Break & Enter

Break and Enter is the offence committed when any person unlawfully enters any place with the intent of committing a criminal offence therein.

Today, businesses both big and small are often the target of criminals looking to take advantage of weaker security practices. In order to reduce the likelihood of your business being victimized, it is important to make your property safe and secure. Start by examining it for obvious risk factors, and make the necessary and recommended changes. Ultimately, criminals will be deterred from your property if they believe the risk of being caught is too high.

Most criminals who break into homes do not want to be seen and most often, break into homes that appear to be unoccupied. These culprits are often looking for a house that they can break into quickly and leave without being detected.  Once a burglar has selected a home, most will spend no more than a minute trying to break in and less than five minutes inside. There is no fail-proof way to keep out a burglar, but every little bit of deterrence helps.

Reporting a Break & Enter

If you return home or to your business and discover that it has been broken into and you feel the suspect might still be inside call 911. If there is no reason to believe a suspect is still on scene, call the police immediately at (905) 546-4925. Do not touch anything or clean up until the Police have arrived as you may disturb valuable evidence that could be used in identifying the culprit.

Target Hardening

'Target Hardening' is a crime prevention strategy derived from CPTED (pronounced SEP-TED) –Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.  This strategy involves incorporating security improvements to a residence or premises, which will reduce the likelihood of a criminal identifying that location as an easy target.

Business Strategy

Basic Risk Assessment

  • Are the views of your property obscured from the street?
  • Are there any hiding spots around your windows or doors?
  • Do you or your customers park in poorly observed areas or in lots far away?
  • Is your property regularly trespassed?
  • Are there “weapons of opportunity” in the landscaping? (ie. Loose river rocks)
  • Is your office equipped with computers?
  • Can strangers enter your building without talking to a receptionist or employee?
  • Do employees routinely ignore unescorted strangers beyond the reception area?

Next Steps

  • Ensure that you have a good video surveillance system that is prominently displayed both inside and outside of the premises.
  • Employers should ensure that cameras are checked regularly and are in good working order, capable of capturing quality unobscured images.
  • Increase business visibility from the street.
  • Increase parking visibility from your business.
  • Direct the approach of visitors to observable areas using see-through fencing, gating or landscaping that doesn’t affect views.
  • Decrease “weapons of opportunity.” (ie. Remove rocks or chain items down)
  • Ensure all entering customers are visible by either a receptionist or employee. (Restrict unmonitored movement in your office area.)
  • Evaluate lighting in the evening hours for areas of shadow and contrast, particularly in relation to entry points. Consider wire-screened, motion activated lights for dark areas.

Employee Screening

An employee who is engaged in, or associated with, criminal activity can cause a tremendous
amount of loss, financial damage and other problems to a business. This is why it is
important to conduct criminal records, credit and reference checks on all employees. While
the Human Rights Act does not allow a business to discriminate against a person who has a
criminal record, businesses that have made a criminal records check a condition of
employment generally find that persons with criminal records lose interest early on in the

Criminal Record Checks

Prospective employees can request a criminal records check by personally visiting the
Hamilton Police Service Headquarters located at 155 King William Street, Hamilton from
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. An administration fee applies.

Free Business & Home Security Audits

Hamilton Police Service Crime Prevention Branch provides FREE Business/Commercial Security Audits as well as FREE Home Safeguard Audits.  For further information on this service please contact the Crime Prevention Office at 905-546-4900.

The Provincial Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has developed a Home Security Audit Guide to provide general information on keeping one's home secure.  It is intended to provide guidance in taking precautions to reduce the risk of burglary and minimize the opportunity for crime around the home.  Please click here to download a copy.

Related Content

•    CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design)
•    Pharmacy Security Tips


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