There are a growing number of burglaries where unlawful entry to premises is gained through the walls of the building and not via the more usual route of doors and windows. Both external walls and party walls connecting to neighbouring properties have been breached. This is a worrying trend but there are plans you can put in place to mitigate the threat.
It is of course vitally important to spot these intrusions as soon as possible with alarm systems and where installed, monitored CCTV. However, on a couple of occasions the alarm system has not activated. This is because the intruders have made use of alarm blind spots in retail and other areas where counters and furniture have blocked the view of the alarm detectors.
A regular review of all premises security and procedures is crucial and in light of the growing trend for entering premises through walls, particular attention should be paid to space and perimeter alarm detection.
Here are 10 practical hints, tips and questions you should carefully consider:
- Ask yourself; are there any movement detector blind spots in the premises, possibly caused by showcases or other furniture?
- Are any detectors blocked by items on shelves or on top of cabinets?
- Have new furniture or display cabinets been added to the premises after the original alarm was installed. It is so easy to inadvertently create blind spots with furniture and fittings that were not present when the alarm detection system was originally designed and installed.
- Is it possible to install vibration detectors on the walls of the premises?
- Almost all alarm systems are set up to require two independent detectors that must be triggered before police are able to respond. If a safe is against an external or party wall with neighbouring premises it needs to have a safe limpet and a vibration detector on the wall to protect against safe attack through the wall. There have been a number of attacks into the rear of safes which have not been picked up by alarm detectors.
- Do you have any target goods such as jewellery and watches on the *entry/exit route of the alarm? Hopefully not!
- If you have a security fogging machine, is it connected to the intruder alarm detection as well as to the personal attack buttons?
- Again the intruder alarm detection which triggers security fogging should not be on the entry/exit route on the alarm system.
- Even if a room or loft space is empty it still needs alarm detection equipment. The sooner an intruder is detected the sooner the police can be called. Also unalarmed, vacant spaces can be utilised by intruders to lie in wait for premises owners to open up in the mornings.
- Finally; if you are next door to an unoccupied premises, or a neighbouring premises becomes unoccupied, even if only for a short time, check daily the security of the unoccupied premises. Where possible, look for signs of a break-in as this is often the precursor to a “hole in the wall” attack on YOUR premises.
*The entry/exit route is the area of the premises which the business owner enters prior to un-setting the alarm. Police will not be called if only the detectors on the entry/exit route are triggered nor will the security fogging machine go off if only entry/exit route detectors are triggered.
The above points are meant as a general guide. If you are unsure about any aspect of your alarm protection coverage contact your insurance broker or alarm company for advice.
Most importantly, speak to your insurance broker before making any alterations to security at your premises or before changing your alarm provider. You need to do this in order to ensure compliance with your insurance policy terms and conditions.
This article was brought to you by Lee Wallace, Senior Account Manager at TH March and Chairman of the Association of Insurance Surveyors