AS preparations gather pace for the busy Christmas trading period, police are advising members of the business community to step up their security.
Christmas and New Year are the retail trade’s busiest time, and criminals may try to take advantage of the high turnover of cash and valuables in outlets throughout Banbridge.
Crime Prevention Officer Michelle Wilson said now is a good time for the business community to ensure they have appropriate security measures in place.
“There are a range of simple and effective measures worth taking to ensure your business stays crime-free over the festive period.
“At this time of year you may take in more money than usual. Reduce the amount of cash you have in your tills regularly and make sure you transfer it to a safe - preferably in an occupied office.
“Have your money taken to a bank frequently by a recognised Cash in Transit (CIT) company. This ensures your money has the safest possible journey to your bank, reducing the risk of it being stolen.
“You should also consider a “drop” safe. This is where you can keep money that is due to be lodged at a bank until a CIT company comes to collect it. Its access can be limited to just two people, including the CIT company staff. Once the money has been dropped into the safe, only authorised individuals can get access to it. The safe should be located in a secure room.”
Michelle also highlighted the dangers of stolen or cloned credit cards, and thefts from cash machines.
She said: “The methods that criminals use are becoming increasingly sophisticated and identity theft is an emerging crime in Northern Ireland.
“Business owners and their staff should be on the look-out for fake or cloned cards which criminals are using more often. The details on these cards usually belong to a genuine member of the public whose identity, either their name or their bank number, has been stolen along with their bank card.
“Some businesses, for example large petrol stations, have cash machines. These are another target for criminals, who have been attaching sophisticated devices that can capture a customer’s card details and PIN number.
“Cameras can be installed to monitor ATMs for suspicious activity. Anyone who sees someone tampering with an ATM should not approach them but call police immediately.”
For further information on Crime Prevention, call your local police on 0845 600 800, or log on to www.psni.police.uk and read our Crime Prevention section.