Business security checklist

Protecting your business using the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles.

Landscaping and architectural designs

  • Ensure shrubs and trees don't create blind spots or hiding places.
  • Trim bushes and hedges to a maximum height of three feet.
  • Use walkways and landscaping to direct visitors to the proper entrance and away from private areas.
  • Sidewalks, parking lots, doorways and all areas of the property should be well lit.
  • Remove objects that may provide informal seating for loiterers.
  • Recessed doorways can provide cover for criminal behaviour or loitering. Change these to be flush with the walls, or install gates.
  • Prevent easy access to the roof or fire escape from the ground.

Controlling access to your business

  • Locate your cash register at the front of the store, near the door, where itʼs visible from
  • Ensure public paths are clearly marked.
  • Use signs to direct customers to parking and business entrances.
  • Only provide rear access to your business from rear parking lots.

Light up at night

  • Light up all entrances, including alleys, with vandal-proof fixtures.
  • Leave some lights on inside your premises; white metal abide lights should be used.

Natural surveillance

  • Maintain clear visibility from the store to the street and sidewalk or parking areas.
  • Window signs should cover no more than 15 per cent of windows. Keep shelves and displays five feet high or less, especially in front of windows, for visibility.
  • Keep weeds, shrubbery and debris away from your doors and windows. Don't provide thieves with places to hide, or climbing platforms
  • Monitor all entrances through visual or electronic surveillance.

Commercial storefronts

  • Use cash drop safes during lower traffic hours.
  • Avoid having a single employee make after-hours bank deposits.
  • Install and monitor video cameras, but hide VCRs (supply a decoy).
  • Provide employees with safety training.
  • Securely lock rear entrances.
  • Use secure doors and frames.
  • Put 180 degree door viewers in rear security doors.

Management tips

  • Your business hours should be the same as those of neighbouring businesses.
  • Night time employees should have access to safe, visible parking located close to the entrance.
  • Put a cash limit, such as $50, in place. Train employees to check regularly for cash over the limit and to place it in a drop safe that they can't open. Then post a sign that the maximum amount of cash in register is $50. 
  • If it isn't possible to have a safe, don't place large bills under the cash register – find a safe
    alternate hiding place.
  • Try to have two staff on hand at opening and closing times as these are attractive times for robbers.
  • Train employees to be alert for suspicious persons and call the RCMP or store security if they notice suspicious activity. Parked cars and telephone booths are common outdoor observation spots.
  • Watch for customers who seem to be loitering or glancing around the store while shopping or browsing a magazine, or who seem nervous or rushed.
  • Check all doors and windows at closing time.
  • Keep side or back doors locked at all times and have employees use the main entrance.
  • Work with other businesses in the area to promote shopper and business safety and address special security issues.

Other security options

  • Install a monitored alarm system and post a conspicuous notice that you have one.
  • Install video cameras and post signs advising that the area is under video surveillance.
  • Place height markers at the main entrance so employees can use them to gauge the height of a robber as he/she leaves your business. Place strips of differently coloured tape at the 5 feet, 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet heights.

Read more details in our Protecting Your Business Brochure (pdf).