The Small Business Crime Prevention Guide

It’s estimated that, in some capacity, crime will directly affect 1 in every 8 people. The most recent statistics from the ONS show that, while overall criminal activity has been steadily declining since the COVID pandemic, there’s still been over 8.7 million separate incidents of crime in the last year alone.

With such a high rate of crime, however, small businesses are often disproportionately affected. Each incident can eat into the already thin profit margins, and set back the huge efforts it takes to get a business off the ground. That’s something we understand intimately here at Churchill Support Services, having come from humble roots ourselves.

Now, as the UK’s #1 ACS-approved security company, we’re constantly striving to provide all-encompassing security packages and services for businesses of all sizes. With our latest guide, we’ll explore every aspect of crime prevention for small businesses, from the key security measures you can put in place, to practicable tips on stopping crime before it ever happens.


The Worrying Statistics On Crime For Small Businesses

It makes sense to first look at the kinds of risks that face small businesses and their owners. By looking at what issues there are to combat, we’re in a better position to provide more tailored guidance on countermeasures.

We’ve briefly touched on how crime has seen some fluctuation since the pandemic began in 2020, but there are a few integral factors that make for concerning reading for small businesses in particular. This is something we delved into more depth on in our comprehensive report on retail crime, but we’ll present a few of the key findings here.

Concerningly, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) estimates that 50% of all small businesses have found themselves a victim of crime on at least one occasion over the last two years. Not only does this paint a grim picture for those looking to get started, it’s equally concerning for those who are already established.

Those same figures illustrate just how pressing a problem robbery & burglary and theft are for smaller businesses, representing 42% and 38% of all reported business crime respectively, with a further 36% of all crime being reported as criminal damage.

It’s fair to say, then, that the threats facing businesses (and especially smaller or newly established firms) are multi-faceted, and often not assignable to one specific kind of crime. For instance, a robbery could also encompass criminal damage, as perpetrators damage property, stock and the building itself to accomplish their goals.

This naturally also means the overall cost of crime for small businesses is astronomical, too, with the FSB placing it at around £12.9 billion each year. Numbers like these not only serve to draw attention to the need for security across small businesses, but to better emphasise the need for sustained governmental focus on criminal behaviour.

With that in mind, let’s explore a few of the more robust security measures that small businesses can implement, and exactly how these can contribute towards the continued safety and security of your business.


5 Key Measures For Small Business Crime Prevention

While those statistics from the FSB do weave a worrying tapestry, there are measures that small businesses can take to mitigate the substantial risks they face. We’ll break down the ideal steps you can take to reduce the inherent risks you’ll face as a budding entrepreneur.


1. Employ A Visible Security Presence

The universal truth is that a clear and obvious security presence is one of the most effective deterrents when it comes to crime and criminal activity. Scientific research supports this, with a recent study pointing towards more concrete evidence of the effectiveness of privatised security across businesses.

Ultimately, the report concludes that a more immediately apparent security sees reductions in both the actual crime figures and in the opportunities afforded to criminals, as well as a greater sense of trust and reassurance for customers and clients.

In its most common form, this is usually a security officer, but can also extend to include store detectives for premises that have a focus on retail or hospitality, or mobile patrols for larger or more complex properties.

Not only do security personnel allow for an increased sense of safety across your premises, and a reassurance against the threats that small businesses face on a day-to-day basis, they’re also the ideal way to reaffirm your commitment to security to your customers and your staff.

Plus, by opting for a provider like Churchill Support Services, you’re always in total control, from the bespoke solutions we provide, down to your constant and unwavering connection to our round-the-clock Communications Centre.


2. CCTV Offers Comprehensive Coverage

Often seen as the accompaniment to security officers and more physical measures, CCTV is one of the most commonly seen forms of securing any premises or property. As a small business owner, it’s likely you’ll already have some familiarity with CCTV and non-physical methods of monitoring your security.

Monitoring has come a long way from the days of grainy imaging and limited scope, to the point where it’s now as complete a method of securing a property as it ever has been. That’s particularly true of the tailormade CCTV packages provided by security experts like Churchill Support Services.

With a custom-built solution, you’ll not only get the complete coverage that your business requires, it also ensures you’re always connected to, and under the watchful eye of, our exceptional Communications Centre.

CCTV also carries with it an additional benefit. With the FSB estimating that over 20% of small businesses don’t report their crimes due to a variety of factors, a robust monitoring package can ensure you’ve got the confidence and the evidence to support any claims you make.

Plus, with new developments and changes pushing technology to new heights, and cutting-edge solutions becoming more viable for smaller businesses, it’s an ideal time to invest in a CCTV package for your premises.


3. Consider A Lock & Unlock Service

While the name might be self-explanatory, there’s far more to a lock and unlock service than you’d initially think. It’s arguably one of the more popular security services, and for a good number of reasons.

By opting to outsource the lockdown and unlocking of your business to an exceptional provider like Churchill Support Services, you’ve always got the reassurance and confidence that your business is as secure and safe as it can be.

This also helps remove any pressure or onus from your staff, as well as providing you with the peace of mind you need as you leave your premises for the evening and arrive in the morning, or leave it vacant over an extended period of time.


4. A Key Holding & Alarm Response Package Is Essential

While it might be the last thing you want to think about when it comes to the security of your business, how you’re able to respond to any alarms that are raised is an essential part of the planning process.

Not only can this help nip crime in the bud, but it’s also essential in the aftermath of any incidents. A rapid and effective response provides the clearest possible indication of any potential culprits, and the ideal time to begin any necessary repairs or recoveries.

With alarm response from Churchill Support Services, you’ll receive one of the industry’s swiftest and most robust responses to any and every alarm that’s raised from your property. Whether that’s as a result of an intruder or simply a false alarm, you’ll receive the same conscientious and professional attitude.

That works harmoniously in conjunction with a key holding service, wherein a security company will keep a copy of your keys at a secure, undisclosed location. This then ensures that any response to an alarm or other disturbance can take place without disruption, and without you needing to be present.

We’ll also be able to combine this with any lock and unlock services we conduct for your site, ensuring that your site can be secured fully after you’ve left for the evening, and that it can be unlocked before you arrive for the day.


5. Implement An Access Control System

You’ll doubtless have restricted areas of your premises. This could be something as simple as a staff or stock room, or something that requires more stringent control (such as a server room). Each of these also represents another potential risk for your premises, and a target for opportunistic criminals.

That’s where strengthened access control systems really come to the fore. In their most basic forms, this is likely something you’ll already be familiar with, especially with coded locks and ID badges now commonplace across workplaces countrywide.

However, as with CCTV systems and other electronic security solutions, there’s been a recent boom in the technology that’s able to be provided for accessing off-limits areas of your business. From  biometric scanning to facial recognition, the options go far beyond the more traditional methods we’ve become accustomed to.

And with a tailormade service from Churchill Support Services, you’ll always have the right access controls you need to ensure the safety of everything you need to keep your business afloat, whether that’s valuable stock, confidential data, or simply areas that aren’t for the public to access.


Simple Business Security Tips To Implement Now

Of course, while these methods are the ideal way to fully futureproof your small business, and guarantee that you’ve got unparalleled levels of protection against criminal activity, there are smaller, simpler steps you can take now.

While these will offer a good short-term solution, and a way to take immediate action, they work best when done in conjunction with the methods we’ve just mentioned. These include:

  • Locking Doors & Windows – Arguably something you’ll already do, it’s crucial you double check any access points on your property. It’s estimated that 34% of all thefts happen as a direct result on an unsecured front door, and even more happen as a result of an unlocked window or other access point.
  • Putting Up Signage – An ideal accompaniment to any existing CCTV cameras you’ve got set up in your premises, effective signs and notices can act as the first deterrent to any possible criminals.
  • Invest In Shutters – A staple of securing any retail premises, shutters can offer a strong physical deterrent, and are often ideal for reducing insurance premiums. They’re also rugged enough to protect your premises against most break-in methods.
  • Receive A Quote For Bespoke Security – The first step in establishing a more secure future for your business, enquiring with a well-established security company means you can begin your journey sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, combining all of these factors with a suite of security solutions ensures that you’ve got the ideal start with protecting your premises, your stock, and your livelihood. And the ideal way to do that is through the expertly trained operatives here at Churchill Support Services.


Choosing Churchill For Your Specific Security Needs

As one of the UK’s leading providers of tailormade, exceptional quality security services, we’re always striving to provide a security service that’s not just built around you and your business, but that truly encapsulates what you need from a security provider.

In our extensive history, we’ve worked alongside countless small businesses and new enterprises, bringing them unmatched peace of mind in a rage of ways. Whether that’s in our electronic solutions, or in the more visible presence of security personnel, we’ve got over 27 years of experience in providing bespoke solutions for every kind of business.

We’ll begin by understanding the unique demands of your business and its associated premises, before drawing up completely tailormade plans that take into consideration your area, your sector and (crucially) your budget.

This all then filters down into the security we provide for you, ensuring that your premises is kept safeguarded around the clock with our 24/7/365 Communications Centre. Plus, with our unmatched levels of training for all our security officers, you’re guaranteed an unbeatable level of quality.

Contact us today to receive a free, no obligation quotation, and to discuss your security needs in more depth with our in-house security gurus!

John Melling

Group Chief Executive Officer

John has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.