Is your Pawnshop Secure?

Two recent newspaper articles show what might be a coming trend in the Philippine pawnshop industry. That trend is very bold pawnshop robberies which thieves net a large amount loot. As gold and silver prices are at an approximate ten-year high, let’s hope that this trend doesn’t take hold in the Philipines. But a pawnshop owner can’t run a business on hope. In today’s world, realistic security measures are what is called for. And if pawnshop owners aren’t ready there are thieves ready to take advantage of them.

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines: the Inquirer. net reported on December 17 2009 the story of a thieves who rented a room next door to a pawnshop and broke in through a hole they hammered through a concrete wall.

“They had been renting the place for the last four days and last night (Wednesday) they were able to execute the robbery,” …

Police said the suspects carted away some P2.2 million of assorted jewelry, P1,097,057 cash and more than P61,000 worth of gold nuggets as the establishment…has been also into gold-buying.

The robbers appeared to be professional thieves as they were able to hammer away the concrete walls of the establishment without being detected despite the presence of many people in the area, Regidor noted.

In this case, the pawns shop not only had taken no security measures but were warned by authorities that their secrity measures were inadequate.

“We have already advised twice the establishment about having proper security measures as they really lack them, but to no avail. They don’t have alarm systems, CCTVs (close-circuit televisions) as well as security guards,” Regidor said. He, however, said four other pawnshops in take town had adequate alarm and security systems.

SOLANO, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. reported on December 27, 2009 the story of theives who dug a 200 meter tunnel to gain entry to a pawnshop.

Robbers took advantage of the holidays by digging a 200-meter tunnel leading to a pawnshop at the public market here, ransacking it of cash, jewelry other valuables reportedly worth at least P1 million.

These robberies almost sound as if they come from a movie and might be entertaining if they did. Except that robberies this large can easily put a pawnshop owner out of business. If pawnshop owners want their business to survive they are going to have to be proactive about their security measures.

What can pawnshop owners do before, not after, a robbery takes place? A security risk-assessment is a good start. In a risk assessment owners should do a detailed check of  their business and see the cracks in their security. Things to include in a security risk assessment could include:

  • A check of the alarm system. Is it adequate. Motion sensors are now a cheap technolgy-use them! Should I use an alarm company.
  • Do i need cameras (closed circuit television)?
  • Is the outside lighting adequate?
  • Do I need security guards?
  • Are the windows and doors adequate?
  • Is my location adequate? Does it make sense to share walls with another establishment ?
  • Should I carry insurance? If so what kind and how much? If you do have insurance, many companies have loss-control specialists who will come out free and do a security assessment. Be sure to use that service. If your insurance company doesn’t offer a loss control specialist change companies and get one that does.
  • Should I have a vault? If so what kind.

A self-assement of security before, and not after, a break-in is good for the bottom line. Pawnshop owners have to be proactive about security. In the case of the Tagum City pawnshop owner who had little security and was warned of this by authorities, the owner might have just as well put a sign on the establishment that said “come in and rob me risk free.” Don’t let that be you.