Surge in break-ins at pubs, shops, offices and construction sites during coronavirus lockdown

Police forces across the UK are hav­ing to car­ry out extra night patrols in emp­ty city and town cen­tres, as bur­glars tar­get shops, pubs and oth­er com­mer­cial premis­es dur­ing the coro­n­avirus lockdown.

Col­lat­ing intel­li­gence data from police reports, news items, and their own cus­tomer feed­back, the prop­er­ty secu­ri­ty spe­cial­ists, VPS UK, has seen a sud­den rise last week in bur­glar­ies and attempt­ed thefts in Man­ches­ter, Mersey­side, Gwent and Cleveland. 

It’s no sur­prise that when whole city cen­tres are desert­ed, that oppor­tunis­tic thieves will take their chances, espe­cial­ly with an already stretched police ser­vice.” Says David Wormald, Key Account Direc­tor for Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & Retail at VPS. And because so many peo­ple are stay­ing at home now, there’s even few­er chances that an attempt­ed bur­glary on a com­mer­cial site will be spot­ted and reported.”

Last week the British Secu­ri­ty Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion con­firmed that the cur­rent def­i­n­i­tion of key crit­i­cal work­ers includes reg­u­lat­ed secu­ri­ty pro­fes­sion­als. Roles essen­tial to sup­port­ing law and order, with the poten­tial to reduce demand on polic­ing, also meet the crit­i­cal work­er def­i­n­i­tion. This includes the guard­ing and CCTV mon­i­tor­ing of emp­ty or closed com­mer­cial, retail or office premis­es, and the pro­vi­sion of alarm response cen­tres includ­ing mobile units.

Even though it is a des­ig­nat­ed key work­er sec­tor, the secu­ri­ty indus­try also has to place a pri­or­i­ty of care for its work­ers dur­ing the virus cri­sis. Inevitably we will have some oper­a­tional strains if more staff are required to self-iso­late.” Says Mr Wormald. But we are more for­tu­nate than oth­ers in being able to deploy both guards and/​or CCTV secu­ri­ty sys­tems, because the lat­ter is a safe, social­ly dis­tant means to mon­i­tor premis­es via a remote video mon­i­tor­ing cen­tre. Vul­ner­a­ble premis­es like con­struc­tion sites, which con­tain valu­able plant and equip­ment, are now stand­ing emp­ty for a few weeks, so they need to be kept secure.”

No two sites are ever the same, and when the March UK crime sta­tis­tics are pub­lished soon, it would be worth check­ing to see if one area has wit­nessed a greater rise in crim­i­nal activ­i­ty on com­mer­cial premis­es than anoth­er. That would be one indi­ca­tion of greater vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty for shops and pubs, for exam­ple, and may high­light where addi­tion­al secu­ri­ty mea­sures might be need­ed.” He concludes.


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VPS is a spe­cial­ist provider of vacant prop­er­ty, occu­pied premis­es and site secu­ri­ty solutions.

In 2019 they were nom­i­nat­ed for the fifth suc­ces­sive year in the IFSEC Secu­ri­ty and Fire Excel­lence Awards, for Cus­tomer Care and Secu­ri­ty Installer of the Year. 

Oper­at­ing from over 50 loca­tions across UK and Europe, they pro­tect over 50,000 prop­er­ties and sites at any time.

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