What facilities managers can do to prevent crime

The impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. has created a struggling economy, which historically leads to rising crime.

There is still much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and its impact on the economy as it has not yet fully ended. However, it has already brought massive disruption to many aspects of life including employment, housing, and even currency.

A Police Executive Research Forum study showed 44 percent of respondents said they had experienced increases in crime during the Great Recession.

 The past has taught us that disruptions to life such as these will bring forward a rise in crime—especially theft. Crime statistics gathered by the New York Times shows that the expected rise in theft or break-ins has not presented yet in what has already been “such a weird year.”

Reports suggest that it is just a matter of time before the number of theft cases begin climbing. This includes internal theft, mostly due to the rationalization that employees believe they are owed for their contribution to the company.

Increasing security

Buildings who have not returned to full occupancy yet will need a system in place prior to welcoming anyone inside. Security experts have advised to continue working remotely until the facilities have been prepared for balancing coronavirus-related health guidelines with maintaining security.

There will be slight variances on the different aspects of security because some buildings will have needs specific to their location or industry. It is important for facilities managers to walk through their building to gain an understanding of security needs and any changes needed to the current security procedures in place.

The first step in improved security is controlling access. Some businesses will screen visitors’ temperatures to address any COVID-19 concerns, but this measure additionally allows employees to verify the visitor’s identity and keep record of entry and exit times.

Practicing social distancing will allow businesses to limit the number of visitors at a time. This practice eases concerns of visitors walking in undetected or failing to log their entry at the front desk where applicable.

To further limit access into the building, it is recommended to alarm all entryways except for the main point of entry into the building. If deliveries are made to another point of access into the building, it is important to have a security camera monitoring that area. Consider changing the retention rate on security cameras in the building as well.

Monitor the building and its surrounding areas for indications of vagrancy, including food, bedding, shopping carts, clothing, etc. In addition to security risks, these warning signs could be indications of other potential hazards as well.

Communication

To ensure that both visitors and employees are aware of policy changes, increased security concerns, and facility upgrades, it is important to communicate with all building occupants. Put reasoning behind the changes before they happen so eliminate questions about why changes are happening, stop potential finger-pointing, and to make everyone feel comfortable about the changes.

If temporary security measures are implemented, provide information to building occupants about expected expiration dates for these measures. If there is no exact expiration date on measures like COVID-related checks, ensure that impacted individuals will have a safer experience.

Establish contacts with law enforcement and neighboring businesses. Post visible trespassing signs to support initial notice, which is essential for law enforcement action.

Communicate with employees to ask for identification from individuals authorized to access the building. If someone or something looks suspicious, the first step should be identifying the situation. If you see a person or vehicle that you do not recognize more than once, then you have seen time too many times.

Security is essential for every building. We all must be proactive about outside factors that could potentially disrupt our businesses. Begin a walkthrough of your building today so you can provide a safer environment and protect your employees as soon as possible.

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