The Importance of Security Surveillance for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, your company or startup is the manifestation of your ideas, hard work, and monetary assets. You will likely do anything to protect your employees, customers, and merchandise from threats.

But sometimes these threats are impossible to predict.

For any sized business, burglaries and shoplifting can be devastating. According to a 2015 study, the average loss per shoplifting incident was $377. And these add up when a business falls victim to multiple shoplifting crimes

This is where commercial security systems come into play. With the right preparation and cameras in place, your business can stay ahead of robberies, shoplifting, and other safety concerns.

What Are The Risks Of Poor Security For Small Businesses?

One incident of shoplifting is generally not catastrophic for a small business; it may even be expected in some circumstances. It is the culmination of shoplifting, burglaries, employee crimes, and false alarms that add up to a significant financial blow.

Burglaries in particular are one of the top causes of revenue loss for businesses. According to 2016 data, there were 1.7 million burglaries in the U.S. in 2014. These incidents make up 13.6% of property crimes, but businesses are actually four times more likely than homes to be burglarized.

For your business, this means that your inventory assets are more at risk than you may realize. You not only risk losing merchandise, but property damage as well. By having eyes on your business even when you are not there, you can increase your chance of being compensated for these incidents.

While some of these burglaries happen while the business is closed, shoplifters pose a significant risk during business hours. Small businesses around the country lose between $25,000 and $33,000 per minute to shoplifters. And if your business has a weak security system, it can be nearly impossible to catch or identify these thieves.

It’s also important to remember that while businesses lose money to burglaries, they also lose money to false alarms. False alarms make up 10-20% of all calls to the police and 94-99% of all alarm calls. While false crime alarms may seem harmless, each incident can actually cost a business owner up to $125.

With all of these factors in mind, it’s essential that businesses take a critical look at their security preparedness. Not all businesses have the proper number of cameras in their businesses, and even more do not have them in the right places. The right systems and the right security practices can transform a business’s potential risk. And this applies to more than just theft prevention.

How Can Businesses Benefit From Strong Security?

A quality security system can protect a business from a range of risks — not just thieves. With the right preparatory measures, entrepreneurs can rely on their systems while they focus on the more important aspects of running a business. The following are just some of the perks of security systems.

  • Theft Control: As mentioned above, burglary and shoplifting prevention is one of the most important roles of security systems. But their function goes beyond that. If someone does steal from your business, you have a better means to identify them, leading to prosecution. You can also use your system to monitor employee theft. Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce found that about 75% of employees steal, and you should be able to identify them.
  • Safety: Having a set of security cameras around your business may also curb incidents of sexual harassment and workplace violence. If an incident does happen, you will have evidence to bring to the police. Your employees may also be more inclined to report harassment or violence if they know you have the means to prove it.
  • Insurance Benefits: In some cases, having an indoor and outdoor security system may reduce your business insurance premiums. This is because you have a lower risk of theft and property loss than if you did not have any security systems in place. When your business is less of a risk, you and the insurance company benefit.
  • Lawsuit Protection: If you are involved in a lawsuit and believe that your business is being wrongfully accused, you can use security camera footage to prove this. A common example is a fraudulent worker’s compensation case. If an employee forces or fakes an injury to get money, you might be able to prove that. The same principle can apply to the harassment and violence situations mentioned above.

Remember that while your business is central to you and your career, it does not need to be a liability. Once you amp up your security efforts, you can know that you are doing everything you can to prevent crimes and other incidents.

Where Should I Place My Security Cameras?

When it comes to protecting your business, simply having security cameras is not enough. You need to use them effectively. Industry data estimated that the video surveillance equipment market will grow to $4.56 billion by 2019 and will have captured 3.3 trillion hours of security footage daily. This leaves you with a wide range of camera options as security technology evolves. So, where should your cameras go to maximize security?

Points Of Transaction: It’s essential to have camera’s pointing at any place where money is processed or exchanged. This way, you have have a record of what is going on around cash registers or cash boxes. Point the camera low enough so you can see the torso, hands, and heads of customers and employees. Generally, it’s best to point the camera toward the customer, so you can see their face.

Exterior: Sometimes, knowing what is happening outside of your business is just important as what happens inside. Outdoor surveillance is especially important in the event of a burglary or break in. Cameras around your parking lot, walkways, and entrances can capture faces and license plate numbers.

Entrances And Exits: You want to be able to keep track of who is going in and out of your business. The timestamps on your footage also allow you to calculate how long customers stay in the building, proving that they were there during certain incidents. Place the camera so it is facing outward at a point that can capture the face of anyone going through the door.

Storage Areas: These cameras are especially important for retail stores. Place several cameras wherever you store your goods, as these areas can be targets for burglars and dishonest employees. Just be sure that storage areas and warehouses are well lit or have motion-sensing lights to allow the camera to capture what is going on.

Remote Areas: Take note of the areas of your business that are more isolated. These could be closets, break rooms, coolers, and in the garbage area. When an employee or customer is planning to steal, they might retreat to one of these areas to slip something into their bag or to stash away until they leave. With cameras, you can catch them in the act.

Reception Desks: Similar to points of transaction, reception desks see a high volume of customers. By monitoring these areas, you can revisit the footage and take note of a suspect customer’s behavior. These areas are also close to business entrances, so that adds another point of surveillance as customers and employees enter the building.

Improved Security: A Businesswide Effort

By installing security cameras and amplifying your business’ security initiatives, you are strengthening your commitment to your business. With the right system in place, you can prevent internal and external theft, and you will be able to address it if it does happen. This tangible evidence will be valuable evidence in the event of prosecution.  

But remember that security cameras are only part of the equation. To take your security a step further, train your employees on security best practices and emergency response protocol. This way, if you do have an incident of theft or violence in your organization, your staff can ensure their safety in the moment and later provide testimonials.

Your cameras, employee training, and assurance of best practices can protect your employees, merchandise, and property. This will make your business a safer place to be for everyone and can keep you out of the news for any shady activity. And for you personally , this means a more lucrative, sustainable business in the long term.