While non-essential businesses remain closed under the City’s Business Activity and Stay at Home Order, business owners can still take steps to keep their businesses safe. This temporary closure period due to COVID-19 is a good opportunity to review your security protocols.

While overall crime in Philadelphia is down, an uptick in commercial burglaries has been observed in some areas. The Philadelphia Police Department has responded with enhanced police patrols on business corridors. Business owners can further protect their property by taking the following precautions.

Perimeter Security

Check your property periodically while following proper social distancing practices. If you see any damage, call 911.

Maintain your storefront, including removing trash or graffiti, so it’s clear that you are keeping an eye on your business.

Secure dumpsters, ladders, or trash cans and cut back trees and other landscaping to prevent people from accessing your building through windows or the roof. 

Proper Name Signage 

Your storefront should reflect the name of your business and street address. It should be clearly marked on the front and rear of your property. Make sure your business name and address can be seen in case law enforcement is needed. 

Exterior and Interior Lighting 

Keep your property well lit. Make sure you have exterior lighting around your property to discourage burglars and vandals. This includes parking areas and pathways. Install motion-activated lighting inside your store so any intruders can be detected during overnight hours.

Security Camera Systems

If you already have a security camera installed, make sure it’s in working order and you have plenty of data storage available. Consider remote monitoring, as it allows you to review footage while away from your business.

Avoid using dummy cameras. A working security camera serves as a critical investigative tool if a burglary or vandalism occurs.

Make sure your windows, doors, and any access points are visible to your camera. 

Register your security cameras to the Philadelphia Police Department SafeCam Program. If you see suspicious activity in your surveillance footage, send it to the Philadelphia Police Department at tips@phillypolice.com.

Consider installing doorbell video systems, which can be useful in fighting crime around homes and neighborhoods.

Other Security Measures

Reinforce windows and doors to prevent breakage. Cover them with paper sheets so your merchandise isn’t visible to passersby. 

Empty display cases of goods and store merchandise out of view. Use a safe with a time-locking device or anti-tamper sensor to trigger an alarm which can be tied to your shop alarm system.

If you have a cash register, it should be left open and empty at night.

Remove, or lock up, items of value from your business for the duration of the closure, including money or valuable merchandise and equipment.

Use steel gates or grilles to protect entryways. Secure basement grates and loading dock doors. Make sure your business name and address can be seen in case law enforcement is needed. Properly secure the locks when not in use.

Install alarms if you do not already have them. Maintain your alarm system and change your alarm codes often. Your alarm should have a back-up system to send an alert if the phone line is cut or there’s power interruption. Do not enter your business before police arrive if the alarm is activated. 

Additional Information

For more information about keeping your business safe, contact your local Philadelphia Police District. Identify your district here

Once businesses are back in operation, you can contact your Police District to request a security assessment.

For emergencies, always dial 9-1-1.

This tip guide is provided by the Philadelphia Police Department’s Intelligence Bureau, the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center, and the Department of Commerce. Together, we will build a safer and stronger community. 

Download flyers with safety tips available in multiple languages here.