• Santa Maria Police Department Provides Tips for Businesses to Help Prevent Burglaries

    Is your businesses well protected from a possible break-in? Do you know what steps to take if your business is broken in to?

    Many businesses think their business is secure, but in reality there are some easy steps to help keep your business safe that often get overlooked.

    We recently talked with Santa Maria Police Department Lt. Terry A. Flaa, who gave use some tips on how businesses can make sure they are being proactive in preventing burglaries.

    What is the most common way people break into local businesses?

    There are two common methods suspects enter a closed and secured business:

    1) Force / pry open a locked door;

    2) Break / shatter window(s).

    What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses make when it comes to securing their property from theft/break-ins?

    Some business fail to properly lock all doors and windows. Others do not take preventative measures such as proper lighting, high quality video surveillance systems, and audible burglar alarms.

    What are your top tips for local businesses to help prevent break-ins?

    Use motion sensor flood / security lights around the perimeter and inside the business during hours of darkness. Burglars prefer to operate in darkness to avoid detection. The use of lighting increases the risk of getting caught.

    Install an alarm system, preferably an audible alarm during hours of closure. Once activated, the loud alarm is more likely to capture the attention of people in the area, thereby causing the suspect(s) to flee.

    Secure items of value in a safe that is properly locked and secured to the floor and/or structure. Avoid keeping personal items of value or significance (i.e., identification, personal paperwork, personal money, etc.…) at your place of business. By doing so, business owners not only run the risk of having their business victimized but also run the risk of being the victim of identity theft and/or sustain heavy personal financial losses.

    If a business discovers they have been broken in to, what steps should they take?

    If a business owner or employee discover their business has been broken in to, the best course of action is to back out of the structure and immediately call their local law enforcement agency to report the crime. This is recommended because the owner and/or employee does not know if the suspect is still in the business. Their personal safety is always priority, so leaving is the best option.

    While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, maintain watch over your business from a distance and be prepared to share any suspicious activity seen with law enforcement. When the police arrive, they will search the interior of your business to ensure it is clear of any suspects.

    Any additional thoughts you would like businesses to know when it comes to break-ins and keeping their business safe and secure?

    The Santa Maria Police Department is committed to providing our community with quality of law enforcement services. Business owners that implement the suggested preventative measures can expect to lower their risk of being a victim of commercial burglary.

    We encourage business owners and employees to know how to view and save their video surveillance footage. By providing officers with copies of surveillance footage quickly, pertinent suspect information can be shared with other officers and community members in a timely manner, thereby increasing the likelihood of suspect identification. If you would like more information on video surveillance and cameras, the Santa Maria Police Department has provided information on Flock cameras, as well as their benefits. You can find more information for these at the links below!

    Flock Cameras

    Benefits of Data Sharing