In 2017, approximately 1,401,840 burglaries were committed in the United States, leading to an astounding 3.4 billion dollars in property loss. In our home state of New Jersey, 25,198 incidents occurred leading to $57,206,380 in property loss. With numbers that high, it is crucial to know what to do if a break-in ever occurs at your business. The steps below should help you prevent any additional complications caused by the confusion and stress that can follow a break-in. Take a look to get prepared.
1. Contact the police.
It might seem obvious, but if a break-in occurs at your business, you should contact the police before doing anything else. You may be tempted to investigate the crime scene—don’t. There is always a chance that the burglary could still be in progress and confronting the intruders on your own could lead to a violent situation. Contact the police and wait for them to arrive before entering the building.
Tip: Use a verified alarm system for an 85% increase in police response time.
2. Record your version of events.
Giving an accurate and detailed report to the police can help them make an arrest and can make things easier for you when filing an insurance claim. To give a great report, you should write or record the details of the break-in as soon as possible following the event. If your business was broken into after hours, record the time you discovered it, note any initial property damage you see and document any actions you took before the authorities arrived. If you or another employee was present at the time of the break-in, write down anything about the intruders as well. Answering questions like the examples below can be a tremendous help to officers.
- How many intruders were there?
- How old were they?
- What did they look like?
- How did they enter the building?
- What did they take?
- Did they leave in a vehicle?
- Do you know the direction they went in?
Tip: If you use video cameras like the ones we offer here at Supreme, you don’t have to take on the burden of describing what happened at your business—the cameras can take on that job for you.
3. Contact your insurance company.
Once you’ve given a statement to the police and have recorded your experience, you should review your policy and contact your insurance company. Your agent should be able to fill you in on any information you need to provide in order to file a claim. Necessary documents generally include a copy of the police report, an inventory list, and photos of any damage that was done to the property (if you own your space). While you may not have all of the information gathered yet, making contact sooner is always better than later.
4. Document property damage and review your inventory.
After you’ve reached out to your insurance company, and know exactly what information you need to provide for your claim, you will want to do a walkthrough of the property to identify anything that was damaged or stolen. Take pictures of damaged property and equipment, as well as areas of your property where the theft clearly occurred (e.g.: a shelf of merchandise that has been entirely cleared out).
Once you’ve made a list of the obvious damages and stolen goods, run through your inventory list and see if there is anything you missed. Once this is complete and you have a police report on file, you should be able to complete your insurance claim with ease.
5. Talk to your employees.
Depending on how much damage has been done and how quickly the police investigation takes place, you may need to close your business for a few days. It is important to let your employees know what has happened and to inform them about the future of the business (e.g.: if work will be canceled for the next week). Some employees may not feel safe in the workplace, some might fear for their belongings, and others might be curious about burglary prevention, so when you talk to your company as a whole, be sure to come prepared. Give your employees the opportunity to voice their concerns and take the time to reassure them. If you address relevant fears and worries, you should be able to mitigate any damage the break-in could have on your workplace culture.
Tip: Many security companies offer Access Control, which allows users to grant and restrict access to certain areas of a property. This service is fantastic for easing the minds of employees after a break-in.
6. Review your security.
When the chaos following the break-in is over, it is time to review the security of your business. What can you do to ensure that another break-in doesn’t occur? Do you need a stronger lock, more lighting on your property, or security cameras? Take a look at how the break-in happened and evaluate what you can do to prevent future threats.
7. Contact a Security Company
Upon reviewing your security and reflecting on the break-in, you might be interested in the services of a security company. Here at Supreme Security Systems, we design custom security packages for our customers based on their specific needs. We can help you identify the equipment and features that your business needs to deter thieves and remain a safe and secure place for employees and clientele alike. Even if you aren’t sure if you are interested in a security system, we can offer our insight, advice, and even a free quote. You can click here to browse our commercial security capabilities.