Telling ne’er-do-wells that you’ll call the police is an excellent deterrent… if you know they’ll respond right away.
The fact is, many recycling facilities, junkyards, and similar industrial spaces are comparatively remote. (They need to be, to afford the sort of land and space required for the business!) Police and emergency responders might not be able to access these locations right away.
The trick, then, is knowing how to secure your valuables in such a way that it takes up more of the criminal’s time and energy, “stalling” them until help arrives. (Or, in a best-case scenario, discouraging the thief from robbing you altogether!)
Here are four great starting points to better secure your business starting today—and many of them don’t cost a dime.
1. Block Easy Access Points with Gates (or Vehicles)
You need a way to keep people from easily accessing your property in the first place. A recycling yard without a gate across its main thoroughfare is asking for trouble.
Invest in a reliable security gate—one with remote access to grant local authorities access to your site in case of emergencies. Then, don’t allow anyone but the site manager to know the access code.
Since it’s a remote access gate, the manager doesn’t have to be on-site to approve or deny access. And, limiting who knows the code will prevent its abuse by irresponsible employees.
In the meantime, see if you can park large vehicles in front of the most vulnerable areas and access points. Physically barring roads will prevent thieves from easily reaching areas with a truck to ferry their ill-gotten goods away.
Instead, they’ll have to haul it by hand back to the truck, which eats up their time. That delay gives police time to arrive and arrest the crooks.
2. Secure Loose Valuables Behind Metal Walls and Locks
Thieves look for “easy” wins, so make your most valuable and portable inventory challenging to steal.
Lock your already extracted catalytic converters, air conditioner parts, small (but dense) copper objects, and other portable non-ferrous objects away at the end of every day. The storage doesn’t have to be fancy or permanent. A metal bulk storage box that’s too big to put on a pickup truck bed can do as a temporary holding space.
Make sure you lock the box with a heavy-duty padlock and chain, too. Thieves might cut through the chain or the lock, of course. However, this impediment will delay the determined and dissuade those there for easy pickings.
(If you’re looking for something a bit more permanent and forward-looking, consider extending your remote access control capabilities from your gate to other doors on-site. They’d be much more secure—and difficult to cut through—than a chain-and-padlock.)
3. Practice Smart Key Management
We talk to our dealership clients about good key management when it comes to their car inventory and sales practices. However, a similar concept applies to recycling centers and other fixed industrial businesses.
This tactic starts with our earlier recommendation of only allowing your on-site management to know the gate’s access code, but applies elsewhere, too. Nobody needs access to every room or item on-site.
Therefore, management should be willing to open doors when necessary for everyday employees. They should not release codes or give keys to unauthorized personnel for the sake of temporary convenience. (“I’m busy—here’s the key to the non-ferrous shed” can quickly turn into a copied key and a future security breach.)
4. Invite the Cops to the Party Early
If you’re tired of the police arriving too late to be effective, imagine their frustration! They’ve wasted time and resources responding to calls they haven’t had a hope of resolving.
So, why not reach out pre-emptively? If your site has a track record of ongoing crime, then it makes sense for the police—barring catastrophes—to schedule a visit to your facility.
They can’t be there every night, of course, but your upper management can coordinate with their dispatcher to have police arrive before crime has historically happened. (This step requires you to keep a log of all incidents and times, so you can see and cite these patterns.)
Make sure your regular employees don’t know that the cops are going to visit on a particular night. Ongoing theft may indicate illegal collusion between your on-site staff and the actual thieves, and you don’t want to tip them off.
Finally, make sure you give the police the “best places” to see and not be seen. Their visible presence might deter burglars for a night or a week. However, by the time you’re calling in the police, then you want these people caught as an example to future thieves. Set the professional criminal catchers up to succeed. They’ll be grateful that you haven’t wasted their time.
What’ve you tried that’s helped deter crime on your out-of-the-way recycling lot or industrial facility? We’ve got some ideas but would like to hear what’s worked (or hasn’t worked) for you.