Choosing a Security Strategy: Catching vs. Stopping Theft

Extended holiday weekends have long been a primetime opportunity for thieves to target warehouses, industrial sites, and other commercial businesses. 

Here’s why: Burglars can break into your business on that Friday night, and it might be next Tuesday morning before the theft is discovered. 

For example, Cargo theft is 43% higher and the average loss value is 253% higher during Memorial Day weekend compared to non-holiday weekends. 

Thieves look forward to holidays, like Memorial Day, the way kids are eager for Christmas. Except in the thieves’ case, nobody’s checking a ‘naughty or nice’ list. 

How do you create a security strategy?

To create a winning security strategy, it’s important to keep in mind what you’re going up against. Thieves look forward to long weekends and holidays when you’re away from your business to strike, so you need a security strategy that can keep your site safe while you’re away. 

‘To Catch a Thief’ versus ‘To Stop a Thief’ 

 So, how do you protect your commercial property from all those criminals who are waiting to pounce while you’re enjoying your long weekend or holiday? 

It starts with something we’ll call your ‘security strategy,’ and it has everything to do with how you view your ‘relationship’ with would-be thieves. 

Below are two of the more common security strategies – which one most closely aligns with yours?

Security Strategy #1: ‘To Catch a Thief’ 

“If somebody breaks in and steals from me, I want to make sure they’re apprehended (either during the act or after the fact) to prevent them from ever coming back for a second helping. My property and the goods contained inside are fully insured, so my priority is NOT to prevent the crime but to catch the criminal.” 

Security experts refer to this security strategy as the ‘detection’ approach. It’s the classic cat-and-mouse battle. The best-case scenario with detection occurs when a thief attempts a break-in but is caught in the act before they can escape. 

The most common security detection measures include:  

Security Strategy #2: ‘To Stop a Thief’ 

“I don’t want a thief anywhere near my buildings, property, or items contained inside. I want to send them a clear message that trying to steal from me is not worth their time or effort. When they case my property, I want them to immediately cross me off their list and go after the place next door.” 

This security strategy mirrors the ‘deterrence’ approach. It’s a psychological battle. The best-case scenario with deterrence occurs when a criminal assesses your security measures and decides against attempting the crime in the first place. 

The most common security deterrence measures include:  

A Hybrid Approach to Your Security Strategy 

It’s important to note that these two security philosophies are NOT mutually exclusive, meaning you don’t have to choose one or the other. Business owners who use both security approaches have the best chance of avoiding any crime on their property. The deterrence measures are primary protection, while the detection measures serve as a backup failsafe. 

Our point of view on this matter rests on a simple insight into the criminal mind:  

In most cases, when a thief breaks into your propertywith the intent to steal, it’s not personal. 

It’s not a crime of passion but of opportunity. That thief is merely looking for a score—he’s not trying to settle one. 

This strategy of deterrence reminds us of the adage about the two guys walking in the woods who encounter a bear:  

One man says, “We’ll never outrun that bear!”  The other man replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear—just you.” 

Do your security measures make it easy for criminals to land their score, making you the target? Or do you make it difficult for them, so they’ll most likely bypass your business for an easier mark?