for consideration:
- Access control: Installing a secure lock system using passcards, passcodes, or biometrics to prevent unauthorized access.
- Surveillance cameras: Installing surveillance cameras inside and outside the building can provide 24/7 monitoring and help deter criminal activity.
- Lighting: Adequate lighting around the building, both inside and outside, can help deter criminals and provide a safer environment for employees and customers.
- Fencing: Installing security chain link fencing around the perimeter can help restrict access to the property and serve as a physical barrier to intruders.
- Alarm systems: An alarm system with a loud siren can alert the authorities and deter criminals in case of a break-in.
- Physical barriers: Physical barriers such as bollards, planters, or concrete barriers can prevent vehicles from entering the property and causing damage.
- Security personnel: Hiring security personnel to patrol the property can provide a visible deterrent to criminal activity and help ensure the safety of employees and customers.
Additionally, employees should be trained on the proper use of access control systems, and what to do in the event of a security breach.
3. Provide Employee Training and Awareness Programs
Providing a secure workplace for employees goes beyond ensuring that employees are familiar with the security systems in the workplace. Employee training and awareness programs can play a critical role in preventing crime and violence in business. Training and awareness programs should address these areas:
- Workplace violence prevention: How to recognize the signs of potential workplace violence, how to respond to incidents, and how to report incidents to the appropriate authorities.
- Security procedures: How to properly lock doors and windows, how to report suspicious activity, and how to respond to security incidents.
- Emergency response: Training on the emergency response plan, including procedures for evacuating the premises, contacting authorities, and providing first aid.
- Personal safety: Employees should be trained on personal safety measures, such as how to stay alert and aware of their surroundings, how to protect their personal information, and how to avoid dangerous situations.
- Data security: Employees should be trained on data security procedures, including how to properly handle sensitive information, how to avoid phishing scams, and how to protect against cyber attacks.
When conducted properly, regular training and awareness programs go a long way in maintaining a culture of safety and security in the workplace, improving employee satisfaction.
4. Conduct Regular Risk Assessments
Briefly mentioned as part of a comprehensive security plan, an important part of addressing crime and violence in businesses is to conduct regular risk assessments. Such assessments help organizations identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, allowing them to take steps to mitigate risk. Regular risk assessments should include the following:
- Threat assessment: Identifying potential threats, such as theft, robbery, or workplace violence, and assessing their likelihood of occurring.
- Vulnerability analysis: Evaluating the weaknesses in current security measures and the opportunities for criminals to exploit them.
- Physical security review: Assessing the physical security measures in place (such as lighting, access control, and surveillance cameras) and identifying any gaps in coverage.
- Emergency response plan: Review your plan for responding to security incidents, including procedures for contacting authorities, evacuating the premises, and providing first aid.
- Employee training: Review the available employee training with regard to security best practices, such as how to report suspicious activity and how to respond in the event of an emergency. Are the phone numbers, personnel, and procedures still valid?
Risk assessments should be conducted regularly and should include input from employees, customers, and law enforcement agencies. The results of these assessments should then inform any changes that you need to make to your existing security measures, policies, and procedures.
5. Collaborate with Local Law Enforcement
An important component of addressing crime and violence, businesses can collaborate with local law enforcement agencies. In addition to their knowledge about specific criminal activity in the area, local law enforcement agencies have the expertise and resources needed to respond to incidents and prevent criminal activity.
Businesses should establish a relationship with their local law enforcement agency and work together to develop response plans and protocols. For example, your local police department may be aware of the methods used during a recent break-in, or business scams going around that can better help prevent your business from becoming victim to the same crimes. Collaboration with your local law enforcement agencies can also include regular meetings to share information and discuss any security concerns.
Crime and violence in businesses pose a serious threat to the safety and security of employees, customers, and business assets. By implementing a comprehensive security plan, implementing physical security measures, providing employee training and awareness programs, conducting regular risk assessments, and collaborating with local law enforcement agencies, businesses can reduce the risk of crime and violence and ensure the safety of all stakeholders.
Author – Jordan McDowell is a writer and content strategist. He specializes in technically-oriented B2B and B2C content for a number of digital companies.