Dealing With Break-Ins: What to Do When Your Business Has Been Broken Into and Robbed

Dealing With Break-Ins: What to Do When Your Business Has Been Broken Into and Robbed

Staying calm, calling the police, documenting the damage, securing the crime scene, and contacting your insurance company are just among the first steps to take when your business has been broken into.

Overview of the Steps on What to Do After a Business Break-in / Robbery

Before we proceed to the detailed steps on what to do when your small business has been robbed, below is an overview of the key steps you should follow:

  1. Call the Police and File a Report
  2. Write Down Details About the Robbery
  3. Ask Witnesses to Stay on the Scene
  4. Secure the Crime Scene
  5. Document the Crime Scene Including Damages
  6. Create an Inventory of All Stolen Items & Damaged Property
  7. Cooperate with the Police
  8. Avoid Discussing the Crime With Other People
  9. Contact Your Insurance Company and File a Claim
  10. Cancel Everything, Regroup, and Communicate
  11. Clean Up the Scene

Additional Steps:

  1. Audit the Incident and Review Your Existing Security Protocols
  2. Update Your Security Plan and Implement New Security Measures 
  3. Get the Right Insurance

Scout Security’s private guards and mobile patrollers help prevent break-ins in your business through visible deterrence and constant patrols. They can also mitigate risks by contacting the police immediately in case of alarms as well as provide post-incident support.

Book a consultation with our security professionals in the Colorado Springs and Denver Metro areas now to get robust solutions.

11 Key Things to Do After Your Business Has Been Broken Into

To facilitate immediate response to the break-in incident, make law enforcement investigations easier, and secure your business while the investigation is ongoing, here are the detailed steps you can follow:

Things to do after your business has been broken into: Call the police | File a report | Write down details about the robbery

#1. Call the Police and File a Report

When you detect signs of a break-in at your business, such as a damaged door or broken window, contact the police immediately without entering the premises to minimize personal risk and liabilities. Remain outside and wait for law enforcement to arrive and secure the scene.

Always wait for the police before entering.

The burglar might still be inside and you could put yourself in danger or disrupt potential evidence. It prevents any confrontation with the perpetrator and avoids contaminating the crime scene which is crucial for the police investigation.

Do not touch anything to preserve the crime scene.

Keep the crime scene intact. Do not clean up any debris, touch security systems, or move anything until the police have completed their initial assessment. Disturbing the scene can destroy crucial evidence needed to catch the burglar and recover your stolen items.

File a police report.

You can file a police report either in person, at your local station, or online depending on your jurisdiction. You will need this report for insurance claims and legal purposes.

Security guards can help with alarm monitoring and response to ensure no time is wasted.

Also Read: Why Private Security and Law Enforcement Collaboration is Crucial

#2. Write Down Details About the Robbery

After discovering a break-in at your business and calling the police, document every detail promptly before you forget specific details about the incident.

Accurate, detailed descriptions aid police investigations and simplify insurance claims.

Specific details to write include:

  • Time of Discovery: Note when you found out about the robbery.
  • Damage Observed: Record all property damage you can identify. (More on this later.)
  • Intruder Description: If possible, describe the number of intruders, their approximate ages, physical appearances (hair color, build, height), and any distinctive features.
  • Method of Entry: Specify how they gained entry to your premises.
  • Stolen Items: List everything that was taken. (More on this later.)
  • Escape Details: Mention whether the intruders left by car, including a description of the car if you saw it.

Things to do after your business has been broken into: Ask witnesses to stay | Secure the scene | Document damages

#3. Ask Witnesses to Stay on the Scene

Encourage all witnesses, including employees, customers, and bystanders who were present during the incident, to remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives.

Assure them of their safety and that law enforcement is on their way. They can provide crucial details unnoticed by others that can help in a more thorough identification of the criminals. If witnesses must leave, collect their contact details and inform them that you will pass these to the police for investigation purposes.

Also Read: 12 Top Duties & Responsibilities of a Security Guard

#4. Secure the Crime Scene

Keep other people away from the scene to prevent tampering and protect yourself against potential injury claims from hazards such as shattered glass.

In addition, block off the area around your premises, including parking lots or adjacent spaces. You can use simple barriers like masking tape to mark these regions and instruct bystanders to stay clear.

Lock all doors that are still functional and restrict access to sensitive areas like the cash register or safe.

#5. Document the Crime Scene Including Damages

Before the police arrive (assuming that the break-in has already occurred and suspects are no longer at the scene), perform initial documentation of the crime scene using your smartphone or camera without altering or moving anything. This step is crucial for aiding police investigations.

A Few Tips to Follow When Taking Photos and Videos of the Scene

  • Capture multiple angles and focus on areas showing signs of forced entry, any damage, and spots where items are missing.
  • Important details to photograph include broken windows, damaged doors, security devices, fences, and disturbed safes or drawers.
  • Take as many photos and videos documenting all variations and details as possible. This will be beneficial because they can contain minor clues that can help with the investigation.

Share these files with the police and retain copies for your records to ensure you have backups of each image/video.

Once the police have finished their preliminary investigation and it’s safe to proceed, take additional detailed photos of the aftermath.

If possible, compare the photos with pre-incident photos and snap images of the receipts of the stolen or damaged items. This diligent documentation can help in recovering losses and facilitating a successful insurance claim.

Also Read: The Role of Security Guards in Emergency Response

Things to do after a business break-in: Create an inventory of stolen items | Cooperate with the police | Avoid discussing the crime

#6. Create an Inventory of All Stolen Items & Damaged Property 

After collecting detailed photos and videos, the next step is to determine which items are missing/damaged.

Tips to follow when creating an inventory of missing/damaged items after a break-in to streamline your recovery and compensation processes:

  • Assess the Loss: Use your inventory books for a more comprehensive and accurate assessment of missing/damaged items.
  • Involve Your Employees: Employees can help identify losses that you may have missed.
  • Document Ownership: Gather any proof of ownership like serial numbers, receipts, and pre-existing photos of the items.
  • Compile a Detailed List: Create a comprehensive list of all stolen or damaged items. Record descriptions, quantities, and estimated values. Ensure to include even seemingly insignificant items.
  • Prepare for Claims: Keep the police report number ready and compile all documentation (photos and receipts at the day of the incident) for the insurance adjuster who will be visiting your property to assess damages.

Also Read: How Can Uniformed Security Guards Deter Crime in Your Business?

#7. Cooperate With the Police

Be transparent with the police and provide all of the details you’ve listed and evidence you’ve gathered in the previous sections to them.

Information that you should provide to the police to increase the chances of recovering your stolen items and catching suspects include:

  • Details about the break-in (time and suspects)
  • Detailed list of stolen items and damages
  • Photos and videos of the scene
  • CCTV footage of the incident
  • Other relevant documentation

Also, consult with the police to determine the best course of action to take next and when you can safely reopen your business.

#8. Avoid Discussing the Crime With Other People

Limit the details you share when informing others, such as your family members or friends and even employees, of a break-in at your business.

Avoid discussing specific aspects, like the damages incurred and the amount of money or items stolen, especially with the media or online platforms. Only you and the police should know the exact values involved to prevent misinformation and protect sensitive data.

Conversations with your employees, neighboring businesses, and the media should strictly concern the incident’s occurrence, not the specifics.

Also Read: 10 Benefits of Hiring a Security Guard to Protect Your Business

Things to do after a business break-in: contact your insurance company | cancel everything | regroup | communicate | clean up the scene

#9. Contact Your Insurance Company and File a Claim

After informing the police about the break-in, contact your insurance provider immediately. Make sure that you understand your policy details, coverage, and claim procedures.

Insurance companies often require you to notify them as soon as possible to avoid delays and complications in your claim.

Be ready to provide the following for your initial call depending on the requirements of your insurance provider:

  • Your policy number
  • A summary of the incident (date, time, and location of the break-in)
  • The extent of the damages including a preliminary list of damaged/stolen items

Your insurer will guide you with the next steps which often include sending an adjuster to assess the damage and collect required documentation. So, make sure that you have all necessary documentation ready for review, including the police report, detailed inventory lists, and any relevant photos or video footage.

Also Read: How to Increase Business Security With a 24-Hour Guard

#10. Cancel Everything, Regroup, and Communicate

Following a break-in, prioritize securing your financial details which the suspects might have taken images of.

Freeze all accounts and cancel any compromised credit cards to prevent fraudulent activities. 

It is also important to reorganize and communicate effectively with your employees and customers who were present during the incident.

Below are the things you can do with your employees to reassure them of their safety:

  • Conduct a meeting to inform and reassure your team
  • Discuss the incident details, address safety concerns, and outline future security measures (more on this later)
  • Provide support through group counseling, especially for employees present during the break-in

For your customers, consider the following to keep their trust and minimize damage to your reputation:

  • Issuing a public statement or directly contacting affected individuals
  • Maintaining transparency about the break-in
  • Sharing what steps are being taken to secure their personal data and prevent future occurrences

As for adjusting your business operations after the incident, you should:

  • Temporarily close your business if necessary to cooperate with police investigations and to implement required repairs
  • Keep your employees updated about potential changes to their work hours and ongoing security strategies

Also Read: A Complete Guide to Ensuring Building Security: 11 Helpful Tips

#11. Clean Up the Scene

Finally, you can start restoring your business once the police and your insurance provider have given the signal for you to proceed. You can prioritize cleaning and fixing structural damage, organizing files, and replacing damaged equipment while listing down other missing items that you might have missed.

3 Additional Steps to Do to Strengthen Your Security Plan After a Business Break-In: Preparing for and Preventing Future Business Break-Ins

Additional Steps to Do to Strengthen Your Security Plan After a Business Break-In: Preparing for and Preventing Future Business Break-Ins

Organized retail theft (which leads to inventory shrinkage) is a common issue in the United States with businesses, including Target, even closing storefronts due to theft losses.

In fact, around 85% of small business retailers nationwide are experiencing theft at least once a year with monthly losses ranging from $500 to $2,500.

Thus, you must carry out additional steps after a break-in to better protect your customers and employees as well as your reputation and finances from future incidents. This includes evaluating and updating your current security protocols.

#1. Audit the Incident and Review Your Existing Security Protocols

Start by conducting a thorough audit of the incident to understand how the breach occurred to enhance your business’s security after a break-in.

Identify the method of entry and vulnerabilities in your security system, whether it was due to forced entry or taking advantage of security loopholes, such as an unlocked door or an unmonitored back entrance.

Key areas to review when evaluating your security protocol include:

  • Physical Entry Points: Examine doors, windows, gates, and other entry points to see if they meet current security standards (e.g. faulty and weak locks, codes that are easy to crack) and determine how the intruders got in.
  • Alarm Systems: Check if your alarm systems were activated during the break-in, why they failed, and consider their placement.
  • Surveillance Coverage: Assess the coverage and quality of your surveillance cameras. Identify any blind spots that may have allowed the intruder to enter undetected.
  • Access Controls: Review who can access your premises and how they gain entry (e.g. are you distributing too many keys and access cards?).
  • Cybersecurity Measures: If the break-in included a data breach, ensure your cybersecurity practices are robust. This includes up-to-date firewalls, antivirus software, and strong data encryption.
  • Existing Management: Analyze the break-in pattern to determine if the incident seemed to have been planned and the burglar had internal knowledge which may require changes in your hiring or management practices.

Also Read: 11 Problems a Security Guard Can Help You Solve

#2. Update Your Security Plan and Implement New Security Measures  

After pinpointing the vulnerabilities, develop a revised, comprehensive security plan to address these issues.

Here’s how to effectively strengthen your business’s security:

  • Upgrade Your Video Surveillance: Increase the number of cameras to cover blind spots and invest in high-resolution CCTV systems that maintain digital recordings on secure servers. This helps in identifying perpetrators more easily and deters potential criminals.
  • Enhanced Alarm Systems: Install comprehensive alarm systems including motion detectors and motion-activated lights at entry points to increase the risk of intruder detection.
  • Visible Security Measures: Make sure that security cameras are visible and install deterrence signage to warn potential thieves about surveillance and alarm systems on your premises.
  • Access Control Measures: Consider keyless entry. You can also provide your employees with proximity cards/badges for easier monitoring and access control. This ensures that only authorized personnel can enter your building at specific hours and helps in tracking unauthorized access attempts.
  • Minimize Available Cash: Reduce the risk of theft by limiting the cash on hand using drop safes that your employees don’t have a key to.
  • Change Locks and Passwords: Regularly update your locks and digital passwords to prevent unauthorized access from former employees or after a security breach.
  • Install Adequate Lighting: Ensure that all areas around your premises are well-lit to eliminate hiding spots for would-be criminals.
  • Regular Employee Training: Conduct training sessions for your employees on handling robbery situations and familiarize them with your updated security protocols and emergency procedures.
  • Improve Closing Procedures: Revise your daily closing procedures to ensure that access points are closed properly and valuables, like cash, are securely stored.
  • Hire Security Guards: Employ trained security guards (permanent or temporary at specific hours) to monitor your premises, especially during vulnerable hours or in high-risk areas based on local crime statistics.
  • Hire CCTV Operators: Professional video monitoring will significantly improve your crime prevention efforts and response to incidents to save you from financial losses.
  • Stay Informed on Local Crime: Keep yourself updated with local crime trends to adapt your security measures accordingly when there is a spike in criminal activity in your area.

You can collaborate with a reputable local security agency, like Scout Security, to review and upgrade your existing security protocols. We can provide customized recommendations to fit your specific needs and budget constraints.

Also Read: The Role of Security Guards in Retail & Commercial Properties

#3. Get the Right Insurance

Review your current insurance plans and consider obtaining additional coverage. Among the common business insurance types you can get include:

  • Commercial Property Insurance: Protects your inventory, equipment, and building
  • General Liability Insurance: Covers legal liabilities in case of injuries on your property during incidents such as robberies
  • Business Interruption Insurance: Compensates for lost income during periods your business is non-operational
  • Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): A comprehensive package that includes commercial property insurance, general liability insurance, business interruption insurance, and other additional coverages

Also Read:


What to do when your business is broken into?

The key things you need to do after a business break-in include contacting the police immediately, documenting any damage, taking inventory of your losses, and contacting your insurance provider.

How can I protect my business from burglary?

You can prevent the risk of burglaries in your business by improving your security measures such as:

– Installing proper lighting to eliminate shadows
– Reinforcing doors, windows, and other entry points
– Reducing on-hand cash after hours by using drop safes
– Installing sturdy fences around your property
– Installing comprehensive alarm and surveillance systems
– Hiring 24/7 on-site security guards

How can entrepreneurs protect their business from shoplifters?

Training your employees to be attentive to suspicious individuals can deter shoplifters. Aside from this, CCTV surveillance can make monitoring all parts of your store easier. Hiring a trained security guard is even better to effectively deter shoplifters.

How do you catch someone stealing from your business?

In the case of employee theft, the first step is to look for signs such as unusual occurrences in your workplace (e.g. missing merchandise, discrepancies of cash amounts, unlocked exits) and suspicious behavior such as poor work performance, unjustified complaints, and defensiveness.

Scout Security Can Help You Prevent Future Break-Ins Through Our Robust Security Solutions

Upgrading your security measures is the key to protecting your business from break-ins and other serious crimes. This includes hiring highly trained and certified security guards to monitor your premises regularly and identify early signs of break-ins.

Their vigilance and comprehensive training in dealing with various emergencies also allow them to respond promptly to break-in incidents before they escalate.

Contact Scout Security now and let us help you strengthen your security measures with our licensed and insured dedicated security guards, mobile patrollers, and CCTV operators in the Colorado Springs and Denver Metro areas!

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