Burglary is the most prevalent crime in the country, accounting for 23.8% of the annual estimated number of property crimes committed. According to the FBI, this translates into a burglary occurring roughly every 14.6 seconds. This has resulted in $4.6 billion in lost property nationally, a $2,119 average dollar loss per burglary offense. These numbers are staggering and that’s why it is imperative for businesses to take the appropriate measures to prevent burglary in the workplace.

The Five Principal Methods of Risk Management

Risk management involves identifying possible risks, in this case those associated with burglary, and putting pragmatic and cost-effective solutions in place in order to avoid them or minimize their impact. Risk management can, and should, be applied to virtually any discipline, from customer service to crime and security, and incorporates five principal methods: risk avoidance, risk reduction, risk spreading, risk transfer, and risk acceptance. Below is an example of how each method could be applied:

  • Risk avoidance: using a catalog instead of having stock in store
  • Risk reduction: setting up an inventory control system based on average sales rates to only stock the minimum product required
  • Risk spreading: placing inventory into multiple burglary-resistant safes after closing hours
  • Risk transfer: purchasing the appropriate insurance
  • Risk acceptance: properly utilizing the deductible feature of an insurance policy

Evaluating your Risk

When evaluating possible burglary risks at your facility, you should ask yourself:

  • Is the area considered to have a high burglary rate?
  • Is the area stable, improving, or declining?
  • How are entryways managed in multi-occupancy buildings both during and after the hours of operation?
  • Do current security measures in place function safely?

Calculating Loss Potential

Once burglary risk is identified, the loss potential should be calculated by looking at possible maximum loss and probable maximum loss. These two quantitative standards can be used to understand the best and worst case scenarios your business and can help you to determine the best way to manage risk and prioritize certain targets. Using loss potential and loss probability, you can start to determine the chances that a specific target item will be stolen based on its demand, concentration, and transportability, in order to find the level of protection necessary.

Levels of Protection

There are six total designated levels of protection, with level 1 having the minimum level of protection and level 6 having the maximum. Level 1 mainly focuses on physical security measures, such as perimeter lighting and fencing, whereas level 6 requires a UL-certificated central station safe or vault alarm system with complete protection, 5-10 minutes alarm response by two runners with keys, and standard or encrypted line security. In cases where potential loss is extraordinarily high, a business may be required to separate inventory into different vaults with alarm systems or to install separate alarm systems for the vault and premises, monitored by separate central station alarm companies.

Utilizing risk management analysis to protect against burglary is the best way to ensure cost-effective mitigation. It is a long and detailed process that requires consistent communication, education, support, and encouragement but you will find that the benefits are well worth it.


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