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Providing a security solution for vulnerable, empty, high street shops

Retail shops are most vulnerable when they’re empty, and security is crucial during this period as vandalism and break-ins are highly likely. Vacant retail shops also make a prime target for squatters to occupy.

High streets have been in decline for many years, and the 2020 pandemic accelerated the number of vacant retail shops seen in every town across the country.

The rise in vacant shop numbers brought with it a significant increase in crime incidents, mostly in vandalism and arson attacks, but also squatting the empty properties despite this latter being illegal in commercial properties since 2012.

It’s a major headache for owners for retail properties, who need a quick, effective solution to give them peace of mind until a new tenant is able to move in.

A vacant retail shop at risk

In May 2021, the owner of the shop occupied by Ethereal Pieces, a boutique in Broadstairs, Kent, contacted us to secure their empty shop after the tenant left the property at short notice.

The owner’s main concern was the tenant re-entering the shop as they didn’t hand the keys back upon leaving and could have easily passed them on to someone else. Unwanted post building-up inside the main door was also an issue as it presented a fire hazard risk from potential arson attacks.

The ShopShield Solution

Whilst a vacant retail shop is certainly vulnerable, especially from any rear access points, they can be effectively secured with a few simple steps. Our retail shop security package, ShopShield, provided the perfect solution:

Risk assessment
The initial multi-point retail risk assessment provided a clear understanding of the property’s weak spots and primary vulnerabilities, enabling us to advise the client of the best security solution.

Locks changed
As keys can always be copied, we changed both the front and rear door lock mechanisms and provided a new set of keys. Learn more about retail lock changes.

Letterbox secured
The risk of lighter fuel being sprayed through an open letterbox and set alight is huge, so we installed a temporary physical metal barrier that covers the letterbox and can be removed when required.

Key safe installation
To make remote access for authorised personnel easier, keys for new locks were left in the secure key safe (mechanical locking safe with a combination code access) fitted by the rear door.

Flammable waste Removal
Tenants tend to leave a lot of paper-based waste on their departure, plus unwanted mail delivered daily. We bagged up and removed all the paper waste for recycling.

Additional Services

A range of additional services was available for the client. We installed a wireless, video verified alarm inside the building, that is monitored by our Alarm Receiving Centre.

Overall, the retail security services we provided were successful. We kept them informed of any on-going security or access risks in order to ensure the property remained insurance compliant. The property owner, Eden Thomas explained, “We were impressed by the quick turnaround with security solutions put in place in only 48 hours.”

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