Empty offices make tempting targets for burglars

An unwelcome security risk of remote working.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 20 Mar 2020
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Down to business

There were 422,000 burglaries in the UK in 2018-19. Most were in the home. But imagine a situation where, say, thousands of offices and other workplaces around the country were left empty because staff had been told to work remotely.

Let’s also say that because of a national emergency - involving manpower shortages due to self-isolation and possibly requiring curfew enforcement - the police force was stretched to capacity. 

What do all those burglars do? 

In the coronavirus outbreak, homes suddenly look less attractive, as they’re occupied all the time, but workplaces, often filled with expensive computing equipment and the like, perhaps now seem like low-hanging fruit. 

It would be wishful thinking to expect the nation’s burglars to respect Boris Johnson’s self-isolation rules, which means perhaps it’s time for businesses to think twice about their security arrangements.

Andrew Missingham is CEO of consultancy B+A, which like many businesses has just instituted a remote working policy. He received a call on Tuesday night saying B+A’s London studio had been burgled, alongside all the building’s other occupiers.

“It's unlikely this was a coincidence. I think we'll see a spike in commercial burglaries, as businesses leave offices empty and unattended, and as security is scaled down,” says Missingham. 

“My advice? Beef up your alarms and notification systems. And install hazer smoke canisters. Mercifully our burglars got away with very little - our investment in rapid response, plus smoke, made it as difficult for these scumbags to do their work as they tried to make it for us to do ours.”

Management Today is awaiting a response from the police as to whether it has observed a spike in commercial burglaries. 

Image credit: PhotmixLtd/Pexels (Creative Commons)


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