Commercial property is vulnerable to damage and loss through criminal activity. Just how vulnerable is suggested by a survey conducted by the government in recent years which show that for every 1,000 commercial properties in London alone, there are more than 30,000 incidents of crime.
Protecting your property
In the face of such alarming statistics, what are some of the things you might do to protect your commercial property?
Commercial property insurance
- if the premises you own, or the contents within it are damaged or stolen as the result of criminal activity, probably your first recourse is a claim on your commercial property insurance;
- it is important that this is maintained at an appropriate level to ensure the possibility of completely rebuilding the premises in the event of a total loss – resulting from an arson attack, for example;
- here at Specialist 4 Property, we help to make sure that your property remains protected by the insurance cover you need – for competitively priced premiums;
- in order to play your part in minimising the threats to your commercial property, it is important that you understand the risks;
- a regular risk assessment may help you identify those points where the premises and your business are most vulnerable – and it is these, of course, where defensive efforts need to be focussed in the first place;
- even with the appropriate commercial property insurance cover in place, however, you are still responsible for mitigating the risk of loss or damage to your commercial property;
- one of the principal defences against criminal activity and the risk of intruders, of course, is the security of the premises through high-quality locks on all external windows and doors, intruder alarms and security lighting;
- much of the equipment you use is likely to be expensive and vulnerable to theft or damage through crime;
- maintain an accurate and up to date inventory of all your equipment, with appropriate additional security for items of particular value;
- perhaps more annoying and frustrating than criminal activity from outside is theft perpetrated by your own employees;
- it is important to take up references and conduct background checks on all the staff you employ, including temporary or casual appointments;
- take care about who has access to keys and security passwords, but keep a special eye on any money or petty cash kept on the premises;
- it is not just the theft of physical items you need to guard against, but also theft of sensitive and confidential data through unauthorised access to computer systems and records;
- keep access on a need to know basis, protect passwords, install virus protection software and maintain firewalls;
- even in this electronic age, there may be a surprising amount of sensitive and confidential information which is still kept on hard copy paper documents, notes and jottings;
- when you and your staff have finished with these, make sure they are disposed of securely by insisting that paper is shredded.
Many of the security arrangements for protecting your commercial property may appear to be matters of common sense. By giving them additional forethought and consideration, however, may help to reduce your exposure to the potentially very expensive loss and damage caused by criminal activity.