Another week, another slew of ‘high value burglary’ events.
It seems, with the onset of spring, the burglary rate is slowly creeping up. Yet this isn’t snatching purses or pickpocketing. These burglaries involve sophisticated and sometimes use of brute force to gain access to a premises.
Take the recent robbery of a a safe deposit firm in London’s Hatton Gardens. Thieves used a number of ways to gain access to a vault and made off with jewels worth up to £200 million.
Two days ago, in Edinburgh, there was a ram raid of a Post Office leading to damage of up to £20, 000. About a month ago, a jewellery store on Foleshill Road in Coventry was also ram raided.
All these premises had some level of security; alarms, CCTV, solid doors, roller shutters.
Yet they all got robbed. A distinct lack of custom solutions seems to be the cause. Not every shop front needs a bollard in front of it, and those that really do, rarely have one. Most people think that once you have CCTV, you’re fine.
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to securing your business. If you plan to keep crime out of your business, do you really know what you are facing? Installing bog-standard security systems is acceptable, only up to a point. A prime example is the Hatton Gardens robbery. Did the solid steel front door or alarms stop the thieves?
Choosing a security system should always start with a thorough security survey. Working from the outside, and assessing all possible risks and threats, all the way to the interior of the premises. The point of this type of survey is to reduce opportunities for crime to be committed in the first place, and in worst case scenarios, provide a plan to minimize losses.
Using the Onion-Peeling principle, a security survey can be broken down into:
1. The Preparation.
This involves collecting and assessing information such as the prevailing crime levels in the area, history of crime at the business, access to railway line or numerous alleys in the vicinity etc.
2. The Environment.
Assessing the immediate environment around the business will influence the choice of security measures implemented. Are there blind spots that CCTV can’t access, are there bushes and trees that can conceal burglars, does the general area look run-down; questions like this help with assessing the current situation.
3. The Perimeter.
This is the area between the walls of the fence and the buildings in inside it. Are there any spots along it that allow easy access to criminals? Bins that can be climbed, gates left unlocked, poorly lit alcoves?
4. The Shell.
This is the fabric of the building itself. Depending on the type of business, it may be a wall, glass pane, skylight, steel panels etc. The type of material the shell is constructed from can affect the ease of entry for a criminal. Other important parts of the shell are any openings and vulnerable areas.
5. The Interior.
This contains the assets we are trying to protect. These may be stock or humans. Inside the building, procedures can be set in place to provide an extra layer of security, through the use of alarms, smoke, keycards to prevent access etc.
When a full survey has been carried out and the best security options for this business can be decided upon. At SRL Ltd., we install custom grilles, roller shutter doors and steel lattices. A common request we get from our customers is how to create a secure premises without giving it a fortress-like appearance. Or in the case of those with shops in Conservation Areas, how to stay safe without insensitive security measures.
Our top three recommendations are:
Installing Anti-Shatter Film To Glass.
Glass isn’t the first thing you would relate with security, but by applying anti-shatter film to existing glazing, shop owners can strengthen their existing security. In the event that it is shattered by a ram raid or thrown brick, it doesn’t fall to pieces, providing a few more seconds that can allow the thief to be caught.
Another glass option is Security Glass. There are two types of this – toughened and laminated glass. These are excellent for shops with large window displays. They can also be strengthened with metal T-sections. This, however, needs to be approved by the local Council.
If a physical barrier must be installed, we recommend Brick bond Grilles. Internally placed lattice grilles are generally low-impact and may not require planning permission. In the case where an internal lattice cannot be installed, an external lattice can be used, though this requires planning permission. External brick bond grilles present problems in areas where the building architecture doesn’t support the box housing the lattice.
Extremal Mesh Grilles.
Fitting a external removable mesh grill in front of windows can be done if other options have been ruled impractical. Since it doesn’t require a box housing, it can be discreetly accommodated in many shop fronts.
At SRL, we recommend a combination of features. Our favourite is the strengthened glass windows with an internal grille and a dummy display. This provides protection while allowing passing customers see the goods on display.
Worried about the best protection for your shop? Contact SRL Ltd today and choose from our wide range of bespoke security shutter solutions.