Government measures to battle the Coronavirus outbreak are becoming ever stricter. This has led to an increasing amount of vacant business premises and a challenge to secure these empty properties.
Mass closures are clearly essential in order to slow the spread of the virus. However, vacating your premises could leave company property and assets at risk.
1) Small businesses are likely to be targeted
This global crisis is creating security challenges for businesses that they’ve never had to face before. Vacant property protection is of course one of them and a review of your overall business security strategy is therefore essential.
Opportunistic thieves are looking to capitalise on the chaos caused by Coronavirus. Small businesses with very little security currently in place are likely to be their prime targets. That much has become clear when we have spoken with people such as Jonathan Woods.
Mr Woods usually commutes to an office in Yorkshire, which hosts a number of small businesses. On Monday 17th March, most of the occupants had begun working from home and Jonathan and his colleagues were preparing to do the same.
“The doorbell of the office rang and when I opened the door there were two workmen standing there,” recounted Jonathan. “They claimed that they were there to check the roof for a leak but were unable to give me any details of who had sent them.”
“It was clear to me that they were scoping out the building to see if it was unoccupied. I suspect their next plan was to break in and remove equipment. With so many people moving around computers etc, I doubt they would have been questioned out on the street.”
“It’s hugely important that businesses anticipate and prepare for these new threats as best as they can to secure empty property, Because sadly there are many criminals out there looking to take advantage of this situation.”
2) Insurance requirements should be checked
The escalation of the Coronavirus crisis has led to a change in circumstances that businesses could never have anticipated. For those now leaving their business property empty, it’s hugely important to check that they are still covered by their existing insurance policy.
In some cases, a revised empty property insurance policy may be required. Other business owners meanwhile may need to show evidence that the property is being inspected on a regular basis. This is to compensate for a lack of physical presence at their site during regular working hours.
Our security advisors can provide expert guidance on how to safeguard a vacant commercial property. Contact the BusinessWatch team today.
3) Squatting, arson & vandalism are expected to rise
Cases of illegal occupation, arson and vandalism are likely to be on the rise in the weeks to come. This is because of police resources being diverted and a decrease in the physical presence at business premises up and down the country.
Sadly, there are thousands of homeless people who have been left even more at risk by the Coronavirus situation. There is clearly a need for the national and local government to tackle this issue, primarily to save lives but also to protect business premises.
A potential consequence is that many vacant business properties will likely be the target for those seeking refuge from the virus.
In addition to this problem, arsonists and vandals are likely to find that they have more opportunity to attack properties, which have been vacated.
It’s therefore more important than ever to review the security measures you currently have in place for your business. As part of this review, you should assess the frailties that could be exploited by opportunistic criminals, during the difficult weeks ahead.
4) Inspections may need to be increased
If you currently have security guarding in place at your premises, you should consider if additional patrols are needed. Otherwise buildings may be left unoccupied for much lengthier amounts of time.
By increasing the frequency of inspections at variable times of the day, you can deter criminals who are active in the area.
A mobile patrol security team can act as a very visible deterrent, as they make use of marked vans and uniformed guards.
5) Attacks on your property could be left unreported
Thieves and vandals may usually have a narrow window in which to attack your business whilst it is empty. However, if your property is now vacant throughout the working week, their activity can go unnoticed for longer periods of time.
Not only does this mean that the criminals have more time to carry out their crimes, they are much less likely to be brought to justice.
Many businesses use CCTV monitoring services to tackle this threat. Monitoring teams can watch vacant properties 24/7 and respond rapidly, in the event of an intruder breaking in.
BusinessWatch are a NSI approved provider of security and fire safety services for businesses across the UK. Our knowledgeable team also offer free advice for organisations looking to bolster their safety and security measures.
Our friendly advisors can offer a no-obligation review of your business security. Contact the BusinessWatch team today.