Several years ago the owners of an industrial building on Chicago's West Side got fed up with overnight break-ins, so they one day installed an expensive burglar alarm. It didn't quite do the trick: by the next morning, the system had been silently ripped off, bells and all.

It's too late for those owners, but today's equally nervous proprietors will find that a new book, Crimeproofing Your Business, by Russell Bintliff (McGraw-Hill; 1994; paperback, $16.95; hardcover, $34.95), provides workable answers to their security concerns. The book tells how to defend against just about any misdeed that can befall a commercial operation. And we mean anything: on the grounds that you can't be too careful, the author, a security consultant, assumes the worst of workers, customers, suppliers, competitors, and passing dogs. Categories of protection range from psychological tests to ensure that you hire honest employees, to what observations you should make when you're the victim of an armed robbery. (Was the back of the robber's head "bulging" or "flat"?) Other topics in the copiously illustrated book: building exteriors, locks, alarms, lighting, inventory controls, bad checks, credit-card fraud, counterfeit money and coupons, shielding of vital information, finance and accounting safeguards, and cargo diversion. All this may be gilding the lily. But since it's estimated that the impact of crime on business will exceed $200 billion by the year 2000, one can't be too careful. Indeed, if you have security problems that aren't covered in these 350-plus pages, you'd better up your insurance.

* * *