Picture this: You arrive at work at 7 a.m. and can immediately sense that something isn’t quite right. Walking around back, you see a discarded brick lying outside a shattered window of your business. Merchandise stripped from the shelves and vital equipment now missing from the desks, you wonder, “What happened? What now?”

A burglary is one of the greatest fears of any business owner. It can jeopardize your livelihood, make you feel personally violated and may even risk injury or loss of life. Not only is your business the source of your income, but it’s also that of your employees. It is emotional and incredibly personal to experience a burglary, but business owners and employees, along with law enforcement, must respond to the crime quickly and carefully.

Beyond the emotions, the business itself can also be at risk – about 30 percent of small businesses fail because of crime[1] – and prompt action can limit that risk. You and your employees value your business. Together you can take steps to help safeguard it for the future and to help law enforcement after an incident occurs.

Immediate Actions

After an event occurs, its essential to contact your local authorities and to act quickly and carefully to help maintain control of the situation. Start with these steps.

Notify police immediately. Speak clearly and calmly to communicate effectively. Be ready to give your name, location and a brief description of the situation. Answer questions and stay on the line as long as needed.

Try to preserve any potential evidence. Remember that physical evidence, including fingerprints and other traces, can be all around you. Protect the scene of the crime and do not touch anything the robber might have touched.

Check your security system. Provide law enforcement with the time your alarm sounded, camera footage (if available) and other pertinent information. This knowledge can be critical for identifying the perpetrator and in protecting your building in the future. Also ask any witnesses, whether or not they are staff, to immediately write down what they saw.

Think about any suspicious activity.  Try to recall any suspicious activity in the recent past. Think about any visitors, vehicles or other activity that sticks out in your mind. Ask nearby businesses to do the same. This information might prove useful to investigators.

Take a top-to-bottom inventory and complete a full audit of assets. A thorough inventory and audit will clearly show what items, equipment, documents or other assets might have been stolen. Document everything fully to help law enforcement and to accurately respond to insurance inquiries. Also look for damage or vandalism to facilities or equipment. Use a camera, if necessary, to document damage.

Notify your insurance company. The company will likely ask for a preliminary account of the crime, request a summary of the damages and losses, and ask to schedule a visit to your business. Every crime is distinct and every business is unique, so be sure to work closely with law enforcement, your security system provider and other professionals.

Secure Your Business for the Future

After the immediate steps, carefully consider taking further action to secure your business, employees and customers from another crime. Businesses can take relatively simple and inexpensive measures to avert crime and safeguard their buildings. A qualified security consultant can review gaps in current protection to help prevent future incidents.

Technologies such as alarm systems with mobile management, video surveillance systems with remote look-in, or holdup and panic alerts can offer significant protection. Businesses without alarm systems are more than four times more likely to be burglarized than those with a system.[2] These solutions are relatively simple measures that can be incredibly effective for the long-term security of your business.

Schedule a free business security consultation today to learn how you can protect yourself, your business, your employees and your customers. There is no cost or obligation – just the peace of mind that comes with working with Tyco Integrated Security, a company of 10,000 professionals dedicated to providing local security support to your business and community.

[1]US Chamber of Commerce, 1995
[2]University of North Carolina, Charlotte, study on the habits and motivations of burglars, 2013

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