For many businesses, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. Seasonal employees come and go as extra help is needed during peak times. And, some business owners may close down for an extended period of time while they travel and enjoy the holidays with their families. Unfortunately, all of these things present excellent opportunities for ill-intentioned individuals.
Keeping your business safe at this time of year requires some extra thought and planning. Here are 10 holiday security tips and best practices for business owners.
1. Hire Extra Security Officers
Professionally trained, private security officers can be a huge asset to your business during the holiday season. Private security officers are trained to watch for suspicious activity and act quickly to remove ill-intentioned individuals from the premises. Having a uniformed officer at each entry and exit point and one patrolling the store is an excellent way to deter shoplifters.
We recommend having extra officers on hand during peak hours to prevent shoplifting and employee theft. You may also want to consider having a roving security officer on the premises when the business is closed to prevent theft and vandalism, especially if you will be away from the business for an extended period of time.
2. Do Background Checks on Your Seasonal Employees
Many businesses require extra help during the holiday season and extra precautions should be taken when hiring. Start by doing thorough background checks on any seasonal staff. Once hired, they should be trained to do their job, but don’t provide them with security codes or keys to your business that could allow them to steal from you later. If they must have pass codes, be sure to change them as soon as the seasonal staff is no longer needed.
Employee theft is a huge concern with both seasonal and regular employees. Having a security officer on the premises is an effective way to deter theft because they are specially trained to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior.
3. Test Your Security Equipment
Now’s the time to make sure that all of your security equipment is in good working order. That includes fire alarms, access control systems, security lighting, security cameras, and any other security equipment you may be utilizing. Whether you will be closed for an extended period or just extra busy, it is crucial that all systems are functioning and reporting properly.
Testing should be done at the beginning of the holiday season to allow plenty of time to make any necessary repairs. If you use a company to monitor your alarms, make sure they are aware of your holiday hours and have an up to date contact list, just in case your fire or security alarm goes off while you’re away from the business.
4. Don’t Announce Your Holiday Hours
Announcing that you will be closed for an extended period of time is like a written invitation for thieves. Instead of posting your hours on the front door or announcing them on social media, consider posting a sign asking customers to call for holiday hours.
5. Make Sure Your Business is Properly Secured
If you are closing for a week or two, make sure your business is properly secured before you go. Ensuring that your business is properly secured before you leave may seem like common sense, but it’s easy to overlook things that could be crucial for security. Before you leave for an extended period of time, do a walkthrough of the premises and make sure every exterior door and window is locked and secured.
If you have an access control alarm system, be sure that any automatic schedules that open doors on specific times and days have been overridden. The last thing you want is for your security system to disarm itself while the business is unattended.
6. Pay Attention to Trash Disposal
Many businesses receive extra deliveries over the holidays to accommodate the influx of seasonal business. Pay attention to the way that you dispose of shipping boxes. Don’t just throw the shipping labels and boxes in the dumpster or recycling cart. Many of the shipping boxes will indicate what was in them and be like an advertisement to thieves, letting them know exactly what you have inside.
When throwing away shipping boxes, the best practice is to remove the labels from the boxes and shred them. You should also cut the boxes up before putting them out for collection, especially if they’re clearly labeled with the original contents.
7. Think About the Placement of Your Holiday Decorations
If you’ll be putting up decorations for the holidays, it’s important to consider their placement carefully. It’s essential that they aren’t hanging in a way that they could cover your security cameras. If they’re outside, make sure the wind can’t blow them in a way that will obstruct the cameras or security lighting.
On the other hand, if they’re inside the business, make sure they aren’t obstructing your motion detectors. And finally, don’t place large outdoor decorations in a way that they create a hiding spot for potential intruders.
8. Make Sure Your Security Lighting is Up to Snuff
The inside and outside of your business should be well lit, especially if you’ll be closed for a week or two. Good security lighting makes it harder for thieves to go unnoticed and there’s a good chance it will deter them from attempting to break into your business in the first place. Having lights on timers inside the facility that turn off and on at random can give the appearance that someone is inside even when your business is closed.
9. Pay Attention to What Can Be Seen Through the Windows
Think about what passers-by can see from the windows when they walk or drive past your business. Displaying merchandise and high-dollar items near the windows creates a major temptation for ill-intentioned individuals and gives them an easy opportunity to do a quick smash-and-grab.
10. Let Your Neighbors Know You’ll Be Gone
The more eyes on your business, the better. If neighboring businesses will open during the holidays, ask them to keep an eye out while you’re gone. If you have a good relationship with them, they won’t mind because they know you’ll return the favor when the time comes. It may also be a good idea to let the local police know you’ll be away so they can be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
Preventing theft during the busiest time of year requires some additional planning and forethought. Following these tips and best security practices will keep your business safe and secure throughout the holiday season. If you need additional advice or have special concerns, GCI Security is here to help this holiday season! Fill out the form below to sign up for a FREE consultation.