You might not be able to stop an attack but you can slow or foil it.
When a criminal decides to attack your shop, there is little you can do to stop them. You can, however, slow them down or prevent them from gaining entry all together. Read on for our 10 ways to barricade your shop against crime.
- RAM IT HOME – Place concrete bollards outside the front of the shop and have steel-enforced concrete structures built into the lower half of the window to protect the store against would-be robbers using vehicles to ram raid the building.
- GLASS IT IN – Smash-and-grab robberies have been in vogue in the criminal community over the past year so slow them down with anti-bandit glass – glass reinforced with a plastic substance called polyvinyl butyrate in varying thicknesses. A good tip is that the lowest thickness of security glass, at 7.5mm, is far stronger than a thicker grade of safety glass as it has less plastic interlayer.
- CRYSTAL-CLEAR CCTV – Positioning is everything. Good CCTV can help police catch criminals but only if they get a clear picture of the robber’s face. Install a digital CCTV system (avoid video tapes that are often written over) that records in real time at 25 frames per second. Position at least one camera at the door facing into the shop to capture all the action. Don’t forget to clean the lens regularly for a clear picture.
- ? FIGHT BACK WITH FOG –After staff safety, protection of property is a major concern for jewellers. When it comes to stopping an attack in full flow and getting the assailant out of the shop empty handed nothing is more effective than fog systems. Bandit UK works with jewellers in the UK and sales manager Neil Chrismas claims that its fog deployment systems have helped to foil nine robberies in the past year. The system works by directing a flow of smoke at the robber to drive him or her out of the shop. Rather than dump smoke into the whole shop Chrismas says that the delivery machines are very precise and flood only the front area of the shop where the robber is likely to be standing. Once this has been set off staff can retreat into the back of the shop in safety. Police have criticised fog systems as being dangerous for officers, but Chrismas counters that as the systems’ primary operative is to push the criminal out into the street, in theory police should never need to enter. The systems are even connected to a buzzer on the door to make sure that once the fog has been deployed the door will open automatically so that the robber will find their way out easily. Retailers who have had the unfortunate need to use fog systems, such as RL Austen Jewellers in Chichester have reported positive feedback. “We had four armed robbers who attacked the window from inside with axes and sledgehammers and two of the girls hit the buttons and they were of,” remembers owner Mandy Sargeant.
- GET SMARTWATER – This won’t slow the progress of any robbers but it could help police to identify them. SmartWater’s system releases a fluorescent water-based solution into the air that will land on intruders and remain on clothing and hair for weeks. Each liquid has a DNA-style code embedded into it so that it can be traced.
- ACE IT WITH AIRLOCK – This is a standard trick, but installing a double door system, with the second door only opening once the first has locked, will allow you to effectively control who comes in and out of the shop so you will never be in danger of someone bursting in.
- ’IT’S OK TO EAVESDROP – Most jewellers don’t have the manpower to employ full-time behind-the-scenes security personnel, so often screens linking to CCTV go unwatched. Audio monitoring offers an alternative. It allows staff in different areas to hear what is happening all over the shop and listen for problems.
- YOUR OWN PRIVATE ARMY – Alarms can often be set off by non-threatening things like a leaflet falling off a shelf or a rogue rodent, and police are not always wiling to answer alarm calls. You can of course handle this yourself by personally getting up in the night to respond to it or you can hire a private security firm – something that is not as expensive as you might think. They can send a guard down to check out the premises when the alarm is sounded. If it is a false alarm they will check out the shop to make sure all is well then reset the alarm. If there is a problem they will contact the police, who they are likely to have a good working relationship with and who will take a call from a professional firm with more urgency.
- SERIOUS SHUTTERS – For maximum overnight protection there is nothing better than a heavy shutter to keep out any unwanted visitors. Solid steel or aluminium shutters are best; the heavier the better. You can install manual roll-down shutters but for a swift exit, and so smoother security processes, electric shutters operated with a key are preferable.
- LOCK THE BACK OF THE WINDOW DISPLAY – While many jewellers will invest in forward facing security measures such as shutters and anti-bandit glass, the back of the window displays are often left barely protected with weak locks and standard glass. Although this is likely to be an area that staff will need quick access to during the day for sales purposes, in the name of security this access point should be as well protected as the front, otherwise thieves can just slip inside the shop during trading hours, smash the glass.