Business Security

How To Protect Your Investment:

Light Up at Night

  • Light up all entrances, including alleys, with vandal-proof fixtures.
  • Leave some lights on inside your premises.
  • If the door is wholly or partially made of glass, the doorway should be lit up inside and outside.

Clean Up

  • Avoid high displays near windows that could keep a passer-by from seeing in.
  • Keep all weeds, shrubbery and debris away from windows and doors. Don’t provide concealment or climbing platforms for a burglar.
  • Lock up ladders and all tools that could invite a break-in or make a burglar’s job easier.


  • Install an alarm system. Deal with a reputable alarm company and obtain estimates from several companies.
  • Check your alarm system regularly for failure and investigate reasons for false alarms on your premises. Take action to prevent further false alarms.
  • Do not rely on your alarm system as your only means of security. They are most effective when used in conjunction with other basic security measures.
  • Post a conspicuous notice that shows you have an alarm system.

Be Safe

  • Keep cash to a minimum with frequent, irregular bank deposits.
  • Don’t expect a “fire safe” to do the job of a “burglar-resistant” safe.
  • Anchor your safe to the floor in a well-lit, highly visible location.
  • Leave empty cash drawers open after hours to prevent damage.
  • Keep an accurate inventory of all valuables.

Lock Up

  • Install deadbolt locks on all outside doors. Check all doors and windows routinely at closing time.
  • Make sure padlocks are solidly mounted and never left open…even on an open door. Unlocked padlocks can be removed and replaced by a would-be burglar, enabling easy access at a later time.
  • Check door and window frames for looseness or rotting. Repair them immediately.
  • Practise good key security. Sign out all keys and collect them when employees leave your company.
  • Never label keys indicting what they are for… use a code.
  • Reinforce rear and side doors with crossbars, and install grating or bars on rear and side windows.
  • Don’t neglect roof openings, air ducts, skylights, hatchways, doorway transoms, sidewalk and basement openings.
  • Don’t lock a burglar inside when you leave. Inspect all closets, bathrooms and other hiding places.

Be Clever

  • Lock small valuables in cabinets and showcases.
  • Install glass that is burglar-resistant.
  • If you discover a break-in, call the police at once.
  • Don’t disturb evidence of a break-in.

Loss Prevention

Company losses or shrinkage are due to three primary causes: internal theft, shoplifting or paper errors. The incidence of theft can be reduced if temptation and opportunity is reduced.


  • Be observant! Watch and tend to customers in a pleasant, courteous and interested manner.
  • Greet and serve customers promptly. Shoplifters do not want your attention.
  • If you suspect someone has stolen something, call the manager or security. Watch them, engage them in conversation and offer to assist them.
  • Shoplifters come in all shapes and sizes. Be aware of people wearing loose, baggy clothing, those carrying shopping bags or large handbags, or customers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Do not allow your attention to be diverted by someone who may be a shoplifter’s accomplice. Stay alert and avoid unnecessary conversation.
  • Keep displays neat and tidy. Constant attention to stock allows for sales staff to become familiar with merchandise. Place small or valuable merchandise in display cabinets.
  • Sales personnel should have a full view of the entire sales floor area. Rearrange displays, shelving and lighting to eliminate blind spots.

Armed Robbery


A total security program is the best way to prevent armed robbery. The stronger the security image, the less likely the robber is to select your business as a target.

  • Good visibility, inside and out, allows employees to keep an eye on suspicious persons and increases the possibility that someone outside will see if a robbery does occur.
  • Advertise a cash control policy. Adopt a cash limit and deposit excess in a safe.
  • Vary your banking routine and camouflage your cash in an unsuspecting manner.
  • Surveillance cameras are a good deterrent and provide valuable evidence of robberies.
  • Proper interior and exterior light is necessary, and the installation of adequate locks on all doors is a must.
  • Record the serial numbers of bait money. In the event of a robbery, be sure to give the robber this money.


Even with a strong security program, there is always the chance that a robbery may occur. Robbery is a potentially explosive situation. Yet, most robberies take only two or three minutes . It is imperative that all employees be taught how to handle those few minutes in a manner that will help ensure safety.

  • Don’t argue. The robber may be more frightened than you.
  • Do exactly as he asks, and be as polite and accommodating as possible.
  • Do not make any sudden moves.
  • Memorize the robber’s description in detail. Write everything down as soon as possible without jeopardizing your safety.
  • Try to get a description of the robber’s car and write down the licence number .
  • Set off the hold-up alarm, only if you can do so safely and without any obvious movements.
  • Don’t touch the hold-up note or anything else the robber might have touched. Protect the areas for police examination. Lock the doors immediately after the robber has left.

TAKE NOTE: If you are the victim of a crime, take note of everything you can to help police identify the suspect. DON’T compare notes with other witnesses. It’s easy to become confused.


The “Open Door” Policy

Small businesses are targets in more than half of the commercial burglaries committed in Alberta. Many of these burglaries occur because someone leaves an “open door” for the thief. Crimes against businesses are usually crimes of opportunity. When you make it easy for someone to steal from you, chances are, someone will. Don’t make it easy. Make it risky and unrewarding.

If you’re not doing everything you can to make it hard for a thief to get in… if you’re not increasing the likelihood that he’ll get caught if he does get in… or if you’re making your business too tempting a target you might as well be the thief’s accomplice.

Are you a potential accomplice? Here’s how to find out: Stop by your business at night, when it’s closed. Look at it through a burglar’s eyes. Are there shadows or boxes that would conceal your entry? Is there merchandise in the display window that is easy to steal? Is there evidence of an alarm? Are there hinges on the outside of the door? Are the windows or skylight secure?

Credit Card Fraud


Police, prosecutors, courts, credit card companies, credit card holders and merchants and their employees have the greatest opportunity to catch the plastic criminal, because it is at this stage of the crime that the criminal is seen. The following is a list of things that merchants and employees can do.

  1. Be wary of nervous, in-a-hurry shoppers. Stealing can be hard on the nerves and can make a person fidget, perspire and try to get the job done quickly.
  2. Take a hard look at the customer who buys clothing but doesn’t wait for alterations. Most of us want our new clothes to fit properly, but a person who is going to steal and resell clothing doesn’t care how it fits. Also, be suspicious of someone who buys several sizes of an item.
  3. Another clue – the plastic criminal will often produce the credit card from a pocket, rather than a wallet or purse.
  4. Be wary of someone who buys a variety of items – especially if he doesn’t seem concerned about prices. He may be stocking up for resale.
  5. Be suspicious if a customer seems interested in the “floor limit” in the store. It is common knowledge that a salesman can allow a credit card sale up to a certain amount without calling for authorization. The floor limits often vary and the criminal may enquire about the amount before making a purchase.
  6. Be wary of the customer who asks you to “split-bill” for items purchased over floor limit, (i.e. two or more sales drafts to cover one transaction).

How Merchants and Employees Can Make Credit Card Transactions Safer

  1. Examine the credit card closely – look for alterations, check the expiry date, compare the signature on invoices with the signature on the credit card.
  2. Check the presented card with recent lists of stolen and invalid credit card numbers.
  3. Always ask for identification. Most driver’s licences include physical description with the customer’s appearance.
  4. Always fill out invoices or sales drafts completely and have the customer sign them. Keep possession of the credit card until you have completed your enquiries.
  5. If the card is invalid or stolen, or if you have any doubts, call for authorization and remember to take both the card and sales draft with you. If a customer runs away, you will still have the card.
  6. If a customer flees, jot down his full description including age, height, weight, hair color, type of clothing, etc. Try to determine if he was alone or had an accomplice. Look to see in which direction he fled. Get a description of any vehicle he may have used and record the licence number. Call the police immediately.
  7. Employers – train your staff to spot credit card frauds. Teach them the correct procedures, and ensure they are following instructions. If you require assistance in employee training, call credit card investigators at your local police department.

Cheque Checklist

Fraudulent cheque writing has become a profitable way of life for many criminals. Poor cheque cashing policies and personal carelessness increase the risk of loss.


  • at least two types of identification, i.e. driver’s licence and major credit card – READ the information on the identification; COMPARE the personal identification to the person; RECORD the information on the back of the cheque.
  • the client’s signature against that on the identification (signature MUST be witnessed by yourself).
  • with the bank on which the cheque was drawn.
  • DO limit cheque authorization to designated employees.
  • DO deposit all cheques promptly.
  • DON’T accept postdated cheques or cheques that are more than a month old.
  • DON’T let the client hurry you into accepting his cheque.
  • DON’T accept the cheque if in doubt.


  • of cheques presented on a holiday eve or weekend;
  • of cashing youngsters’ cheques. Young people may not be legally responsible.
  • of anyone who presents a cheque larger than required for the transaction and wants the change in cash;
  • of second party and payroll cheques;
  • of a cheque that shows signs of change.


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