Although less common than residential theft, commercial property theft in London still accounted for approximately 12,000 incidents reported to the police between 2016 and 2017. Because most commercial properties are left empty for a period of time each day (mostly overnight), thieves are able to take advantage of this. In this blog, we take a look at business and commercial burglary and the steps you can take to prevent it happening to you.
What is Business and Commercial Burglary?
The commercial sector covers a range of businesses including retail premises, hospitality (restaurants, pubs, hotels etc.), offices, warehouses, beauticians and hairdressers… in fact any premises that has a commercial role.
Burglars take advantage of the hours of darkness when businesses are likely to be closed and no-one is on the premises, or commercial properties that have weaknesses in their security. They are most likely to gain access by forcing locks on doors and windows.
What to do if your commercial property or business is broken into
Commercial property theft in London can cost you more than just the damage to fixtures and fittings and the loss of property. It can also lead to loss of business if you are unable to trade whilst you are getting your premises repaired and property replaced. If your commercial property has been broken into, you should:
- Firstly, report your commercial property break-in to the Met Police – the sooner you contact them, the better the chance they have of catching whoever broke in.
- On discovering your property has been broken into, do not enter if you don’t have to – the burglar(s) may still be present. Dial 999 and wait for the police to arrive. If you do have to enter, don’t touch anything as you could destroy any evidence. The police will give you a crime number to give to your insurance provider.
- Make a detailed list of what has been stolen to give to your insurance provider (and your commercial landlord if you are a tenant).
- If you rent your commercial premises, report the break-in to your landlord/owner so that they can contact their own insurance company, as well as arrange for any broken doors or windows to be repaired/replaced (unless it is your responsibility under your commercial property agreement to arrange for repairs).
- Once the police have concluded their investigations in your property, it is the perfect time to review your security measures (see below) with security experts.
- Repair or replace any doors, windows, or locks that are broken by contacting the experts. At this stage, you may wish to upgrade your current doors/windows/locks to make your premises more secure.
How to avoid commercial property break-ins
Although the above doesn’t make for pleasant reading, there are many ways to make your business harder for burglars to break into.
- Identify and fix any areas where burglars can gain access to your business premises. Contact the experts who will be able give you a comprehensive report on all weak entry points and advise on the best course of action.
- Update your security measures. Contact security experts who can advise you on a range of highly effective security measures for business and commercial premises, as well as installing:
- High quality locks on windows and doors.
- Burglar alarms.
- CCTV cameras.
- Security grilles and shutters on doors and windows.
- Ensure the exterior of your premises is well maintained. Don’t leave rubbish to accumulate and remove any graffiti, as this will reduce the likelihood of your business being targeted.
- Store wheelie bins and other items that maybe climbed on to gain access to your premises in secure areas.
- Move high-value items from your window displays before closing.
- Keep stock out of sight and, if possible, in a locked storeroom.
- Don’t leave cash on the premises overnight.
Across London, there are large numbers of restaurants of varying cuisines which are often a target for opportunist burglars. Restaurant burglary can cause the business to be shut for some time whilst repairs to the property are carried out, as well as being thoroughly cleaned to ensure that the premises are hygienic. Therefore, restaurant theft can prove very costly.
Advice for unattended commercial property
For both business owners and landlords with empty premises in their property portfolios, there are a number of risks to leaving commercial and business premises unoccupied. These include:
- Theft and vandalism
- Antisocial behaviour
To avoid any of these happening, at Montagu Property Services, we urge all commercial property owners and landlords to re-evaluate their security measures. We are on hand to provide advice and guidance on the right security measures to implement, as well as installing them.
Call the experts
Once you have identified the security measures that you need to be put in place, or ask us to conduct a FREE security assessment, it is time to call the experts. With over 40 years’ experience in the property industry, Montagu Property Services covers most of London and can provide business owners and commercial property landlords with a range of security services. These include:
- CCTV installation and monitoring
- Security door and window installation
- Security guards to monitor empty properties.
For more information on our security services for business premises and commercial properties, or to discuss how we can help prevent commercial property break-ins across London, please call us on 0207 723 5463 between 8am and 6pm, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org