Crime prevention tips to your business!

September 09, 2021

September is crime prevention month for businesses. Alberta RCMP provides crime prevention tips to protect your business. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a set of principles around property design to deter criminal activity. The goal of CPTEDis to reduce the opportunities for crime to occur. These strategies help to make it undesirable or more difficult, leading criminals to choose other locations to commit crime.

When considering renovations or landscape changes, consider Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). As a set of design principles meant to reduce crime through the design of a physical environment. The purpose of CPTEDis to make your business less appealing to criminals. Awareness is an important part of crime prevention. Protecting Alberta’s rural communities is a collective responsibility. Together, with local RCMP detachments, we create strong awareness and a presence of the law to help reduce crime.

Business Security Checklist

Landscaping and architectural designs

  • Ensure shrubs and trees don't create blind spots or hiding places.
  • Trim bushes and hedges to a maximum height of three feet.
  • Use walkways and landscaping to direct visitors to the proper entrance and away from private areas.
  • Sidewalks, parking lots, doorways and all areas of the property should be well lit.
  • Remove objects that may provide informal seating for loiterers.
  • Recessed doorways can provide cover for criminal behaviour or loitering. Change these to be flush with the walls, or install gates.
  • Prevent easy access to the roof or fire escapes from the ground.

Controlling access to your business

  • Locate your cash register at the front of the store, near the door, where its visible from outside.
  • Ensure public paths are clearly marked.
  • Use signs to direct customers to parking and business entrances.
  • Only provide rear access to your business from rear parking lots.

Light up at night

  • Light up all entrances, including alleys, with vandal-proof fixtures.
  • Leave some lights on inside your premises; white metal abide lights should be used.

Natural surveillance

  • Maintain clear visibility from the store to the street and sidewalk or parking areas.
  • Window signs should cover no more than 15 percent of windows. Keep shelves and displays five feet high or less, especially in front of windows, for visibility.
  • Keep weeds, shrubbery, and debris away from your doors and windows. Don't provide thieves with places to hide, or climbing platforms
  • Monitor all entrances through visual or electronic surveillance.

Commercial storefronts

  • Use cash drop safes during lower traffic hours.
  • Avoid having a single employee make after-hours bank deposits.
  • Install and monitor video cameras, but hide VCRs (supply a decoy).
  • Provide employees with safety training.
  • Securely lock rear entrances.
  • Use secure doors and frames.
  • Put 180-degree door viewers in rear security doors.

Management tips

  • Your business hours should be the same as those of neighbouring businesses.
  • Night-time employees should have access to safe, visible parking located close to the entrance.
  • Put a cash limit, such as $50, in place. Train employees to check regularly for cash over the limit and to place it in a drop safe that they can't open. Then post a sign that the maximum amount of cash in the register is $50.
  • If it isn't possible to have a safe, don't place large bills under the cash register – find a safe alternate hiding place.
  • Try to have two staff on hand at opening and closing times as these are attractive times for robbers.
  • Train employees to be alert for suspicious persons and call the RCMP or store security if they notice suspicious activity. Parked cars and telephone booths are common outdoor observation spots.
  • Watch for customers who seem to be loitering or glancing around the store while shopping or browsing a magazine, or who seem nervous or rushed.
  • Check all doors and windows at closing time.
  • Keep side or back doors locked at all times and have employees use the main entrance.
  • Work with other businesses in the area to promote shopper and business safety and address special security issues.

Other security options

  • Install a monitored alarm system and post a conspicuous notice that you have one.
  • Install video cameras and post signs advising that the area is under video surveillance.
  • Place height markers at the main entrance so employees can use them to gauge the height of a robber as he/she leaves your business. Place strips of differently coloured tape at the 5 feet, 5 feet 6 inches, and 6 feet heights.

Awareness is an important part of crime prevention. Protecting Alberta’s rural communities is a collective responsibility. Together, with local RCMP detachments, we create a strong awareness and presence of the law and help reduce crime. Learning how to protect your property is your best defense against crime. Reporting crime also remains of utmost importance to help police find the perpetrators. Albertans can count on the RCMP to continue to be fully committed to the safety and security of our province during the pandemic.


Friendly Reminders

Report crime online!

The RCMP are encouraging all Albertans to report eligible crimes online (select property crimes under $5,000). Reporting less serious crimes online helps emergency dispatch and frontline members focus their time on high-priority calls. It provides a convenient way to share photos to the RCMP as well. These reports assist in crime analysis, aid in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way.  

Help reduce crime, report online! #ReportSmart

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