To report a crime involving a business, please dial 911 if the incident is:

  • an emergency
  • in progress
  • an immediate danger to yourself or someone else

Otherwise, please call 519-824-1212. or report online.

Burglary, robbery, and vandalism can be particularly devastating to businesses in terms of money, customers, and employee safety. Through crime prevention, business owners can protect their assets as well as their employees.

Laying a Foundation for Prevention

Business owners should take a hard look at their businesses in areas such as physical layout, number of employees, hiring practices, and overall security to determine vulnerability to various kinds of crime, from burglary to internal theft. Once this step has been taken, crime prevention measures can then be implemented.

  • Establish and enforce clear policies about employee theft, crime reporting, opening and closing the business, and other security procedures.
  • Provide training for all employees on security procedures.
  • Use good locks, safes, grills on windows, and alarm systems. Check with several companies and decide what level of security fits the needs of the business.
  • Keep detailed, up-to-date business records, such as inventories, serial numbers, bank records, and store back-up copies off premises. If a business is ever victimized, the owner can assess losses more easily and provide useful information for police investigations.
  • Engrave all valuable office equipment and tools with a unique identification number such as licence number. Do not use your Social Insurance Number. Mark equipment such as cash registers, printers, and computers.
  • Keep a record of all identification numbers off premises along with other important records.
  • Consider the cost of each security improvement made against the potential savings through loss reduction.

Remember to assess the impact on employees and customers. Since crimes against businesses are usually crimes of opportunity, failure to take good security precautions invites crime into a business.

Burglary Prevention

Windows should have secure locks and burglar-resistant glass or a security laminate installed. Consider installing bars, metal grates on all accessible windows except display windows. An expandable security gate can be used at closing for display windows and glass doors.

  • Remove all expensive items from window displays at night and make sure you can easily see into the business after closing.
  • Light the inside and outside of the business, especially around doors, windows, skylights, or other entry points. Consider installing covers over exterior lights and power sources to deter tampering.
  • Check the parking lot for good lighting and unobstructed views.
  • Keep the cash register in plain view from the outside of the business, so police and pedestrians can monitor it at all times. Leave it open and empty after closing. You can even put the empty cash tray on display.
  • Be sure the safe is fireproof and securely anchored. Leave it open when empty and use it to lock up valuables at close. Remember to change the combination when an employee who has had access to it leaves the business.
  • Before investing in an alarm system, check with several companies and decide what level of security fits the needs of the business. Install an audible alarm to deter an intruder from entering your business.  Learn how to use the system properly, check it daily, and run a test when closing.
Robbery Prevention

Robbery does not occur as often as other crimes against businesses, but the potential for loss can be much greater from a single incident. In addition, robbery involves force or threat of force.

  • Cooperate with the robber. Merchandise and cash can always be replaced, people cannot!
  • Employees should greet every person who enters the business in a friendly manner. Personal contact can discourage a would-be criminal.
  • Keep windows clear of displays or signs and make sure the business is well lit. Check the layout of the store to eliminate any blind spots that may hide a robbery in progress.
  • Provide information about the security systems to employees only on a “need-to-know” basis.
  • Instruct employees to report any suspicious activity or person immediately and write down the information for future reference.
  • Keep only small amounts of cash in the register to reduce possible losses. Use a drop safe where large bills and excess cash are dropped by employees and cannot be retrieved by them. Post signs alerting would-be robbers of this procedure.
  • Make bank deposits often and during business hours. Do not establish a pattern; take different routes at different times during the day.
  • Ensure the address is visible so emergency vehicles can easily find the business from the front and rear of the premise.
Vandalism Prevention

Annual damage estimates due to vandalism are in the billions, and businesses pass the costs on to customers through higher prices. Most vandals are young people, from teens to young adults.

  • Clean up vandalism once police officers have left the scene. Replace signs, repair equipment, paint over graffiti. Then, use landscape designs, building materials, lighting or fences to discourage vandals. Prickly shrubs, closely planted hedges and hard-to-mark surfaces can be effective in many circumstances.
  • Work with police to report vandalism. Remember, vandalism (mischief) is a crime. Call 9-1-1 if the crime is in progress or use the non-emergency number, 519-824-1212 if the incident has already happened.
  • Protect the business by installing and using good lighting, surveillance cameras and locking gates.
  • Talk with neighbouring businesses about vandalism to discuss its solutions.
Preserve Crime Scene
  • Protect the scene of the crime and stop others from disturbing the area where the crime occurred.
  • Do not touch any articles that may have been touched or left behind by the suspect.
  • Hold all witnesses until the police arrive. If they cannot stay, take their information (name, address and phone number).
  • Lock the doors and do not allow anyone in except the police when a robbery occurs, where no injuries have occurred.
  • Do not trust memory; try to write down all information immediately or take pictures if possible.
  • Do not discuss the crime until police interview you.
Identifying the Suspect
  • Practice identification with co-workers.
  • Purchase height strips. Place them on the doorframe of the entrance, and where valuable merchandise is stored.
  • Try to notice abnormalities, speech problems, tattoos or scars.
  • Notice type of build, or estimate weight.
  • Notice type and colour of clothing worn.
  • Notice direction of travel, try to get a description of the vehicle from any witnesses and write down the licence number.
  • Number of suspects involved.
Build Relationships
Merchants should collaborate to address problems that directly affect their business operations. This will assist with improving the streetscape and neighbourhood safety. Increased partnerships between business groups, private security, and police can enhance efforts to protect commercial areas.
Designing a safer property

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Brochure

Want your property/business assessed regarding CPTED concepts? Submit a request using the form below and an officer will attend your property/business to offer advice on how to minimize crime through CPTED. 


More Information about how to keep your residence safe, please visit our residential safety page.