Climate changes are producing deadly tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes — not to mention destructive superstorms that can carry heavy amounts of rain and snow with sustained wind gusts that may exceed 60 mph. These types of natural disasters can create massive floods and mudslides, dangerous road conditions and structural damage.
Besides weather-related catastrophes, there are man-made disasters. They may include explosions, fires, chemical spills, acts of terrorism or transportation accidents. The calamities can destroy property, inflict injuries, cause deaths and create economic hardships for communities.
Communities that experience a significant disaster event may lose power and be left without water, food and fuel, thus generating chaos. In a disastrous situation, there is the potential for unlawful behavior to occur. Thus, you should have a plan to protect your business from pillaging.
Theft Hurts the Financial Stability of Businesses
When products are stolen, a business’s profit and revenue are negatively impacted. To compensate for a decrease in income, a business owner may absorb the expense or increase the price of their merchandise. Both options have drawbacks because they may become too expensive for a business to sustain and customers may not want to pay a higher price.
According to the National Retail Security Survey 2017, thefts in 2016 translated to 1.44 percent of sales. Shrinkage is divided into four categories, and shoplifting and organized retail crime account for 36.5 percent of inventory loss. The cost of retail inventory shrinkage for businesses in the same year was $48.9 billion.
Shoplifting is a never-ending problem for businesses. But, there are measures business owners can institute to reduce the likelihood of theft. Business owners can add an alert mechanism to the front door so they can monitor customers entering and exiting; keep expensive items close to the checkout register; use electronic tags; set up in-store cameras; and consider hiring a security guard.
Looting Becomes a Problem After Disasters
After a disaster, law enforcement may be busy taking care of their own families, rescuing injured or displaced people or trying to restore order. And many residents are forced to evacuate, which leaves houses and businesses vacant. During this unsettled time, theft, robberies and looting may take place, which can put your business at risk.
What is looting, and who is a looter? Typically, looting is the theft of goods during a time of turmoil, and a looter is a person who steals from a business during the disorderly aftermath of a disaster. In states like Texas, stricter penalties are imposed for individuals who are convicted of property crimes such as theft and burglary during a state of emergency.
As far as official looting crime statistics go, there are none. That is because it is difficult to determine if the looting took place in the wake of a disaster, and many communities interpret the act differently, so available statistics may classify it as theft or burglary. For 2017, DisasterCenter.com recorded that the number of property crimes committed in the United States were 1,694.4 larceny and thefts and 430.4 burglaries.
Securing Your Business and Data
You should take steps to prepare for an incoming storm. Cover your windows with plywood so they cannot be smashed by wind, flying debris or thieves trying to break into your business. In addition, installing a security door that is fireproof or bulletproof with keyless entry access may deter intruders.
Purchase surveillance cameras and an alarm system. All-weather cameras can withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures, wet conditions and strong winds. Investing in insurance may also help you recoup some of the costs associated with losing inventory or equipment that is damaged or stolen.
Stolen data is another concern for business owners, so you need to take precautions. Cloud storage systems will protect your data from hackers and cybercriminals. Your files should be backed up on a cloud or off-site location to avoid a data breach. This is especially true if you operate a healthcare-based business, where data is often legally protected and extremely sensitive.
Make Sure Your Business Is Ready to Survive a Disaster
Without a disaster recovery plan, businesses may fail. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that, following a disaster, approximately 40 to 60 percent of small business never reopen. Plus, 90 percent of small companies go out of business when they remain closed for at least five days or more.
A disaster preparation plan can help you keep your business, inventory, finances and data secure. Business owners should know what they have in stock before a storm hits. And, if a warning is issued about an imminent disaster, you should take time to properly shutter your business.
It is better to be proactive instead of hoping everything will turn out okay. When you have a plan worked out ahead of time, you may improve your chances of professionally surviving a disaster. By developing a security strategy, you are ensuring that you will not become a victim of shoplifting, looting or burglary, and a disaster plan can assist you with keeping your business intact.
Brooke Faulkner writes and raises her sons in the Pacific Northwest. She is always looking for ways to make healthy living an accessible part of every day life. Find more of her writing on twitter, @faulknercreek