Criminals know that warehouses and storage facilities contain vast quantities of valuable products they can readily sell on the black market. From food to clothing, they know there are plenty of potential customers looking for what they need at affordable prices.
The UK press is currently full of stories highlighting the current shoplifting and retail crime epidemic. Shops that previously may have suffered ten shoplifting incidents a month are now experiencing ten thefts a day, or more. And criminals are becoming increasingly brazen and aggressive.
Stores are forced to adopt increasingly stringent security and safety measures to protect their staff and prevent valuable products from being stolen from their shelves. Criminals know that UK police forces are stretched to capacity and over a third of current police officers have under five years experience on the force. Some forces have even stated they will not respond to reports of shoplifting unless violence is involved.
The result is higher prices in the stores and continuously high inflation as retailers need to pass on the costs of enhanced security and lost inventory to consumers. And the security challenge faced by retailers isn’t just limited to their store fronts or forecourts.
Warehouses Targeted by Criminals
Criminals know that warehouses and retail storage facilities tend to be unmanned at night and contain huge quantities of valuable products. Like shoplifting in the UK, criminal attacks on warehouses and storage depots are also escalating.
A gang of five men were arrested on suspicion of burglary after a business in the Barnstaple area of Devon was broken into. The police have purposely released minimal information but its understood that the criminals broke into a warehouse at 11pm on a Sunday night.
In Yorkshire thieves broke into the building of an outlet warehouse on an industrial estate in Hipperholme. Its understood they gained entry into the building by smashing three skylight windows. The criminals then drilled through the ceiling of the warehouse to gain entry into the storage room. They then stole the majority of the merchandise stored inside, valued at £500,000. In the process they caused a lot of damage and mayhem.
In another case three suspects reportedly robbed an AAH distribution centre in Ruislip, Middlesex. And in Cheshire hundreds of Evri parcels, worth tens of thousands, were stolen from a courier warehouse by brazen thieves who wheeled their booty down the street on pallets and in cages.
Essential Security for Warehouses
Warehouse security is vital to protect businesses from potential threats. Internal and external theft can result in significant financial losses and can also damage a businesses reputation. If a distribution centre can’t ensure the items they are distributing are kept in a safe environment then nobody will use their service.
Warehouse security processes and practices play a vital role in keeping potential threats at bay. The following are widely accepted as fundamental, essential aspects of warehouse security.
Warehouse Security Cameras and Surveillance
CCTV security cameras are now widely deployed to monitor warehouse environments and deter both theft and vandalism. A wide variety of camera systems are available today from fixed cameras to pan-tilt-zoom cameras that can automatically track movement. Many of today’s systems can be monitored via internet connections and will send automated alerts.
Warehouse Security Lighting
Poorly illuminated areas around warehouses provide criminals with the cover they like when attempting to break-in. Dark areas around a property can also present safety and security concerns for the staff who work there. It therefore makes sense to invest in good quality security lighting that’s perhaps triggered by movement. Some say that: “a well lit warehouse is a secure warehouse”.
Warehouse Security Alarms
Alarm systems are a fundamental tools in any warehouse security arsenal. Ensuring a property is protected with an up-to-date alarm system will deter potential thieves and provide peace of mind. Today’s alarm systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Some can issue silent alarms and alerts to the police or those responsible for premises security.
Warehouse Access Control Systems
Security cages and access control systems are another highly effective security measure for storage facilities. By restricting who can enter specific areas and who can open and access items securely locked away in cages the potential for theft is massively reduced.
Warehouse Inventory Tracking
Inventory tracking and warehouse and storage facilities involves monitoring the movement of products both coming in and going out. Tracking should also identify missing items and the point at which they were lost. A good inventory tracking system provides up to date and accurate inventory status reports and helps ensure product security.
Warehouse Perimeter Security
Perimeter security around warehouse premises is vital. Some storage facilities are surrounded by fences or walls which need to be maintained and possibly fortified to prevent people from climbing in. But many warehouse facilities don’t have perimeter walls so its important to consider how to protect areas such as warehouse rooftops where intruders might attempt to gain access via skylights.
Roller Barrier is already widely used to safely prevent climbers from scaling perimeter walls and fences as well as protecting rooftops from intruders.
Warehouse Window and Door Security
It is noteworthy that most burglars gain entry into properties via doors and windows. Window and door security around warehouse and storage facilities is therefore vitally important. All windows and doors must be closed and locked and its worth paying attention to aspects such as hinges, door frames and window frames. High quality locks should always be used and doors and windows can also be monitored by an alarm system.
Boosting Warehouse Security Awareness
Ensuring staff are all adequately trained and aware of warehouse security practices is vitally important. Its also beneficial to encourage staff to contribute their observations and recommendations to make their place of work more secure.