9 Things to Keep in Mind When Setting Up a Safe
Your safe is not an impenetrable fortress protecting your jewelry stock. In fact, UL and ULC (Underwriters Laboratories, US and Canada) rate safes according to what is required to defeat them. The assumption is that, given enough time using the right tools, criminals can indeed gain access to any safe’s contents.
Accordingly, a key step in securing your merchandise is ensuring that criminals will not have unlimited and undetected access to your safe. This is why you need to have a UL-certified burglar alarm with line security, right?
Criminals, however, are not easily deterred.
Some have found a way around the challenges presented by your store’s burglar-alarm and security-surveillance systems. What if they could attack your safe and eventually compromise it without ever entering your business premises?
You might be surprised at how often this happens and find yourself asking, "How do criminals break into safes?"
Here is how it works:
Burglars case your business posing as customers, service providers, or delivery people, but are actually trying to determine where your safe is located. If it is positioned close enough to a “party wall” (a common wall adjoining another facility that is vacant or has less security) or to a wall adjoining a concealed outdoor area, you’re now a target.
The burglars count ceiling tiles to precisely pinpoint the location of your safe. Then they break or cut their way through the wall and attack your safe from an unprotected area on the other side of the wall.
Take these precautions to prevent an attack on your safe from outside of your store:
- Do not position your safe against or close to a party wall or an exterior wall. Be particularly wary if your business is in a strip mall or multistory building, especially when an adjoining area is vacant.
- Remember that the same concerns could apply to the ceiling above and the floor below your safe.
- Consider installing additional motion detection for your alarm system to cover any crawl spaces above the ceiling or below the floor.
- If a space adjoining your business is vacant, ask the property owner if you could place motion sensors in that area.
- If you have more than one safe, spread your risk! Locate each safe in a different part of your facility.
- Also consider lines of sight. Is your safe located such that a “customer” or even someone peering in through a window with binoculars could observe your entering the safe’s combination?
- Where do you have your safe combination written down? Is it in a secure location? The answer is “NO”! Jewelers Mutual recommends having no written record of your combination(s). Memorize them.
- Periodically take an inventory of associates who know your safe’s combination. Has anything changed — an employee’s departure, a change in the level of shared trust, etc. — that would make re-setting the combination advisable?
- Make sure your safe receives an annual inspection and routine maintenance. Failure to routinely inspect and service safes has resulted in jewelers’ being locked out of their safes. The “fix” — getting the lock drilled out — is expensive and could damage your safe.
Are you already taking these precautions? If you are, great! The rest of your physical security is probably on point then too, but how about your electronic and procedural security? Learn why a well-rounded PEP approach to security is needed to maximize your efforts across the board!