We look after a number of customers in country towns which have experienced a big increase in break-ins. Aside from installing security systems, what measures can retailers take to reduce their attractiveness as a target for opportunistic burglars?

A: Loss prevention experts highlight 3 primary steps that should be taken in order to prevent burglaries from occurring. These include firstly hardening the target; secondly, creating a time delay; thirdly, reducing the value of the assets under threat. The idea is to make the site tough to get into, with capable perimeter security, including door and window locks, gates, bars and grills.

In retail facilities a time delay can be built into a site’s security with the installation of time delay safes – in other facilities time delay can be built into a facility by target hardening internal doors and by taking the detection system out of the buildings to meet the threat. This practise will buy response teams time.

Every intruder, depending on his or her level of experience and personality will have a set time frame within which they’d expect a job to be carried out. If they’re unable to make a successful entry within their comfort zone, frustration and fear will set in, increasing the likelihood the intruder will leave the scene.

A detection system that picks up intruders before they approach a building is a powerful deterrent. To have the site go into alarm – this could include the playing of an audible warning message – before a point of entry is chosen and escape routes figured out would challenge an experienced burglar. Use of light or in extreme circumstances moving the business to a less vulnerable location – opposite the local police station – would also help.

Reducing the value of assets is another excellent deterrent to burglary. Not only will this significantly reduce the attractiveness of the site, if intrusion is successful, retailers will have a lot less to lose.