Posted on: 20 August 2014

How safe is your shop safe?

Theft in the retail and hospitality sector is a big problem. Last year a third of retail and wholesale premises experienced theft from people they didn’t know1.

Whatever they’re targeting, most thieves are looking for a quick and easy steal. Rather than spending time on your premises trying to force entry into your safe, if it is obviously easy to access, detach and remove from the property they may have a go. Their aim is to take it to a safehouse where they can spend as much time as they like getting access to your valuables, whether that be money, data or documentation.

So it is worth giving some thought to how secure the safe in your shop or hospitality business is. The following simple steps could mean the difference between a nuisance intruder and thousands of pounds of stolen items and damage to your property.

Is your current safe good enough?

In deciding whether or not your safe is actually ‘safe’, ask yourself:

1. What is the main purpose of my safe? – If you are most susceptible to burglary (forced entry when the property is empty) you will need a different safe to one that will prevent thieves accessing it during a hold-up in the day. And safes for protecting computer back-ups from fire have very different features to those designed to hold cash.
2. What is the value of its contents? – Most manufacturers indicate the maximum value that a safe is recommended to hold, but this is only a rough guide. The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) independently test safes and publish the results in the Red Book. The higher the grade, the more resistant it is to forced entry and so the higher value it is designed to protect.
3. Is my safe approved by my insurer? - Some safes are rated by the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AiS) through their AiS Approved Safe Scheme. Your insurer may specify the rating that your safe needs to comply with your insurance policy.
4. Is it installed properly? – a closer look at how your safe is fixed down may reveal weaknesses in its installation, making it easier to remove. Old safes, even if they look heavy, can sometimes be an easier target.

If you have decided that your current safe is not good enough for the job, how do you go about choosing a new one?

How to buy the right safe for your business

Here are five simple steps to consider when buying a new safe for your retail or hospitality business:

1. Work out the size – consider the external dimensions so that you can fit it inside, as well as the internal dimensions so that it is big enough to hold the items that need securing, now and in the future
2. Choose the number and type of locks – there’s a lot of choice when it comes to locks so talk to a safe supplier like InSafe for advice.
3. Work out how you’ll get it there – not only does the final resting place of the safe need to be able to carry its loaded weight, but so does the floor that the safe needs to travel over to get there. Get a structural engineer or building surveyor to check if you’re not sure.
4. Think about location – have the safe professionally fixed to the structure of the building out of public view, including through windows, and make sure you can open the door fully once it’s installed. Put it in an alarm protected area, preferably with movement sensors covering it.
5. Consider your Grade – each grade of safe is awarded an overnight cash rating. Think about the amount of cash that will be kept in the safe overnight and choose based on this value.
6. Decide if you want a deposit facility – this allows cash to be deposited without the safe being opened.

Collateral damage of a stolen safe

It is also worth thinking about the indirect damage that having your safe stolen can cause to your business. Burglars intent on uprooting your safe are not worried about damaging your property in the process, but the potential monetary and time cost to you could be significant. These costs could be avoided by following the steps above.

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