Neighbourhood Update from the City of London Police – April 2023
Author: City of London Police
BURGLARIES AT PREMISES WITHIN CITY OF LONDON
We have recorded 128 Burglaries from 1/10/2022 to 12/3/2023, where 98% of these involve businesses.
The majority took place in office buildings, which were 28% of the total offences.
The most common items stolen from office premises were laptops, where just over half of the suspects (59%) did not force entry. The method used was public entrances and tailgating.
What can you do?
Vigilance and good housekeeping are key to deterring these types of crimes from occurring in your venues. All staff need to play a role as anyone of them could see something significant. We have put together a breakdown of crime prevention ideas to assist you with preventing these types of crimes from occurring at your venues.
CCTV systems can be complex and should not be regarded as the principal method of securing your premises. They can be a deterrent and they can provide evidence for prosecution. However, if they are not set up properly or managed badly, they are of no real use. It is always advised that an expert is consulted and that the recorded images would be suitable for police use if required. Ensure that the lighting is appropriate for the system installed and that the cameras are regularly maintained and free from dust/obstructions or damage.
Please check daily that your CCTV is working correctly and covers all entrances and exits.
Is it regularly maintained?
Is someone able to operate the system efficiently?
Are the time and date settings regularly checked to ensure they are correct?
Display the appropriate signs to tell the public/warn offenders that they are being recorded.
Can your system identify persons entering and leaving the premises?
Do you always have a nominated person available who is trained and able to replay recordings and produce copies for the police?
Does the nominated person know the retention period of recordings?
Is your system able to quickly export video and stills onto removable storage medium with the time and date integral to the relevant picture and without any drop in the quality?
Do your exported images include any software needed to view or replay the pictures?
Is your system password protected?
Do you have a procedure for key holders’ personal safety when attending out of hours security calls? – Do they notify someone that they are attending and have access to a personal safety alarm?
Is there an established security procedure for closing the premises, including checking all rooms and toilets to ensure no-one is hiding? Ensure that all entrance doors are locked, and windows and skylights secured at the end of the working day. A security log requiring a staff signature after checking can encourage accountability for doing security checks.
Staff should wear identification badges whilst at work. Are visitors asked to sign IN and OUT and given visitor badges which are ALL accounted for when they leave? – Identifying staff provides visitors and customers with a clear point of contact and will allow staff to challenge anyone who is not wearing identification in a non-public area.
Are security arrangements made for surveillance during vulnerable times such as evenings and holidays? – work with other businesses (or local residents) around you, that may have longer opening times etc and ask them to be alert and report suspicious activity.
Do you have a business continuity / recovery plan in the event of theft or fire and is all data and information backed up? – Think about what data is essential to keeping your business running if it was hit by theft or fire.
Do your staff know how to report a crime, know your local police contact, know the street names or identifiable landmarks around you, know the business full postal address or know how to report suspicious activity. Have all staff, including cleaning staff and sub-contractors, been briefed on your security procedures? – This information is essential for all the emergency services in the event of an incident. Make sure it is written down AND displayed prominently for all staff and include this in the staff induction. A crime in progress needs to be reported immediately with accurate information to ensure an effective and appropriate police response and give us the nest opportunity of catching offenders. All staff should be responsible for security precautions and should be given clear instructions on what is expected of them.
Do not keep cash on the premises at night! . if you do ensure that it is secured away in an appropriate safe (in accordance with guidance from your insurance company) and kept to a minimum.
Ensure laptop/tablets/work mobiles are secured in a locked cabinet in an alarmed area out of hours – Signage stating that ‘NO CASH KEPT ON PREMISES OVERNIGHT’ can also act as a deterrent. Leave cash till drawers empty and open and in view so that it is obvious that no cash is kept on site. Also make sure that all IT equipment has the appropriate security on place i.e., password protected, and property marked. Keep passwords safe and do not share them amongst staff.
SMALL BUSINESS SECURITY SLEF-ASSESSMENT
Is external security lighting used so that your premises are well lit during the hours of darkness or when not in use?
Are car park areas well-lit and clear of obstructions or items that may be desirable (i.e. scrap items)?
Is your boundary clearly defined?
Are fences secure and regularly checked
Do you have prominent signage directing visitors to a reception point or single entrance/exit point?
Provide regular maintenance for the growth of tees and bushes so that there is good ‘natural’ surveillance’ thus depriving criminals of cover. – Grounds should be well lit with good colour definition. Make every effort to reduce hiding places. Remove waste and scrap items on a regular basis. At the end of the day always secure the premises grounds, close and lock gates. It is important to clearly define your boundaries to ensure that visitors to your premises are aware of where they are allowed to go or not to go. If you have fences and gates these should be robust and strong enough to deter unlawful entry and secured. Make sure you have the right warning signs displayed to determine who is allowed where and what security measures are in place.
BUILDINGS, DOORS AND WINDOWS
Have you eliminated recessed doorways or concealed area that could give cover to intruders? – All of these issues are essential for good security.
Do you have an up to date inventory of issues keys? Are regular key audits carried out?
Are spare keys numbered (not named with locations) and secured at all times? – Strict key management is a priority and the fewer keys the better. Regular key audits will highlight any discrepancies/issues with missing keys or staff that may have left with access still to keys. Is there an electric card entry system, that enables you to remove from the system any lost cards and prevents copies made. If keys are missing change the locks through a Maters Locksmiths association (see https://www.locksmiths.co.uk/find-a-locksmith/ for local details)
Are all windows and doors of sounds construction, in good working order and lockable? – Windows and doors should be in good condition and working order and preferably constructed and installed to current standards.
Have you considered reflective film/blind for ground floor windows?
Have steps been taken to restrict easy access to the roof, including anti-climb products? – Remember to put up warning signs for anti-climb devise. Flat roofs can lend themselves to easy access to other areas or allow ASB issues. Check to see if there are any items nearby that could be used as climbing aides to these areas and remove them.
With this type of crime, once a thief has been successful at a venue, they are more likely to return in the future. If they fail to gain access or leave empty handed, they are less likely to return to your venue in the future.
Together we can all do our bit to reduce this type of crime, which impacts on the running of your business. The list above whilst not exhaustive, is an example of good practice which can make a difference.