Classes have started, and children are out of the house in New England. That means during regular business hours, your home is empty and more vulnerable to burglars than in the summer months.
Burglary is a serious problem. In 2017 — the most recent year with reliable statistics — some 1.4 million burglaries were committed across the United States, says the FBI. That’s about 18 percent of all property crimes committed in 2017.
The overall cost in property loss ran to about $3.4 billion, and the robbery of residential properties represented some 67 percent of all burglary crimes. Unfortunately, police only solve about 13 percent of burglary cases, Alarms.org reports.
School is back in session, which means school vandalism unfortunately tends to rise accordingly. Surveillance and security solutions can help school administrators to deter or resolve such incidents.
School-related vandalism — a type of crime involving any damage or defacement of school property — is a real problem in Massachusetts and beyond. According to the Vandalism at School website, the annual price tag to remedy this kind of crime runs at around $8 billion nationally.
New England’s small- and medium-sized restaurants (and other businesses) face a persistent internal problem: employee theft. Luckily, there are measures you can take to prevent it.
National statistics of employee-on-employer crime are sobering, according to a Forbes article. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of employees have stolen from their employers at least once. Companies with 150 employees or less are particularly vulnerable to internal financial or data theft, as well as other similar crimes.
The Chamber also determined that roughly 30 percent of business failures are caused by employee fraud and abuse. The toll of workplace thieving to the United States economy is some $50 billion annually, says a CNBC article (citing a statistic from Statistic Brain).
Cash on Tap in Restaurant Business
Because the bar and restaurant industry is often a cash business with few paper trails — one that relies heavily on people-intensive processes — there is an especially high risk of employee fraud and outright theft. There are many vulnerable points, from servers to wait staff, bartenders to kitchen help, all the way to the back office employees.
The fall semester is about to begin, bringing students into Boston and other New England venues. They’ll be fair game for thieves looking to make a quick profit.
These young students may be informal about security and less than diligent in securing their premises, and crooks respond accordingly. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in 2016, there were 12,000 burglaries on-campus — which represents 42 percent of all criminal incidents on campuses or at post-secondary institutions.
Light Security = Student Thefts
Not that thieves must wait until fall classes are in session. Just last July, the Boston University newspaper noted a rash of fraternity house burglaries in Boston’s Kenmore Square area, near Boston University’s east campus. The thieves entered the occupants’ rooms in the frat houses and lifted bikes, laptops, wallets, a PlayStation and electronic gear. As the article explained, “The fraternity houses frequently sublet rooms during the summer months, and security can be lax.”
Students have a hard time with their finances without having to cope with robbery, too. Besides tuition and room and board, books and various school supplies alone can run students $1,168 annually, says a Forbes columnist. Factor in theft, and that can put a major hole in a young scholar’s budget — and the loss of a laptop can be an irreplaceable problem.
In a perfect world, patients and health-care professionals could devote all of their time to the healing process. A variety of factors hinder that process in today’s health-care facilities, most notably the opioid epidemic.
A recent Boston 25 News piece notes how Massachusetts Emergency Room nurses are particularly at risk. They face both physical and verbal abuse from opiate-intoxicated patients. A 2018 survey by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) notes that 69 percent of local nurses were assaulted by their patients during the prior two years.
This is just one area of vulnerability. Read more
Gaps Plague Retail Self-Checkout Security
We know that self-supporting retail technology — with its sensors, devices and big data capabilities — offers us many conveniences. However, basic self-checkout platforms don’t always work well for retailers, here in New England, and beyond.
In fact, the Springfield, Massachusetts-based chain of stores Big Y World Class Markets decided it had to remove its self- checkout aisles, according to a Worcester Telegram.com article. In large part, this move was because of the higher incidence of thefts. The article notes that shoplifting is five times more likely at a self-checkout terminal than at a typical human-manned cash register. Read more
Vacation coming? Protect your home while you’re away so you can really relax and enjoy yourself. This requires addressing both physical and cyber protection challenges. Naturally, burglars in New England want to get the easiest targets possible, as the Ashland, Massachusetts, police point out. They know where to go to find them: social media.
Once, crooks would look for obituaries to target houses, knowing when the residents would be out at a funeral. Now, convicted burglars themselves believe that 75 percent of their thieving colleagues are leveraging social media to locate marks, according to a Virginia-based law enforcement website. Read more
Security is a serious matter. That doesn’t mean we can’t relax a bit in the summer heat and recollect some of the oddest New England home and business intrusion stories.
Here is a brief list of some of the most interesting encounters we’ve found between local felons, furry friends and property. Some were caught on camera, while one incident was apparent only by the evidence left behind. Read more