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Crime Prevention for Business Owners

Tips During the Warm Weather Months

Spring and summer may mean there are more people on the street and more customers for businesses. But it also means there are more criminals looking for opportunities. Here are measures to help deter these lawbreakers.

Spring Cleaning

The first thing owners and managers should do is take a look around the store or office to remove clutter. 

Windows need to remain clear. Avoid piling boxes or inventory against windows and exits. Posters and advertisements need to be below windows.  Remember, if an employee can't see out, customers and police can't see in. Clean and clutter-free windows and exits can safeguard your business against a robbery. Move boxes to a safe area, out of the way of employees and customers. No need to start off the season with injuries and lawsuits.

Review these safety issues with employees, especially those who have been recently hired. 

  • Stay alert to shoplifters and vendors who may have light fingers with your stock.
  • Don't become lax with security on slow days and nights. 
  • Keep at least two people on duty. It's easier for a criminal to get away with the contents of the register or safe when only one person is working.
  • Use digital cameras to capture criminal activity. Digital cameras provide a much clearer image.
  • Close all trash bins and locate them away from the building. There are some people who love the look, smell, and excitement of a fire. Also, that trash bin or dumpster could be used as a ladder to enter your store or office through the roof. 
  • Test all locks, grates, doors and windows to make sure they lock properly and are in working order.

For more information on security in the workplace call the Baltimore County Police Department's Community Resources Team at 410-887-5901.

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Burglars Shun Good Locks and Lights

A burglar placed under arrest told Baltimore County Police that there are two types of specialty locks that he and other thieves avoid: hidden shackle locks and disc brake locks.

Specialized locks such as hidden shackle locks frustrate burglars.
Hidden Shackle Locks

Hidden Shackle Locks

These locks are often used on tractor trailer doors, but homeowners and businesses use them on storage sheds and other structures easily accessed from the outside.

They can be purchased at home improvement and hardware stores. The locks are effective because there is no real practical way to cut the lock with bolt cutters. Also, prying them out of the door is time consuming and noisy. The core of the lock is set into the lock. They can be purchased at home improvement and hardware stores for a minimal investment of about $40.

Disc Brake Lock

Specialized locks such as disc brake locks frustrate burglars.
Disc Brake Lock

The other simple, yet effective, locks the thief referred to are used to secure ATVs and dirt bikes.

The lock attaches to a wheel on the bike or All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). For those who want to spend extra on security, there is a more sophisticated lock that has a built-in motion detector alarm. The locks can be purchased online, at motorcycle shops, and at some home improvement stores. Some stores will even special order a lock. The locks range in price from $40 to $90.

Lighting

The thief also said a simple light shining in a shed or other structure keeps people like himself away. Burglars like to work in the dark.

No one can prevent crime, but specialized locks and good lighting are deterrents for would-be thieves.

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Hiring Summer Help

In a rush to hire summer help? Don't forget to be cautious during the hiring process. Stick to these steps.

  • Never hire anyone on the spot. 
  • Conduct a thorough interview. 
  • Tell the prospective applicant what your company is all about and what is expected of all employees. 
  • Inform the person of the strict zero-tolerance drug rules. As a potential employer, have the person take a drug test. If the applicant has trouble with that part of the hiring process, conclude the interview. The person in question may object to the testing on principal, but it may be the reluctant applicant has a problem with substance abuse.
  • Always follow through and check the references listed on the resume. References are helpful when judging a potential candidate. Don't look for just the negative ones, but also the positive ones. One bad decision doesn't mean the applicant is wrong for the job.
  • Does the potential employee have a record of jumping from job to job? Unless the person has had some physical problems, missing work is usually a red flag for problems on and off the job.

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Stay Alert: Help Neighborhood Merchants

The Baltimore County Police Department often advises area retailers on ways to avoid being burglarized. Detectives from the Burglary Unit suggest using better lighting, locks and other devices to keep out thieves. However, there is one deterrent to burglary that often goes unnoticed - the unsuspecting witness - the casual passerby.

Who are these witnesses? They are the drivers or pedestrians who are out late at night and see something that is out of the ordinary. You might be the one who notices a car or truck parked in the back of the store or office that does not belong there late at night when the store is closed. It might be a light on when it should be dark inside. Your quick action might mean the end to a series of burglaries that are occurring in your area.

Call 911 if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Your call and concern might help a local retailer stay in business.

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Revised April 11, 2014

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