5 Immediate Steps to Take After a Business Break-In

Running a business is difficult enough without having to worry about inadequate site security and commercial burglary. Mitigating the risk of commercial robbery is so stressful that many businesses simply hope it never happens rather than acting before it happens.

Unfortunately, commercial burglaries occur daily and cause significant damage to unprepared businesses. Here are three risk factors to consider when deciding whether your company should invest in a layered security system:

  • Assess the Prevalence of Theft in Your Area
    The location of your job site is an important factor in determining its vulnerability. If your business is in an area where commercial burglaries are common, you should consider installing an electric fence to protect it from the consequences of theft.

    Even if your site is not in a high-crime area, you should be concerned because of other factors. Many businesses, for example, are located in areas that are deserted at night and on weekends. Criminals are far more likely to commit a commercial burglary if they believe there is little chance of being caught by law enforcement, employees, or other witnesses.


  • Evaluate Valuable Equipment and Assets in Your Industry
    Before investing in a layered security system or an electric fence, consider the prevalence of commercial burglaries in your industry. The types of equipment stored on your commercial property will have a direct impact on your risk of burglary.

    Criminals are very opportunistic, seeking the highest payoff with the least amount of effort. This means that if your company works in an industry that involves heavy, expensive equipment, you are more likely to face theft.


  • Examine the Commercial Burglary History on Your Property
    Your prior experience with break-ins is a final risk factor for your job site. Unfortunately, if you’ve previously been targeted by criminals, you’re very likely to be targeted again. Crooks prefer the easiest target possible, so they rarely go out of their way to target highly secured sites. If your site is not secure, criminals will repeatedly attack you until you improve your security with deterrents such as an electric fence and warning signs.

    This claim is supported by data. 71% of commercial property criminals or vandals will return to businesses they have previously targeted. If you’ve been targeted, you must act quickly to address the issue before it worsens and you lose more money and time to another commercial burglary.


If your office is broken into, you must act quickly to secure the area, restore stability, and develop a strategic plan to prevent future incidents. Here are five steps to help you regain control immediately following a break-in:

1. Defend against further theft (short-term)

According to studies, 58% of break-ins involve forcible entry, such as a broken window or door. In these cases, the next step is to repair the point of entry as soon as possible to prevent a repeat burglary in the short term. Take photos of the broken window or door before having it repaired, as they may be useful when filing your police report and insurance claim.

If there are no obvious signs of forced entry, the thief most likely obtained a key or gained access to an electronic key card or password. In any case, change all passwords and locks in case the burglar obtained this information while inside.

Finally, keep an eye out for any electronic breaches. If the intruder gained access to your laptops or mobile devices, your company’s, employees, or clients’ data security may be jeopardised.

2. Internal communication is essential

When a break-in occurs, it is critical to notify your colleagues. While the threat of a break-in can create a tense environment, the following communication tips will help alleviate your employees’ initial concerns:

  • Assure them that a plan is in place to recover from and prevent future incidents.
  • Provide them with an updated security plan so they know what they can do to keep the workplace safe. Everyone is responsible for office security.
  • Make a secure environment in which people can turn in any evidence they find or provide any additional information that will assist the authorities. If any keys or notepads containing security codes have gone missing, it is critical that people feel free to come forward without fear of being blamed, punished, or fired. Gathering this data also allows you to strengthen your security programme and reduce the likelihood of a repeat incident.

3. Make a police report

Contact the police as soon as you realise your office has been broken into. Give them as much information as you can. They’ll want to come out and collect evidence. If you believe the break-in occurred several hours ago, call the non-emergency number. Only call the police if you believe the intruder is still inside the building.

While the police will collect evidence, you may want to document the incident for insurance purposes. Photograph any damage. However, you should not enter the building until the police have given the all-clear.

4. Contact your insurance provider

It is time to contact your insurance company after the police have gone out to collect evidence and you have had time to document damages and take inventory. Most of the time, you must contact them within 24 hours of the break-in.

They will begin to walk you through the claims process over the phone. This includes noting the information’s date and time, as well as a verbal account of the incident. The insurance company may then request photos, contact the police, and/or arrange for a visit for further investigation.

5. Reassess security procedures

You’ll eventually want to go over security procedures. For example, perhaps you require more surveillance cameras or that your surveillance cameras be positioned at various angles. Consider getting an alarm that will sound if your windows or doors are tampered with if you don’t already have one.

You should also look for weak points in your building, such as easily broken locks. Also, go over security procedures, such as proper closing procedures, with your employees. If you have an electronic keycode, remind employees not to give it to anyone else or leave it written down somewhere it could be stolen.



See our Leading Guide to Business Security in 2023.

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