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Business Burglary Information

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There were 322 non-residential burglaries committed in Enid. Still, that is almost one burglary a day. The average loss to these burglaries was $1,044; much higher than the average loss to residential burglary. Based on those incidents where we could determine the approximate time of the offense, 91% of the time these happened at night. That is not surprising really, but that 9% happened in the day time perhaps is.

Where are they getting in? A four month study shows they used the front door 28% of the time, the favorite point of entry. Next on the list came a rear window (16% of the time). This was followed by a rear door (15%), and then a storage building door (10%). The front window stood a 6% chance of being used, a gate or fence 5% and the roof 4%. These accounted for 85% of all entry points. To save space we'll leave it there.

Front doorHow are they getting in? Thirty-eight percent of the time a door or window was pried open. Twenty-five percent of the time glass was broken. Sixteen percent of the time "cutting" was used, primarily to padlocks. Brute force was used 12% of the time, usually against a door. Six percent of the time the structure was left unlocked at some point. And in 3% of the cases the glass was carefully removed from the window intact.

Where do we start to reduce our risk of a break-in? The front and back doors accounted for 43% of all entries. This seems a good place to start. Many businesses give more thought to protecting the back door than the front. The front was used more often. They both should be considered at least equally.

Depending on the type of door, it is typically pried open, has glass broken, or is kicked open. Prying is hard to defeat. Two people might be used on the bar. The bar can be quite long. And because there is less danger of being seen in a deserted business district, there is more time to pry on it.

We must start with a solid door and frame. Back doors might be blocked with a cross-bar. Multiple locks make prying harder. A combination of a double cylinder deadbolt lock and, if the door is designed to allow it, a drop bolt "rim lock" with a vertical interlock might be considered. The double cylinder deadbolt helps to prevent entry when glass is broken to reach in and unlock the door or window. In addition deadbolts can be purchased the 2" bolts to make prying harder. The "rim lock" with the vertical interlock actually fastens the door to the frame as opposed to simply sliding a bolt into the frame.

DeadboltThe strike plate is the metal piece on the frame which covers the bolt hole. On wooden frame doors especially, the strike plate should be installed with two and a half to three inch screws instead of the smaller screws usually used. This will strengthen both the strike plate and the frame. heavy duty or high security strike plates can also be purchased to harden this point.

The burglar will often break out enough glass to actually climb into the structure. This is unlike a residential burglary where glass is normally only broken to reach in and unlock. If you have easily portable stock such as guns, auto parts, small appliances, etc., you may want to seriously consider bars or metal grill work to cover your windows at least high enough to prevent entry. Otherwise even with an alarm the burglar may be able to get in and get out with an armload before the police arrive. Our average alarm response is 4 minutes. But there have been cases when we responded in less than a minute and the burglar and the property were already gone.

For obvious reasons it is usually a wooden door, or a door with a wooden frame that is kicked open. A door's ability to resist kicking is dependent on the strength of the door, the lock, the frame, and the strike plate. While it does not usually occur, it's possible to kick a weak door and break the door itself. Also the lock bolt or inner workings can be deformed and broken. Most often though it is the frame and or the strike plate which give way. If the frame is not securely fastened to the structure it can be literally be kicked out of the doorway. If the strike plate is installed with short screws, it can be ripped off across the frame when struck.

What about rear windows? Depending on the type of window, "pinning" can help prevent breakage to reach in and unlock. Pinning is simply blocking the window with a nail dropped into a hole drilled into the window's track. In practice use a nail on each side of the window. Then the window can only be raised far enough to strike the nails and stop. Allowing the window to open six inches or so before stopping will help defeat the mechanical advantage of a pry bar. Pinning will not stop breakage to crawl in. Bars, grillwork, or small windows may be the answer. When you install bars be sure the removal of only one bar will not leave an opening large enough to squeeze through.

PadlockPadlocks are used by some businesses to secure entry doors and by most people to lock storage buildings. The hasp itself may be the weakest point. Installed with swallow screws it's easily pried off. Use long screws into the frame and bolts with washers through the door. Padlocks are not usually recommended for entry doors, but if you must use one, use a good one. A padlock made of "case-hardened" steal with a large shackle will be harder to cut. It is possible to build a metal box with an open bottom around the padlock to protect it from cutting.

Roof entries are rare. But they do offer several advantages to the burglar, not the least of which is being well hidden while attempting entry. Don't make it easy for him to get to the roof in the first place. If possible, see that antennas, fences, and utility poles and low out buildings are set back away from the main building. This will prevent their use as stepping stones to the roof. If moving them is not possible you may be able to build a barrier around poles and antennas that will make it difficult to climb up them past a certain point. The installation of a high, bright light mounted on an off set pole or the roof itself may have a deterring affect and make it easier to see anyone on the roof.

Burglars will use a skylight of course but these are becoming less common. Air conditioning duct work on the roof is now popular. Here install stout screening or grill work over the vent openings. At times the burglars will simply break through the roof and ceiling. An alarm system with a motion detector can signal a break in made this way. This will not prevent entry, but it won't go undetected.

While all businesses are at risk to burglary, some in 1988 could be clearly identified as more at risk. These were bars and clubs, restaurants and drive-ins, and automotive parts and services stores. Certain parts of the city were also at a higher risk. The square mile area surrounded by Chestnut/Garriott/Van Buren/4th had one-fifth or all non-residential burglary. The area surrounded by Chestnut/Garriott/4th/16th, had 11%. Garriott /Rupe/Van Buren/4th had 9%. These three square miles and 40% of all non-residential burglary in 1988.

Remove all money from the cash registers and leave them open so its known they are empty. This will prevent damage to them while trying to open them, or the actual theft of the machines. If possible, remove the money and leave the coin-boxes of your coin operated machines out for the same reasons.

If you have a safe to avoid making deposits at night, do not keep more than one night's receipts in it. Don't get caught with a full day's worth, or worse a whole week-end's receipts. No matter how heavy you think the safe is, have it securely fastened to the building. Otherwise they will take the whole thing. If it is practical to do so, place the safe near a street side window. Someone trying to break into it (a long job usually) might be seen from the street. But if you do this, make doubly sure the safe is secured to the floor or building. Otherwise they will hook a chain to it and yank it out the window with a vehicle.

Some stock might be secured in a separate locked room or cage. This slows the burglar down and he might choose to by-pass this for less expensive but more readily available items.

Above all, do not take the position that nothing can be done. True they are clever and skillful sometimes, but most burglars are rather unsophisticated. Often, very simple means will stop them. Most of the suggestions made here are relatively inexpensive. Opening your door to burglary certainly does not protect you. It only serves to encourage those that would steal from you. Don't encourage them.