Burglary is a booming business. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, annual income for its practitioners is more than $1.6 billion, with much of that amount derived from small businesses. If you don't want to be tapped for an involuntary contribution by a representative of the trade, here are some security measures to consider.
* Call your local police department, specifically the crime prevention unit, and ask if an officer can conduct a security survey of your premises and offer recommendations.
* Keep careful records of keys that have been distributed and make sure that they are turned in when an employee leaves the company.
* Don't make access easy by having inside and outside doors that lock with a single master key.
* Install cylinder guards on locks and have dead bolts with at least a one-inch throw installed.
* Install proper lighting, especially around windows and large vents. Lighting is sufficient, says one big-city police department, if you can distinguish small headlines of a newspaper.
* Use mercury and metallic vapor lamps, which offer good outside lighting protection because they are unbreakable.
* Replace breakable glass with burglar-resistant glass (with a core of plastic between two panes) that can be broken only by continuous hammering.
* Install metal grills or wire mesh on basement windows.
* Advertise your security measures to the public by applying stickers to doors and windows with the name of your security alarm service.
Source: Insurance Information Institute, 110 William St., New York, NY 10038.