by Rose Barrett
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While businesses all over Ireland may be filled with Christmas cheer, Ireland’s  largest privately owned Irish security company is urging businesses to take a few simple precautionary steps to ensure that it is only Santa who can get in without a key, and not the many opportunistic thieves who may not be filled with goodwill to all.

Jonathan Pim, Technical Services Director with Manguard Plus, a Guaranteed Irish company, warns that our environment is changing and people are becoming more vulnerable to this threat.

“We are living through quite strange times and this is definitely impacting on environmental threats and hazards for the public in general. While we at Manguard Plus have very large corporate clients whose security needs are undoubtably very specific, there is a common thread that runs across all professional security advice; that is awareness and prevention– simple things done well are hugely effective”.

I can’t stress the importance of situational awareness enough. This just means that you’re aware of what’s happening around you, you’re alert to bogus callers, you’re paying attention to people- it’s really a ‘healthy suspicion’ of what’s happening around you”.

“We use the Swiss Cheese Model when advising people around the measures they can take to protect themselves. James Reason coined this in 1990 and it’s such a clever and common sense way to illustrate how multiple little lapses in security add up to major breaches”. 

“One small example that illustrates this is ringing alarms. An alarm that continually rings is a sign to would be thieves that your premises is not monitored”

“Businesses need to be cognisant of their security and increased risks over the Christmas period as most offices will be closed:”

  1. Lock and Key:
    • Ensure all doors and windows are securely locked when the business is closed.
    • Alarms need to be turned on and should be monitored. Statistics show that if a burglar can’t access your property within 3 to 5 minutes, he/she will leave and go elsewhere. Sometimes the simplest and easiest measures can be the most effective.
  2. Employee Awareness:
    • Conduct a brief security refresher with your staff, emphasising the importance of keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.
  3. Online Safety:
    • Keep software and antivirus programs up-to-date to protect against cyber threats.
    • Be cautious of unsolicited emails or links and educate your team about phishing.
  4. Stock Control:
    • Keep a close eye on stock, especially high-value items.
    • CCTV is really important for generating alerts to activity when the building is closed and then helps as an audit tool if it is noticed later that there may have been stock loss.
  5. Visibility and Lighting:
    • Make sure the premises are well-lit inside and outside.
    • Adequate lighting can deter criminals and create a safer environment.

“For small businesses, the focus is often on cost-effective security measures that can be implemented without a significant financial burden. It’s important to strike a balance between security and budget constraints. At an absolute minimum business should have a monitored fire and intruder alarm, with CCTV for early warning and engage a key holder to respond to alarm activations particularly at night and weekends”.

“Manguard Plus can now install and maintain alarms and live CCTV which is a solution for so many businesses who simply don’t want the headache of engaging separate companies for individual fitting and for subsequent maintenance. This is a huge area for us and we are also creating more employment through offering apprenticeships for Security Engineers. We are augmenting our existing services with our new suite of cost effective technical solutions, meaning an even more comprehensive service for clients”.

For householders he offers this advice

“Burglars want to get in and out of your home easily, quickly and unnoticed; thieves want to be able to get their hands on your money without being noticed; they simply don’t want to get caught”.  

  • The most common times for home burglaries during the winter months is between 5pm and 9pm and this extends to 11pm from Thursday to Saturday. One third of burglaries happen through the front door.

“This information can help householders protect themselves”.

  • Go outside your home and try and think about how you would get in if you were locked out. This has the effect of getting you to think about how others see your home and how easy it is to access it.
  • Is there a window open, a tree you could climb, keys under the mat, a ladder lying around? Are overgrown bushes giving coverage to intruders? Are leaflets and other printed materials littering your porch? A few minutes doing a simple reconnaissance can protect you and what’s precious to you.
  • All homes should be fitted with an intruder alarm which should be monitored by an approved and licenced monitoring station.

Make sure your house alarm is on when you’re in the house, the system has a ‘part guard’ where the perimeter (doors and windows) can be armed and you can move freely throughout the house.

Burglars hate gravel as it makes noise. Make sure to use gravel wherever you can.

  • Invest in motion sensor lights. Everybody is conscious of rising energy prices and potential shortages so invest in LED lights that only turn on when there is activity detected.
  • Safes and lockboxes are well worth investing in, and you may save on insurance costs by having them installed.
  • Consider your circumstances, and if required you should consider having a panic alarm fitted as part of your alarm system. If you install panic alarms they should be located in the bedrooms and perhaps in the kitchen area.
  • Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras are an excellent deterrent and supplement the security you have in place

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