If you’ve been following the news this month then you know that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the way. That said, governing bodies in BC are still reminding us all to hunker down for the winter until the remedy reaches our populous in 2021. The good news (at press), for the commercial sector, is that most business are allowed to remain open as long as they take the necessary health and safety precautions. However, beyond these preparedness protocols, there is another inflated risk – break-ins. Data shows that business break-and-enters in BC have spiked by well over 500% since COVID-19.
We have already provided you with a guide to protecting your business from crime during winter, but an appendix is needed to account for this particular season. Here’s what you can do to prepare your brick and mortar this winter.
3 Other Things Your Business Needs to Do to Prevent Break-and-Enter Loss During the Winter of COVID-19
1. Adjusting for Your Adjusted Hours of Operation
Most businesses have adjusted the hours of operation for their physical locations (shops, offices, etc.). This has been necessary to account for limited staff, slower business (depending upon industry), or government mandated restrictions. Limited hours equates a greater number of hours when your property is left unoccupied. Factor in the limited daylight of winter and the setting is prime for criminals.
One way to keep break-ins at bay is to present the appearance that the property is occupied during common (for the commercial district) business hours. So, schedule interior and exterior lighting to stay on for as long as the municipality allows. The extra billing from BC Hydro will be negligible (especially when using LED systems) when compared to the risk of break-ins.
Ensure that your alarm system is working properly and that your alarm monitoring company has your up-to-date emergency contact information. If you find yourself working from home more frequently this winter, consider installing a surveillance system that you can monitor remotely from home.
For larger businesses who do not already have security personnel, consider hiring temporary security to work through closed hours this winter and post signage stating that there is indeed security on premises. Again, the investment is worth the peace of mind that you receive in return.
Normally your business may be averse to installing roll-down shutters or outright boarding up windows at night. Aesthetically it is certainly not inviting. However, during COVID-19 consumers are most certainly forgiving and have even become accustomed to such a thing. Consider installing roll-down shutters, which puts up a literal blockade against those who intend to trespass. Another side benefit is that the shutter can help keep cold winter weather out which can help reduce your overnight energy usage to keep the premises heated.
3. Update Your Commercial Property Coverage
Like all industries, the insurance world was also flipped on its head at the onset of COVID. It has since adjusted, but there may have been adjustments to policies along the way that you may not know about. If there has ever been a time to revisit your commercial property policy, it’s today. Contact an independent broker at Park Insurance for an audit of all commercial policies, from glass breakage and commercial crime through to your more robust commercial property coverage.
Remember to review our original guide to protecting your business from crime during the winter season, and be sure to contact Park Insurance at 1.800.663.3739 to schedule a consultation regarding your existing policy.