Brendan Musgrove, Managing Director at Cordant Security, writes for Infologue.com about the impact of hot weather on security personnel. Brendan writes: “This week the majority of the UK enjoyed the first really hot day of the year. For most people the arrival of summer provides the perfect excuse to dig out the barbecue from the back of the shed, get out the shorts from the back of the wardrobe, and take to the garden to bask in glorious sunshine! But for the security industry it raises the concern that the hot weather will bring with it a spike in crime.
“Warm temperatures have long been linked with an increase in crime and last year an Indian summer was blamed for a rise in violent crime and public order offences in Newquay by the town’s most senior police officer. It is well documented that ‘PC Rain’ is often regarded by police officers as a reliably effective crime-fighter. For example, according to some of those who took part in the riots in Birmingham in 2011, one of the reasons they stopped was due to the heavy rain. And burglars are just like the rest of us in that they don’t like getting wet or cold!
“There are numerous theories and anecdotal evidence around why there might be a crime increase in the summer and they are mainly common sense. As a general rule more people out and about usually means more problems. People often drink more alcohol in the summer, sitting in pub gardens, and this can result in an increase in alcohol-fuelled behaviour. If people are more likely to be outside enjoying the sunshine then their houses are more vulnerable than if they are inside. In addition, many families jet off abroad for a week or more at a time during the school holidays, leaving their properties unattended for extended periods of time. For those that remain at home, the heat usually sees them open windows or doors, making it easier for opportunist criminals to get in.
“From my point of view there is no real evidence to prove or disprove that crimes rise in the warmer weather but what we do know is that retail crime is on the increase throughout the year and the thieves are getting more sophisticated. According to the BRC’s 2015 Retail Crime Survey, the direct cost of crime to the UK retail industry was £613 million in 2014-15, up 2 per cent on last year.
“So at Cordant Security we will certainly be aware of a possible increase in crime this summer. For example our security teams working in retail environments and those with public space will be on high alert as more people swarm to the shops and gather outdoors. We know that tourist hotspots can attract pickpockets who prey on people who have let their guard down whilst enjoying the sunshine.
“We will also be very aware that the potential for crime against business premises may become even greater as the longer daylight hours make it even easier for burglars to scope out sites and gain access undetected, and so we need to be extra vigilant. Another challenge for some of our clients is that there will be an increase in the numbers of temporary staff brought in to cover holidays. This can be a security risk however good the screening process is, and our teams will need to be more aware of the potential for pilferage.
“That said managing the safety and security of our clients’ people, buildings and visitors is a job for all seasons and there are different challenges all the time. At least at this time of year the sun is shining…”
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