Keeping Shop Fronts Secure and Burglar-Proof

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Reports from the ONS show that violent offences increased by 21% last year, leading to the first rise in recorded crime for more than a decade.

While many crimes get reported, retail crime is often viewed as a ‘victimless’ crime and therefore isn’t. When this happens, it can have a debilitating effect on staff morale as they may have been subjected to physical violence. Turning a blind eye keeps criminals on the street, thereby fostering more crimes like drug dealing and car crime.

At SRL Limited, we have seen an increase in the amount of business owners looking for the latest and greatest security deterrent. Everything from steel doors to triple layered window panes to the biggest doormen they can get. It’s easy to go over board with the amount of options available.

Before you attempt to use everything available and barricade your shop front premises, remember that burglars don’t come in only through the front door. There have been reports in the news of burglars falling through roofs, digging through the floor, even hiding away in the lift shaft.

Effective ways to protect your business’ shop front include:

  • The use of laminated or tempered glass in store fronts and at doors to prevent smash and grab raids.
  • Construction of a solid structure around the ATM and positioning it away from the shop front to guard against the rise in ATM thefts.
  • Installing bollards in front of the store, and and speed breakers around the premises, to prevent ram raids.

If you are not using any of these and simply want a shutter fitted, before choosing any particular type, contact your local council. Councils from Eire to Croydon are adamant about shop owners seeking Listed Building Consent, before undertaking any ‘improvements’. They are keen to protect the ‘character’ of the building, which means as little ‘defacing’ as possible.

This can be a constraint if you have to do a full install which may include hacking out space for lugs or supporting brackets. The lack of agreement between store owners and Councils has led to some councils going as far as specifying the types of shutters that can be allowed; viz a demountable grille, an open mesh shutter or a solid shutter.

While this may seem overly restrictive, it does include one sensible caveat; all shutters must allow light to pass through them to allow window shopping and spillage of light on the pavement.

They also surmise that grilles should be utilised more than open shutters for the following reasons:

  • They allow a degree of passive surveillance, by allowing surveillance of the shop from the street.
  • Having a row of solid shuttered stores conveys a message that the area is vulnerable to crime.
  • Solid shutters increase the possibility of graffiti spraying which will further convey the message of vulnerability.

While some of their arguments have some merit, not everyone agrees with all of them. Do you agree with their judgement? Or do you feel other alternatives should be trialled? Grilles, shutters, glass, and even doormen can all be used together to protect a business; sensibly deploying them where they will provide the best impact is the constant struggle of a business owner.

Regardless of your choice, call SRL Limited today if you want to provide more visibility for your customers while protecting your stock. With our broad range of store front protection, we can help you find a council-approved protection solution.

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