Browser Compatibility Notification
It appears you are trying to access this site using an outdated browser. As a result, parts of the site may not function properly for you. We recommend updating your browser to its most recent version at your earliest convenience.
Skip to content

Break and Enters

Crimes against businesses are usually ones of opportunity. Helping to reduce your vulnerability will help prevent loss and damage.

Survey your Property:

Use our checklist to survey your property. The intent is to identify areas of concern or potential risk. Then you can use our hints and strategies to better secure your property.

1) Lighting:shoplights.JPG

  • Check exterior and interior lights. Are they all operational? Perhaps you will need to add lighting to prevent shadows that would allow the thieves to conceal themselves.
  • Look for dark alleys and doorways
  • Are all sides of your building well lit?
  • Do you leave interior lights on (so passing motorists might notice someone walking around inside)?
  • Do you have exterior sensor lights that activate when someone is near?
  • You can also install interior sensor lights that activate near the safe or cash
  • Ensure that none of your bulbs have been intentionally broken or unscrewed

2) Locks:shop22.JPG

  • Good locks will deter break ins.
  • Install deadbolt locks on outside doors (preferably double cylinder)
  • Make sure padlocks are solidly mounted
  • Don't leave business keys around to be copied (i.e. spare in desk drawer)
  • Change the locks if a key is lost or stolen
  • Change locks if disgruntled employee is fired or let go
  • Ensure all employees turn in their keys when quitting
  • Convert entry to a keypad or computerized entry system. Each employee is given a specific code.
  • Secure roof openings, air ducts, sky lights, hatchways, air conditioners, and basement openings
  • Check closets, bathrooms and other hiding spots before you leave (wouldn't want to lock in a thief)
  • Never leave a front or rear door unlocked if you are busy working in another part of the building and can't see if someone enters

3) Doors:shop5.JPG

  • Poorly designed doors are a common entry point for thieves.
  • Hollow doors are hollow protection
  • Exterior doors should have metal linings
  • Glass and metal doors should have cylinder deadbolts, and strike bars
  • Glass doors should be designed with "non-breakable" glass
  • Door frames should be checked for weakness (i.e. allow for crowbar expansion)
  • Install non-removable hinge pins on doors that swing outward
  • Ensure all doors are properly closed and locked before leaving

4) Windows:

  • Windows should offer light, ventilation, and visibility…not easy access. shopwindows.JPG
  • All ground floor windows or accessible windows should be barred or fitted with security screens or bars.
  • Entry resistant Plexiglas should be used where applicable
  • Window frames should be checked for weakness/rotting
  • Ensure that windows allow a clear view into the building and are not obstructed by curtains or displays (this will allow passing motorists and police to keep an eye on your business)

5) Alarms:

  • An alarm system is a great deterrent and constant protection. Ensure that it is operational and monitored by a security company.
  • Install an alarm system and have it checked regularlyshop23.JPG
  • Advertise that your business is alarmed (i.e. stickers)
  • Ensure that staff is trained to eliminate false alarms
  • Design a door charm that will activate if someone enters the business during business hours (in case you are in the back and unaware someone has come in)
  • Have a video monitoring system (cameras and VCR)
  • Ensure the VCR is recording each night and is locked away so a potential vandal can't take the tapes with them

6) Safes:

  • Thieves are often after a high pay out…..a safe provides great potential.


  • Hidden safes provide less opportunity
  • Make regular bank deposits to minimize the cash-on-hand
  • Advertise that "less that $50.00 is kept on site"
  • Anchor the safe to the floor
  • As employees are terminated or quit, you should change your safe combination
  • Leave cash drawers open to show no money has been left over night

7) Exterior Setting:

  • Examine where your business is situated. Are you in a heavily populated area, or more desolate? What can you do to make it less appealing to potential vandals?
  • Ensure it is well lit
  • Don't provide hiding places such as shrubs, and debris


  • Avoid high displays near windows
  • Lock up ladders and fire escapes
  • Ensure you don't have potential break in tools sitting around (rocks, bricks, shovels, etc)

8) Other Helpful Hints:

  • Greet or assist each customer as they come into the business. A potential thief doesn't want to be identified.
  • If a person seems to be loitering or looks out of place, ask them if they need assistance
  • Make note of these persons once they leave the store. Do they walk away or leave in vehicle? Write down the vehicle's plate and time of the incident. This will assist you later on.
  • Avoid routines in your pattern of work that may tip off a thief as to the best time to hit the business.shop18.JPG
  • Be suspicious of persons asking about your security or cash-handling practices.
  • Where possible, have deliveries made during evening or on weekends to promote increased activity around the business
  • Ensure that employees hide their personal items (i.e. purses) while they are at work. These items should not be left out where thieves will have access to them. It is best to lock them away in a drawer or cupboard.

In the event of a break and enter (or even just suspicious activity) alert the police. Leave the crime scene undisturbed until police arrive. Be prepared to provide information about the missing items. The police will need a clear description, value, and serial # for each item.

Try and determine what time the last employee would have left the business and when they discovered the break in. Walk around your business with police to try and identify a means of entry and anything you note that is out of the ordinary. If you do have surveillance video make sure to point this out to the officer and provide them with the pertinent tapes.

Police will also want to interview potential witnesses and other business owners in your area. If you have any potential leads (i.e. some one trying to sell your merchandise to another business, or suspicious people that have entered your business lately) be sure to pass this information on to the investigating officer.

Business Checklist