Small Business
October 3, 2023
Crime Prevention
How to protect your small business from crime

How to protect your small business from crime

There are simple practical things you can do prevent crime in your small business – train staff in security procedures, keep things locked up, install cameras, alarms and signs and get to know your business neighbours.

Crime costs businesses billions of dollars each year – whether that be through burglary, robbery, shoplifting, property damage, scams, employee theft, fraud or data breaches.

It can be particularly devasting to a small business, who can lose customers, staff, precious assets and money, let alone the motivation to recover and move on.

Despite the challenges in funds and staff numbers that many small businesses face, there are cost-effective strategies you can take to protect your business from crime.

1. Set up a security system

  • Installing a monitored security system will not only help you and police in the event of a theft, it will also act as a deterrent for potential thieves.
  • Make sure cameras are visible or display signs that tell customers that a security system is in place.

2. Make sure the outside of your business protects the inside

  • Make sure your business is visible by using good exterior lighting.
  • Install sensor lights in dark areas around the premises so they light up if someone approaches.
  • Keep any outside shrubbery neat and tidy 
  • Remove potential climbing aids like skip bins, trees or ladders near windows or roofs.
  • Consider installing bollards across the front of your business to stop possible ram raids.

3. Use your entries and exits

  • Use electronic sensors to alert staff when someone enters or exits the business
  • Avoid placing large, solid items, like blinds, shelves or signage near the entry to keep the view in to and out of your business clear and eliminate any potential hiding spots for thieves. 

4. Work with staff to secure your business

  • Train staff on security protocols so they know what to do to help secure your business.
  • Provide staff with written procedures so they can correctly follow any security measures you have in place. 
  • Ensure staff know what to do when closing the business prevent after-hours break-ins. Often thieves target businesses outside of trade hours, as there won’t be people around.
  • Educate staff in the best practices for managing stock, customers and payments. 

5. Control access

  • Make sure all doors and windows have strong, good quality locks, including skylights and access holes.
  • Regular re-key locks and update any access codes.
  • Keep track of which third parties, such as cleaners or contractors, have keys or access cards. 

6. Handle cash responsibly

  • Avoid keeping large amounts of cash on site outside of trading hours.
  • Put up signs telling people that cash is not kept on the premises.
  • Regularly deposit cash at the bank, preferably during banking hours. 
  • If you do banking during the day, try and change up your routine to avoid banking during regular and predictable times.

7. Reduce the temptation for thieves

  • Lock expensive stock away in cabinets.
  • Use electronic security tags on your stock
  • Display signage alerting potential thieves to security cameras, lack of cash and security tags. 
  • Make sure staff have a clear view of shelves and racks and regular move around the store.

8. Make payment processes secure

  • Make sure your business uses the latest EMV chip-enabled credit card terminals.
  • Ensure payment processing equipment and software are secure, up-to-date and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant.
  • Restrict access to payment information, such as credit card numbers, expiry dates and CVV codes to authorised personnel only.
  • Consider investing in fraud detection software to spot any suspicious transactions. 
  • Use a secure payment gateway for any online transactions and implement additional measures such as two-factor autenication or CAPTCHA.

9. Guard against scams

  • Be cautious: Don’t immediately agree to deals. Always request written offers and seek advice.
  • Secure your data: Regularly back up business data, ensuring offsite and offline storage.
  • Verify payments: Never give out business banking details casually. Have a clear process for verifying and paying invoices.

10. Get to know your business neighbours

  • Engaging with your local business community can be a powerful preventive measure. When people come together as a community, they not only feel safer, they are safer.
  • Reach out to your neighbouring businesses and connect via a private Facebook Group or What’s App.  Stay in touch, keep an eye out for one another and report any suspicious behaviour to police. 
  • Consider forming a Neighbourhood Watch business group for mutual support and shared strategies. we would be happy to meet with you to provide advice and motivation. Email for more information.

Get Police Assistance

For all emergencies and immediate Police assistance
Call: 000
To report non-urgent crimes or events 24 hours a day
Call: 131 444
To report information about a crime contact Crime Stoppers on
1800 333 000

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Neighbourhood Watch Victoria acknowledges the 38 mobs, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live, and gather as employees and volunteers. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

At Neighbourhood Watch, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome. We are committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion and equity are embedded throughout our organisation – in the work we do, the services we deliver and among our staff, volunteers, and the communities we work with.