Whether you’re shutting up shop for several weeks, or just a few days, businesses need to plan carefully before leaving their premises empty over the break. Opportunistic thieves understand all too well that this is a time when many small practices are deserted and, rightly or wrongly, some will assume that smaller firms have less sophisticated security systems in place.
To avoid your business falling prey to the less festive among us, start thinking now about how you’ll secure your premises to make it less of a target for thieves. ADT Security’s Darryn Bull shares the following tips, and a suggested timeline, to help plan for a stress-free Christmas break.
Two months before Christmas:
Install a professionally monitored security system
If you don’t already have a security system in place then you need to start thinking about this now, especially if you want one that’s professionally installed and monitored. ADT Security can arrange for an expert to visit your premises to assess the layout and discuss your business requirements before tailoring a system that best suits your needs and budget. They will recommend the optimal number of motion sensors and where these should be positioned, before coordinating the installation by a trained technician.
The added benefit of using a professional service provider, rather than a DIY system, is that your alarm is monitored by a back-to-base centre that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – even over the Christmas and New Year period. In the event the alarm is triggered, the monitoring centre will contact you or your nominated representative immediately. What’s more, if required, they can send a patrol car to your business location to assess the situation further.
One month before Christmas:
Check all doors, locks, sensor lights and smoke alarms are working
This is the time to check that all your doors, gates, sensor lights and locks are working correctly so that if you need to get them replaced, you’ve got plenty of time before the business closes. Also make sure your smoke alarms are operating and consider integrating them into your security system so they can be monitored by the ADT back-to-base centre and send you alerts if fire or smoke is detected while you’re not there.
Upgrade your security system
If you already have a security system in place you may want to consider upgrading it to ensure you’re benefitting from the latest technology. This could include expanding to an ADT Integrated Security System, which allows you to seamlessly control the alarm system and connected appliances or lights remotely from your phone using our intuitive mobile app. This is invaluable when you’re away as you can turn lights on and off to give the appearance your premises are occupied, in addition to arming and disarming the alarm system as needed. If you have security cameras installed, you can also use our app to view a real time feed of the office and see for yourself that everything’s okay.
One week before Christmas
Protect cash and valuables
If possible, remove any cash and valuables from the premises or, at the very least, make sure valuables are not on display through ground floor windows and entryways. Some businesses like to have a sign displayed during shutdown periods, highlighting that no cash is left on site and that CCTV surveillance is in place. Maintaining well-lit premises through a combination of sensor lights around the perimeter, and automated lighting inside, are further powerful deterrents, particularly to vandals and opportunistic thieves. Importantly, if you’re going to be away for an extended break, don’t highlight this to passers-by. Always try to give the impression that staff may still be inside even though the office is closed to the general public.
Contact your security provider
It’s a good idea at this stage to contact your security provider, making sure they have current emergency contact information. Your usual contact may be going away, so remember to nominate someone who the monitoring centre will be able to reach easily and instantly in the event of an emergency.
Make a final checklist
It may be helpful in this last week to create a checklist of everything that needs to be done on the final day before the business closes. Determine who will be the last person to leave the premises that day (ideally a senior staff member) and ensure they understand the correct procedure, including locking up doors and windows and turning off unnecessary services. Ask them to do a final check of the perimeter and arm the alarm.
If you’re well prepared and start planning for the Christmas season early, you’ll be able to enjoy your hard earned break, safe in the knowledge that your office is secure and you’ve done all you can to prevent it from being a target for thieves.