8 things that will help prevent break-ins in the workplace

Workplace burglaries are one of the main reasons businesses go under, so preventing a robbery is the best thing you can do for your business.

Lock up

The first and most obvious thing you can do is make sure you lock up properly. Make sure any doors, windows or other places a burglar could get through are locked and secure. You can get metal grating that you can pull down when you close up that covers the windows and doors, or even special glass that’s hard to break – if it’s in your budget. Having a burglary in your workplace is a huge inconvenience and not locking up properly could be a silly and costly mistake.

Have a documented routine

Having a documented closing up and opening routine for employees to follow may seem like a waste of time, but it is a major plus in safety and should always be a two-man job. In your routine, you should include having one person wait outside and the other person follow the opening up routine that you wrote down and check for any robbers inside, then if someone was inside, the person waiting outside can call the cops. If there are any signs of a break-in – call 111 immediately. In your closing up routine – check for any robbers hiding inside, or even just customers in the bathroom or changing room, and make sure you lock everything up. An unlocked window or door is the perfect thing to let a burglar in.


Keep a record of how many keys you have and who they’ve been given to. Make sure the employees return the keys when they are no longer working there. If you have multiple keys for your store it’s good to label them in a code that only the employees know, instead of just ‘backdoor key’, so that if they are stolen the thief won’t know what they’re for.

Alarms and cameras

An alarm system is definitely one of the most helpful things you can do to keep your workplace safe, even just advertising that you have one is usually enough to deter burglars. Have security cameras and make sure to minimise blind spots as much as you can and if possible, don’t have any. Make sure there is enough light for the cameras to pick everything up.


It’s important to keep the inside AND outside of the building lit up, including any alleyways behind or beside the store as well, this is a huge help in deterring burglars – they prefer to work in darkness. Lighting up the inside of the store also helps any police driving by to see if anything suspicious is happening inside, make sure the view into the workplace isn’t blocked by any displays. Cops will also come to know that your store is normally lit up and if the lights are off at a time they’re normally on they will go and check it out.


If you must have cash on the premises have a high quality safe that can’t be taken – make sure you have the safe bolted to the building structure as even safes weighing nearly a tonne have been taken before – or broken into, however, it’s best to have as little cash as possible on site. If you have any valuables it’s important to take them out of display from outside and secure them somewhere safe too. Police recommend keeping your safe in view of the street because if a burglar is trying to rob you then anyone going by will see it happening – keep the area well lit too. It could also be helpful to leave the till open and in sight of the window, empty of course! This means burglars can see you don’t have money there for them to steal. Include this instruction in your closing up routine if you decide to do this.

Having a proper security system in place can save you a lot of stress and will help to deter burglars and prevent your business from being robbed. But don’t forget that burglaries can come from the inside too, staff may steal because they’re desperate or feel they aren’t being paid their worth. To avoid this there are a few things you can do.

Treat staff well

If staff feel downtrodden or mistreated they may use stealing as their form of revenge. Treat your staff fairly, according to ANZ, some people who pay their staff a slightly higher wage feel that they have less missing stock compared to others in the industry. Also, do careful reference checks on employees so that you’re not hiring thieves in the first place.

Have a theft-proof system

Try thinking like a thief when you’re making procedures, are there any gaps that would allow you to steal in any of the positions at your workplace? Things like checking stocks or if you have a back entrance think of keeping it locked and only allow staff to use the front exit in plain view of everyone.

Author – Jane Olsen