Guide to Business Crime: What to Do After a Break-In

To succeed in business, you must think several steps ahead. You may consider a few obstacles, like raising money or hiring employees. Business crime is another obstacle that should be on your radar. The rate of employee theft nearly doubled from 2018 to 2019. Shoplifting also spiked, resulting in billions of dollars in losses. You must prepare against crime, including violent break-ins.

What should your first steps be after a break-in? How should you reach out to your employees? What can you do to keep another burglary from happening again? Answer these questions and you can keep your business secure for years to come. Here is your quick guide.


Keep Yourself Safe

A business burglary can occur at any moment. A business break-in is most likely to happen when your business property is unoccupied, usually at night. But one can happen while you are inside.

If you are in your business during a break-in, focus on your safety. Evacuate the building by whatever means you can. You may need to leave through a window, fire escape, or emergency exit.

If you can’t evacuate, lock or barricade the doors leading into your room. Get down close to the ground and move away from the entrances. Hide behind a sturdy object or inside of a closet. Do not leave your safe location to confront the burglar. Do not shout at them. Making noises could cause them to panic and harm you.

Attack the burglar if they threaten or attack you. Strike sensitive areas like their eyes and groin with blunt objects. Refrain from using firearms or knives unless the burglar threatens you with deadly force.

Respond Right Away

Call the police as soon as possible. If a burglar is near you, communicate with the dispatcher through text messages. Ask for an ambulance if anyone was injured, even if the injury seems minor.

Most burglars flee when they hear someone is contacting the police. Once they are gone, start taking photos and videos of the crime scene. Do not touch anything that the burglar touched. When the police arrive, tell them everything that happened. Give any details you can provide of the burglar, especially physical ones. Hand over your photographs and videos.

Make an inventory of everything that was stolen or broken. Be thorough with your notes. Jot down a physical description of the items and where they were. Call your business insurance company as soon as possible. Give them all the information about what was stolen and destroyed.

You should also contact your bank. The burglar may have stolen documents, including those of your clients. Check that your funds are secure and change your passwords. Touch base with your clients when you are ready. Tell them that a break-in occurred and that you are taking steps to address it.

You do not have to contact the press unless you want to. You can ask your communications officer to speak on your behalf, but keep their remarks limited. Don’t say anything that can jeopardize your safety or the police investigation.

Follow all of the instructions of the police. They may ask you to leave so they can conduct their own investigation. This is a standard procedure and you should cooperate.

Talk Things Through

A non-violent burglary can be a very traumatic event, even if no one got hurt. You and your employees may feel shaken or disrupted. The only way to resolve these feelings is to acknowledge them.

Close the store for the day and ask your employees to head home. If the damage was extensive, you should keep your business closed for several days. Tell everyone in your business how long you plan on keeping things shut.

Provide the contact information of therapists and psychiatrists. Encourage your employees to talk to someone, including over the phone. When you open for business again, convene an all-hands meeting. Give people the chance to speak and talk about their concerns. Many of them may not feel safe or will want to know about what steps you will take in the future.

Follow up with people as the days go on. Everyone responds to stress differently, so have many different resources on hand. Talk to people one-on-one and address their personal concerns.

As the trial for the burglar approaches, troubling thoughts and feelings may surface. Give yourself room to think and be with yourself. Touch base with your employees and make sure they are doing okay.

Make Improvements

On the simplest level, you should repair anything that’s been broken. Hire a storefront glass repair service and swap up shattered windows for new ones. Get new furniture and order replacements for damaged goods that you sell.

Carry out a security audit. Talk to the police and get a good understanding of how the break-in occurred. This includes how the burglar moved through the building and gained access to your belongings.

Make improvements for every step. Keep a burglar from entering by installing a security system. Make it harder for someone to trespass deep into your business by placing locks on your doors.

Buy safes and lockers and put your valuables in them. Make sure that everyone knows the codes for them. Run safety drills, encouraging your employees to leave the building if something happens. Talk to neighboring businesses about what you can all do to stay safe.

Perform a security audit every year or so. Make security protocols a significant part of employee orientation, and field their suggestions on what you should do differently.

Stop Business Crime Today

You don’t have to let business crime derail your business. When a break-in happens, prioritize safety. Evacuate the building or hide in a room. Call the cops, your property insurance company, and your bank as soon as possible. Do an inventory of everything damaged or stolen.

Make sure your employees are doing fine. Give them time off and have them talk to mental health professionals. Learn from the break-in. Perform a security audit and make a burglary impossible to carry out. Keep up with the latest security news. Follow our coverage for more crime and business guides.

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