Over the 2015 Christmas period there was as surge of attempted intrusions on Netwatch client’s sites, showing an increase of 15% on the previous year. 23% of incidents were recorded on Christmas Day itself, making it the busiest day of the month closely followed by St. Stephen’s Day. 2am to 6am tended to be the busiest times on these two days for attempted intrusions. Premises targeted include offices, retail outlets, warehouses and car showrooms.
Opportunistic criminals know that there is a good chance premises will be vacant from 24th Dec definitely until 27th, and some until 2nd Jan. Christmas Day and St Stephens day are perfect opportunities with the majority of people are not at work.
The Netwatch Christmas list
- Establish locking up procedure in advance of the last day and ensure relevant personnel are fully briefed. A little bit of planning and communication before the busy season will help ensure seamless security. Make sure your monitoring service is aware of the closing times.
- Avoid lone workers – Even in the busiest offices there is often one person left to lock up for the Christmas holidays. This person will be vulnerable to criminals in waiting, or to missing some security protocols in the rushed atmosphere of the festivities. In the ideal situation there would never be someone left alone to lock up, try to arrange this in advance of the last day.
- Be aware of everyone entering and exiting your premises. Christmas is a busy time for deliveries and having extra or new delivery men accessing your business is not unusual. Opportunistic criminals can cash in on this and gain access to valuable assets within your premises. Installing an access control system, an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to track licence plates or monitoring the perimeter of your premises can alleviate this threat, keeping your staff and assets safe.
- Confirm key holder contact details are up-to-date and confirm who will be available over the holiday period. Don’t just assume people will have their phones on and be contactable – ensure everyone involved is clear on when they are expected to be contactable. Share the responsibility if possible.
- Keep perimeter well-lit with appropriate lighting in place to deter unauthorised activity, and ensure clear visuals of would-be intruders. This makes it difficult for criminals to stake out your premises and should lead to recognisable images for the authorities to use.
- Display signage in an obvious place. If you have a security service active on your site, ensure you have clear signage highlighting this fact. This acts as a great deterrent to intruders, who will weigh up the chances of being apprehended by a good security service.
- Ensure all electrical appliances are in safe mode. With premises closed up, and little or no staff attending, there is always a fear of fire or flood damage. It is also a good idea to keep the heat coming on for a few hours each day to keep everything moving along.
Taking some simple steps, like the ones outlined above, can help to keep businesses safe and give owners peace of mind over the holiday season.
David Walsh, CEO, Netwatch, said: “We regularly see lax security arrangements over bank holiday weekends and other holiday celebrations making it all too easy for thieves. In all our years protecting businesses in Ireland, Christmas is always one of the busiest times of the year for our Interventions Specialists. We expect this year to be no different. With many businesses closing down completely for the festive season, properties become particularly vulnerable with the lack of activity and presence. Opportunist thieves don’t care whether it is Christmas or not, if they think they can break in successfully and get away with valuables they will do it.”