Easy To Follow Tips For Keeping Your Business And Property Safe
Though crime in the Montrose District is not as pervasive for commercial businesses as it once was, small business owners still need to take steps to protect themselves from criminal activity. Houston Police Department officer Victor Beserra, the Montrose Management District patrol coordinator, offers the following tips to keep businesses safe.
Clear Line Of Sight From The Business To The Street
Beserra cites “environmental design” as a defining factor in decreasing the risks businesses face from potential illegal activity. This means creating an environment unattractive to criminals, and that starts with a clear line of sight from a business’ cash register to the street outside. With large, clear windows that allow for street visibility from the inside and vice versa, patrols and passers-by can clearly make out transactions and potential threats, which makes it a poor target for malicious actors.
Bright And Consistent Lighting
For any business operating at night, there is no safety apparatus more important than good lighting. Beserra notes that 80-percent of crime occurs after dark, so all-night lighting around the parking area and the front of a retail store is more likely to keep the area free from vandalism and theft.
Appropriate Signs To Ward Off Trespassers
Every business should have a trespass affidavit and a sign that says no trespassing. That way, if a police officer receives a call that someone inappropriate is hanging out on a commercial property, the police officer has the right to walk up to that person and ask what they’re doing. This is especially important during off-business hours and at night. Including a business telephone number on a trespass affidavit allows police officers to call the owner and alert them, which can keep criminals from returning to the same property.
Working, visible cameras both prevent crime and aid in catching criminals after a crime is committed. Keeping the camera updated and operational means crucial evidence will be available should something happen, particularly after-hours. Thieves are less likely to target a business with clearly working cameras, which also makes cameras an effective prevention tool in the long-run.
Keep Tip Jars Secure
Coffee shops and fast-casual restaurants with tip jars on their counters unfortunately create a target for petty criminals. Thieves order and act as if they’re preparing to pay for something, then take off with the entire jar. One way to prevent this is to have the tip jar secured or bolted to the counter.
Cash Handling Policy
Every business must have a policy detailing how they deal with their money. The first step is keeping a drop safe that only managers can access. Beserra notes that sometimes businesses will leave money in a safe all week and make bank deposits at the same time on the same days, making patterns easy to spot for criminals or unsavory employees. He advises against using a bank bag for deposits, and says not to stop anywhere except the bank, as criminals start watching people to determine a pattern and may follow them, break into a car and get the money bag.