Did you know that there’s a hidden risk of COVID-19 about which you probably haven’t heard?
It’s not something you’d expect, either. As the virus continues to rage across the world, many worry about their own health, and rightfully so. The virus is awfully contagious.
But did you know that along with COVID-19, robbery has also been on the rise?
In places like San Francisco, burglaries have more than doubled over the past year. Many believe they occurred because more stores have been left unmanned as their owners shelter at home.
Homes might be robbed as well, though, so homeowners should take care.
But how can you protect yourself from a break-in?
Keep on reading to find out!
Protecting your business from robbery when it’s closed
If you own or operate a business, you might worry that robbers might break-in, especially while you’re not around.
If you’ve closed down an in-person business because of COVID-19, think carefully about where you’ve placed all of your valuables. Did you remember to lock your cash or other expensive items away in a safe?
Are all especially tempting items away from the windows and hidden? If they’re not, you might want to let yourself into your store or office and put everything in a safe place.
Business security devices
Next, install security cameras, if you haven’t already. Have them rolling at all times, and review the footage periodically to make sure no one has broken in.
To deter potential robbers, post a sign on your door that notifies them their actions are recorded.
In addition, each business should have a security system that sounds an alarm whenever someone breaks in. These systems serve several purposes.
First, they often scare the robbers off since they’re afraid they’ll get caught.
Second, they alert passersby and neighbors to the emergency. If someone sees your business being robbed, they can call the authorities.
Third, many alarms can now be synced to your smartphone, allowing you to see when someone comes in. These alarms sometimes also contact the authorities for you.
Periodically take inventory
You also could periodically enter your business to take inventory of everything inside. This helps you keep track of all your products and reduces the chances of anything going missing.
Make sure that only you or a trusted employee are in the space at any given time. Wear masks and maintain social distancing if you need to interact with other people.
Protecting your business when it’s open
Are you one of the millions of business owners who reopened their stores after lockdown restrictions lifted?
If so, there’s good news. The window of time for someone to break into your store without anyone being there has shrunk due to your open hours.
However, that doesn’t mean that a robbery can’t take place. If the thieves carry weapons, they may even put your employees or customers in danger.
To keep everything and everyone safe, follow these procedures:
Make sure at least 2 employees close your store
When it comes time for the shop to close, make sure you have at least 2 employees completing the process. Charge them with keeping each other accountable for properly closing the store, locking the doors, and setting the alarm.
In addition, ask them to tell you if they have reason to believe the other employee took something while closing up.
This type of mutual accountability prevents the store from being closed improperly and keeps your workers from taking your inventory from you.
In fact, it’s best to always have 2 or more employees working at your business at any given time. This ensures that no one will have to face a potentially dangerous situation alone and will have other people with them, trying to handle the situation.
Just make certain that your employees follow social distancing guidelines and keep each other safe health-wise, as well!
Buy bulletproof dividers
Because of COVID-19, many companies have purchased plexiglass dividers to keep both their customers and employees from inhaling each other’s germs.
If you live in a particularly high crime area, consider purchasing bulletproof glass for your dividers instead.
That way, should someone come into your business carrying a weapon, your employees will be kept safe as they call for help, hide, or secure your valuables.
Have a plan
Form an emergency plan and make sure all of your employees know how to execute it.
As part of your plan, make sure you have updated emergency contact numbers for each of your employees. In addition, ensure that they have a means of evacuation or escape through an emergency exit.
Coach them on de-escalating situations and keeping customers calm.
When you make these plans, you are guaranteeing that the first people on the scene, your employees, know how to respond.
Protecting your home
Your business isn’t the only place you need to protect. During these trying times, you should also seek to protect your residence.
You can do this in a variety of ways.
First, you should purchase a home security system that connects to your phone and allows you to switch on and off alarms. Even when you’re asleep or not at home, the system will be able to alert you to an intruder.
In addition, many homeowners purchase motion sensor lights or cameras to install outside their home. Motion sensor lights often scare thieves and let anyone around see who is breaking into your home.
Cameras capture them on film, so if you ever need to see who has been in your home, you can do so.
Are hidden cameras legal?
But what about placing cameras in your home? You might be wondering, “Is it legal?”
For the most part, yes, it is. Some areas of the United States put restrictions on which parts of the home may be filmed without someone else’s prior knowledge, though. Before you install them, make sure to check the laws in your area.
Want more advice during COVID-19?
COVID-19 has led to an onslaught of robbery cases, making it pertinent to protect your home and business.
Fortunately, there are a number of measures you can take. Cameras, alarms, and emergency preparedness procedures go a long way in keeping you safe.
Do you want more advice as you try to navigate COVID-19? If so, check out the rest of the articles on this website!