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Common causes of break-ins in commercial property

Common causes of break-ins in commercial property

Security is a serious issue for any business and it seems that threats now come from every angle. While the main focus these days is on cybercrime, the danger of an old-fashioned break-in at a commercial property remains a real one, and one that businesses need to be constantly on their guard against.

It’s important for any business that steps are taken to deter would-be thieves from attempting a break-in at their premises – but before considering the right security measures you might need to put into place, it’s worth understanding the different types of break-ins that are possible.

There are three main types we’ll look at – smash & grab, opportunistic and sophisticated – as well as considering the best security measures that should be taken for each.

Common causes of break-ins in commercial property

Smash & Grab

Businesses have suffered from these kinds of break-ins for as long as people have been doing business and, although some aspects have become more sophisticated over the years, the basic tactic remains the same: entry is forced by one means or another and the opportunity taken to steal anything of value that can be found.

Common ways to force entry include smashing windows, forcing doors and ram-raiding. That means the potential damage to the business may not just be the value of whatever is stolen, but also the cost required to fix the damage done.

Smash and grab raids are usually planned, because the potential thief will want to scope out the most vulnerable spots to make a quick entry, as well as planning a fast escape should one be needed. 

Simple measures such as metal grilles for windows can go some way towards preventing this kind of crime, but we would recommend further measures which would include:

  • Security Assessment – a security expert can assess your premises and identify those vulnerable spots so you know where to concentrate your efforts.
  • Intruder Alarm Monitoring – smash and grab raids tend to be over fairly quickly, so a normal alarm may not necessarily lead to anyone reacting until it’s too late. Monitored alarms ensure that the police will respond almost immediately, meaning that there’s a much better chance of catching any thieves in the act.
  • Access Control Systems – modern access control systems don’t just help with day-to-day security, they are also far more difficult to break through than traditional locks, bolts and padlocks.


By their very nature, opportunistic break-ins don’t involve any planning, so the best way to protect against them is to be careful about locking doors and windows, setting alarms, keeping valuables hidden and out of sight and keeping the immediate area well lit. Further measures would include:

  • CCTV & Surveillance Cameras – these are perhaps the most effective means of preventing this kind of break-in, because the lack of planning means the thief won’t have had the chance to hide their features. Just the presence of security cameras is likely to make an opportunistic thief at least think twice before trying anything.
  • Intruder Alarm & Detection Systems – an opportunistic thief is far more likely to be scared off by setting off an alarm than one who has planned escape routes beforehand. Making sure your alarms are regularly serviced to ensure their effectiveness is also strongly recommended.


As the name suggests, this kind of break-in is likely to involve more planning and less property damage than the previous two. It might involve techniques like setting off ‘false’ alarms in advance (so that there’s less likely to be a response in the event of a real one), tampering with alarms or using inside information.

If you have the kind of valuables likely to warrant this kind of attention, then it is vital that you take every sensible step to protect your assets that you can. A full assessment by a professional security expert would be the sensible first step, as they would be able to design a system that meets all your needs and ensures you’re covering all the necessary bases.

Here at Scutum London, we offer expert advice and advanced security systems individually designed for your business premises. We also provide ongoing maintenance and servicing to ensure your system stays effective.

Contact us now to discover more – our team works across London, Surrey and the rest of the South East.

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About Scutum London

Scutum London is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.

From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.

With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

If you’d like to find out more about Scutum London, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.


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