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Safeguard your business

Dec 11 2012 11:50
Cape Town - Robberies against small businesses typically increase as the festive season kicks off in December.

The 2011/12 national crime statistics by the South African Police Services (Saps) revealed a 7.5% increase in the number of business robberies across the country. In these robbery cases reported, 35% of targets were spaza shops or tuckshops.

 “Retailers of this size tend to keep more stock, goods and high cash flow over the festive season which makes them easy targets for criminals,” says Lourens Joubert of Santam.

 “Spaza shops, supermarkets and shebeens are easier targets because they operate in areas with insufficient infrastructure, poor policing and have a lack of security measures in place to protect their businesses,” says Joubert. 

There are however some precautions that small businesses can take during the festive season to decrease the chances of falling victim to robberies, says Joubert.

Increase security measures. Business owners should ensure that security lights, CCTV monitoring and alarms are in working order. Owners should also use signage warning potential criminals of such security measures.

More cost effective security measures, like burglar bars, a security fence or a wall can be installed. Hiring of private security or the use of community watch groups could also be used.
Make use of alarms. To ensure insurance cover for theft, an alarm must be switched on and be in working order.

Mind your money. If your business has a cash register, remove all the money at night and leave the register open to deter break-ins. Try to bank as much of your cash as possible. Businesses must ensure that former employees do not leave without handing over security access or information to the owners.

Use lighting. To make sure that customers feel secure and are protected at your place of business, ensure that entrances, parking areas and pathways to your business are well-lit at night.

Trim it. Business owners should ensure that plants and bushes on their premises are trimmed so that there is a clear view of potential hazards.

Safety in numbers. Inform staff about your business security strategy so that they know what to do in case of an emergency. Ensure that everyone has the correct emergency contact details as you might not always be on the premises to assist.

*Share your experience of setting up your own business, or simply ask a question. Our business panel can put you on the right path.


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