Commercial Burglary Prevention

How Secure is YOUR building?

Successful prevention of commercial burglaries will largely depend on the degree of cooperation extended by all persons concerned. 

  1. REDUCE THE TIME available for entry – this is the function of your police department.
    • The Columbia Police Department provides a continuous blanket of routine patrol coverage. “Security Checks” bring the officer to the premises for periodic inspections during the nighttime.
  2. INCREASE THE TIME needed to gain entry – this is the businessman’s function.
    • The individual businessman’s effort is the most important part of prevention. By installing adequate lights, locks, alarms, and other devices, the physical security of the building will deter at best or delay at least the efforts of even the most determined burglar. 

Your building is not secure unless it is totally protected. The strongest door will do no good if the burglar can quickly enter through an unlocked window. Anything short of total protection means inadequate protection. 


Three out of four commercial burglaries are committed against buildings that have either no lights or inadequate lighting. 

  1. Night light over the safe
  2. Alleys and rear of store well lit.
  3. All entry points well lit.
  4. Night light inside the building.


The burglar-proof lock has not yet been designed, but adequate locks are available and will deter even the most determined.

  1. Modern, double cylinder-type, long throw dead-bolt locks are preferable and should replace hasps and padlocks where possible.
  2. Proper installation should prevent prying, twisting or cutting.
  3. Lock bolts should be protected against being pushed back with a thin instrument.
  4. Control of keys is important.
  5. Hinge pins should be installed to prevent removal. Hasps should be bolted to door and building.
  6. High-grade steel hasps will resist prying, twisting or cutting.
  7. Padlocks should be locked in place at all times to prevent key duplicating.
  8. Glass and metal doors should have cylinder guard and armored strike protection.
  9. Consult your local licensed locksmith about the type of locks and installation you should have.


Strength and security can be had without sacrificing looks.

  1. Use burglar-resistant glass where applicable.
  2. Bars on the inside prevent breaking in the entire door.
  3. Metal lining on exterior wooden doors will resist drilling or sawing.
  4. Double doors should be equipped with multiple-point, maximum security long bolts.


An adequate alarm system gives constant protection.

  1. Modern alarm installations are relatively inexpensive.
  2. Periodic tests will insure that the alarm is in proper
    working order at all times.


Your windows should offer light, ventilation and visibility but NOT easy access.

  1. Glass bricks are highly effective on windows not needed for ventilation.
  2. Properly installed grates give maximum security.
  3. Locks must be designed and located so they cannot be reached and opened by breaking the glass.


Hiding the safe will serve only to give the burglar better working conditions.

  1. The safe should be easily visible from the outside and well illuminated.
  2. Safes should be anchored to the structure to prevent being carried away.
  3. Cash should be kept at a minimum by frequent banking.
  4. Never leave the combination written where it can be found.
  5. When you change employees, change the combination of your safe.
  6. Large sums of money or valuables should not be placed in “fire boxes” of filing cabinets.
  7. Use a Class “E” burglar resistant safe.


The outward appearance and security of the building will often determine whether or not it will be attacked. A clean, well-lighted building is seldom burglarized. EVERY opening represents a hazard.

  1. Fences should be strong, in good repair, and kept free of debris and boxes.
  2. Weeds around the outside of the building or fence provide a good hiding place.
  3. Lumber, pallets, etc., stored near buildings provide ready access to upper windows and roof.
  4. Ladders should be kept locked up.
  5. Blind alleys offer protection for the burglar.
  6. Sidewalk openings and their frames should be secured and properly locked.
  7. Skylights and ventilators on the roof are easy access points unless protected.
  8. Fire escapes and exits should be designed for quick exit but difficult entry.


Total protection requires more than lights, locks and alarms.

  1. Keep a record of serial numbers of all merchandise and equipment.
  2. Policy numbers and serial numbers of large denominations of bills should be recorded.
  3. Before locking up each night, check to see that no one is hiding in the building.
  4. Leave the cash register drawer open at night to prevent unnecessary damage.
  5. All checks should be logged and marked “For Deposit in Account of ” as soon as they are received.
  6. Blank checks and check protector should be kept in safe.

In the event of a burglary, the chances of apprehending the burglar are greatly increased if the scene is left completely intact. Each burglary scene is carefully searched by members of the Columbia Police Department who are highly trained and qualified evidence technicians who know what to look for and where to find it. Microscopic evidence is vital and must be protected.

The following steps are recommended in the event of a burglary:

  1. Telephone the police immediately.
  2. Instruct all employees and co-workers to leave the scene completely undisturbed and intact. If possible, avoid all movement in the area of the entry and the theft.
  3. Be prepared to assist the officers by providing information as to the items missing.

Security Checklist

The checklist provided here is designed to give you a rapid way of reviewing the security of your building.

____ Double cylinder deadbolt locks on all outside doors? Cylinder guards? Armored strikes?

____ Panel doors metal lined to resist drilling?

____ Rear and side doors reinforced by cross bar?

____ Bars or grating on rear and side windows?

____ Safe anchored to floor?

____ Blank checks and check writer in safe place?

____ Padlocks locked in place during day?

____ Hasps bolted to building and door?

____ Adequate lights at night?