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The Ten Best Kept Secrets For Protecting Your Business Property Against Theft

1. Locks and Padlocks ? Locks on all outside entrances and inside security doors should be double cylinder deadbolts with removable collars. The deadbolt should have at least one inch throw containing a hardened steel insert and protected by a latch guard. Padlocks should be of hardened steel, mounted on bolted hasps and always locked to prevent exchange. Serial numbers should be filed off to prevent new keys from being made.

2. Doors ? all outside and/or security doors should be of solid construction, metal lined and secured with heavy metal crossbars. Jams around doors must be solid. All exposed hinges should be pinned to prevent removal.

3. Windows ? should have secure locks. Burglar-resistant glass treatments are also recommended. An example would be the installation of polyester security film. However, this must be used together with the alarm's glass break sensor. Heavy metal grates may be used on windows of high vulnerability (such as rear windows). Check with your area Fire Code Inspector for safety requirements.

4. Lights ? must provide optimum visibility, both inside and out, with outside lights having vandal-proof covers over the lights and power sources. Your entire perimeter must be well lit, especially around doors and other possible entries.

5. Alarm System ? should be supplied and installed by a licensed alarm company with a central monitoring station. Check the alarm system on a daily basis, and advertise its presence to deter break-ins with the company's sticker or yard sign.

6. Cash Register ? should be kept in plain view from outside the building so it can be easily monitored and should be left open when empty and not in use.

7. Safe ? should be fire proof, burglar resistant, anchored securely and in plain view. Leave it open when it is empty, and use it to lock up valuables when business is closed. Change the combination whenever someone with access is released from your employment.

8. Building Exterior ? should be checked including the roof, basement, and walls. Secure all openings. Maintain good visibility by not allowing landscaping, boxes, trash bins, vehicles, or equipment near your building where they might provide concealment or access to the roof.

9. Perimeter Fences ? need to be adequate enough to keep intruders out, and at the same time allow good visibility of your business by neighbors and police. A good example of fencing would be vertical iron bar or 1/8 inch mesh vinyl coated chain link.

10. Key Control and ID Numbers ? keys should be handed out in responsible manner. A master key system where one key open all locks may be convenient, but it may not be the best for security. Code all keys, keep them securely locked when not in use, and do not allow employees to leave them lying around or make duplicates. Change locks whenever you suspect key security has been jeopardized. Marking equipment with ID numbers should be displayed to make this plainly evident to would-be thieves. Also, keeping a record of serial numbers on all equipment may help in recovery.

There's no one 'quick fix' for deterring thieves, but if certain precautions are taken, business owners will sleep soundly knowing they done what they can do 'show the love' for their property.

Michelle Annese is a 3rd degree black belt with 15+ years experience teaching industry specific self defense and safety for women and children. She is author of The Realtor Survival Guide, Protection for Women, and The SafeGuard System for Kids. For more information on how to protect yourself and your family go to Check out other articles by Ms. Annese and get her free safety tips e-newsletter.

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