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Commercial burglary

This section provides advice and guidance on how to protect your business from commercial burglary. 

Please find some useful crime prevention posters at the bottom of this page. We would encourage you to download these and display them in your premises.

A person is guilty of burglary if he or she enters any building as a trespasser intending to do any one of four things: steal, cause damage or inflict grievous bodily harm.

Types of Burglary


These burglaries lack any obvious planning and involve burglars taking advantage of poor security measures and/or vulnerable points of a building such as an insecure door or window to enter the premises.

They seldom try to overcome the alarm system and will be in and out of the building as fast as possible.

The lack of planning means they take relatively little – typically only what can easily be carried off and removed from the premises quickly. 

Smash and Grab

These burglaries involve criminals using paving stones or other heavy objects to smash windows and gain entry to the premises. In these types of incidents stolen vehicles are often used to ram their way into shops and help the thieves make a speedy getaway. In some cases they take only the goods in the window so will target stores with expensive items on display. 

As with other crimes involving the misuse of motor vehicles, ram raiding raises serious public safety issues. The amount of damage caused in each incident also makes repairs particularly expensive.

Smash and grab attacks are usually to the front of the building and are carried out at great speed to avoid the effects of the alarm. Most are over within a minute.


In these incidents, burglars overcome alarm systems in various ways to allow themselves more time to act. 

They may be able to do this through inside information or, more likely, through careful observation over a period of time of a premise’s security measures. Another common ploy is to set the alarm off repeatedly and wait until the police and key holders stop responding to it. 

With the alarm disabled the burglars can enter unobtrusively, forcing open back doors or windows. Their usual target is high value stock and sometimes the safe which is often removed entirely. 

Often their exit route is different from that used for entry.