Preventing Burglary

Protecting your office and equipment as well as your employees' property from vandals and thieves should be an important part of your safety program. There are a many ways to safeguard your business, including the use of locks, key control, lighting, and alarm systems.

Locks. Use of dead bolt locks, where appropriate, and the use of double cylinder dead locks, requiring that a key be used to open the door from either side, can go a long way in discouraging burglary of tempting theft targets. Additionally, you can get some discounts from your insurer when you are adequately locked-up. But locks don't help if you don't remember to use them. Be sure all doors and windows have locks and that those locks are sturdy and, above all, used. Get into the habit of checking all the doors and windows before you lock up and leave for the night. Don't assume that because a door was locked yesterday and because you didn't see anyone use the door it is still locked. Be safe rather than sorry.

Key control. After proper locks are installed, key control is also essential to making sure that the property remains secure. To make sure keys don't fall into the wrong hands:

  • Issue as few keys as possible.
  • Establish specific rules regarding the "loaning-out" of keys by those to whom they are issued.
  • Take a periodic inventory of keys.
  • Get keys that say "do not duplicate."
  • Control who can make duplicate keys.

Remember, too, that locks aren't just for doors. There are window locks, desk locks, file cabinet locks, and even computer hard drive locks. Make sure you have keys and key control for all of them.

Good lighting. Lighting, both indoor and outdoor, can be of great assistance in burglary prevention. Darkness hides burglars and makes their work easy. If you are trying to decide whether to light an area, compare the expense of lighting the area with what you'll lose if you are vandalized.


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Consider timers that turn lights on at certain intervals to keep thieves guessing as to whether or not anyone is in your place of business.

You may also want to have motion-sensitive lighting installed near doors and windows. It serves a dual purpose; when thieves approach your building, lights may surprise and deter them, and when you or your employees approach in the dark, it lights your way and makes your entry safer.

Alarms. Burglar alarms, either silent or with a siren or bell, should also be used as part of any burglary prevention program. In deciding which type of system is best for your business, decide first whether you want to catch the intruder inside or outside your premises.

Since there are several types of alarm systems on the market today, do your homework before buying a system and evaluate several systems' benefits and drawbacks.