How to reduce the risk of a break-in for your retail premises

In 2018, the total cost of crime (and crime prevention) for retailers was £1.9 billion last year, up 12% from the previous year (£1.7bn). This was made up of £900 million, as a direct cost from retail crime and £1 billion spent in efforts to prevent crime. This is why Retail Security is at its highest demand! For large chains, in particular, protecting numerous retail premises from all crimes is no easy feat, but it pays to protect your building’s staff and assets.

Retail Security has been in one of the most uncertain times in recent history… but security measures are ramping up. One of the most common issues retailers face is a break-in. Organised retail crime (ORC) can have a crippling effect on profit margins; however, to defend a business against burglary effectively, it’s critical to understand the different approaches criminals take.


“Smash and grab” break-ins

The “smash and grab” method is the most common. Burglars may use paving slabs or scaffolding poles to shatter the windows, in a bid to grab high-value stock on the shop floor quickly, or the products in the window. The damage caused in such incidents can be costly.


The opportunistic approach

Though many burglaries are indeed planned, many burglars act on instinct alone, seeing an opportunity and seizing it by entering through vulnerable points, such as insecure doors, windows and roof lights. Usually, they take very little in terms of stock, targeting smaller shops and those that do not carry high-value inventory.



These break-ins will often “run like clockwork” with burglars overcoming alarm systems, such as filling alarm bells with foam, breaking floodlights, cutting wires and spray-painting CCTV cameras. In some situations, burglars avoid the alarm system either as a result of careful observation or through inside information that details the vulnerable points. With alarms disabled, criminals buy themselves more time to carry out the burglary, allowing them to target high-value stock and at times, the safe — which can at times be removed entirely.

What can you do about it?

Frustrate burglars by slowing them down

No burglar wants to be at risk of being caught, so if you’re able to introduce layers of physical protection, you can deter most burglars or at least slow them down. With security shutters, secure doors and windows, CCTV, alarms and security guards, you not only ensure that crucial deterrents are firmly in position, but you can also provide a highly professional, experienced and competent individual is on hand to deal with all kinds of incidents.


Protect your stock and cash

We know just how tempting it is for retailers to display high-value stock in window displays. You can pique the interest of those passing by, perhaps meaning they return the next day to make a purchase. That said, the safest place for high value (and easily grabbable) goods such as jewellery and electronics is by removing them from display windows at night, perhaps locking them in a safe room away from view. Companies also choose to leave tills open but empty, in an attempt to show opportunist burglars that there is no cash kept in the tills overnight.


Strengthen entrances with manned guarding

Manned guarding provides a strong visual deterrent to opportunist thieves, yet this solution also reassures staff and ensures any suspicious activity is dealt with swiftly.

From fire safety to first aid and emergency planning, manned guards help to keep your stock, staff and customers safe. In most cases, manned guards position themselves at the entrance of a store; however, they may also patrol a particular area, keeping close tabs on suspicious behaviour, whilst they can be aided by remote CCTV monitoring, to increase visibility across all areas of the store.


Lighting has long been a significant deterrent

If you install lights that are activated when an individual is approaching your store, you immediately add another layer of protection, especially if passers-by overlook your shop. Put simply, increased lighting improves the chances of an intruder being noticed, giving you a heightened sense of safety and overall peace of mind.


Spare a thought for escape routes

It’s natural to focus your efforts on protecting the entrance to your property but locking escape routes is another means of slowing down the burglar. This is why it’s crucial to lock all windows and doors, before shutting off the power supply for your shutters, making it as difficult as possible for burglars to escape.


Control vehicle access

Vehicles provide burglars with the ability to escape quickly. The surge in moped crime throughout London highlights just how easy it can be to steal in public view, however, if a burglar is unable to bring a vehicle close to your premises because access is barred, you immediately make your retail store a less attractive proposition to burglars.


Start with a burglary risk assessment

Every shop is unique with characteristic vulnerabilities, and we would always recommend you (or the security company you choose) complete a detailed burglary risk assessment of your building — leaving no stone unturned. You can then begin to hone in on the right set of protective measures that can secure your stock, reduce shrinkage and protect your employees and customers.


How can Intraguard help you?

We understand the world of organised crime, with decades of experiences protecting brands operating in the retail sector. Our SIA approved guards are trained to the highest standards, and we will only select guards who we know will be an excellent fit for your store, meeting your every need. Our management team has over a decade of experience delivering solutions across various disciplines. We’re able to ensure supermarkets, shopping centres and retail outlets of all sizes prevent loss and increase profit with dependable, genuine and talented staff.

If you’d like to learn more about our retail security services and how we can help you, please call us on 0207 183 5016 or send us a message and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.