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December 20, 2017

Leave the Lights On!

By John Bocker, NSSF Security Consultant Team Member

The only people not taking downtime during the holidays are the criminals.

We all need a few days off to celebrate and ring in the holidays — and the bad guys are counting on the fact you do just that! Trends show burglars committing their crimes when law enforcement staffing is stretched thin or even minimized with officers taking their own vacation time, and you can count on that being the case on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and Day. History shows that criminals will be out and stalking their next prey.

Use the following physical security checklist as you prepare your facility for your extended holiday closing;

  1. If possible, remove handguns from easily accessible showcases and secure in floor display safes, back-stock safes or behind locked doors (stockrooms, offices, etc.).
  2. Plan ahead and purchase shielded wire cables from your hardware store and string cables through long-gun trigger guards and secure to display fixtures with padlocks.
  3. Create signs that state “All Guns Removed for the Holiday” and tape them to your front and rear windows to alert would-be burglars that you planned accordingly.
  4. Leave all interior lights on to create the impression of staff onsite and working at all hours. This also allows all cars and police passing by to have full view of your store’s interior.
  5. Test your video recording system and make sure your cameras are all functioning properly and your DVRs are recording all cameras.
  6. Conduct an alarm test through to your central station to ensure your door contacts, motion sensors and other devices are working correctly.
  7. Make sure your alarm call list is updated with current phone numbers and everyone knows they are on call for emergency response on these otherwise festive evenings.
  8. Replace all burned out light bulbs in parking and perimeter lights.
  9. Make sure all roof hatches and access panels are locked and secured.
  10. Move display gun safes or other stacked pallets of merchandise to the front of your store to prevent easy access by smash-and-grab vandals. It takes only two or three minutes for the bad guys to crash in, ransack and leave your location with stolen firearms. Do your best to slow down this process and create obstacles to easy and quick access.
  11. Park vehicles in front of main entries and exits, including fire doors if possible. This may mean using delivery vehicles and personal employee cars as a deterrent for a few nights, but it can certainly be worth the effort. This is also a great substitute for not having bollards already installed outside.
  12. Block rear fire and receiving area exits with pallets and gun safes, but do so only when you close the business for the day. (Remember your “life safety” rules — you don’t want to block fire exits when anyone is in the store.)

NSSF’s Store Security Audit team is standing by to assist you with physical or operational security and safety issue, including post-burglary crisis management. NSSF also partners with a variety of security product vendors. Login to the NSSF Member portal to discover more.

About the Author
John Bocker is an NSSF Security Consultant Team Member and the Managing Director at JB Group, LLC, based in Denver, Colorado. JB Group is a firearms security and strategy consulting organization specializing in ATF FFL compliance and protecting FFL’s against unexpected losses resulting from burglary, robbery, and internal control failures. Call (720) 514-0609 for more information.


You may also be interested in:It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year — For Burglars

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