Commercial property theft is every business owner’s worst nightmare. You return to your commercial premises only to find that thieves have broken in and stolen your valuable merchandise or equipment. Of course, a break-in is just the beginning of your nightmare; what ensues are hours of paperwork and insurance claims.

Understanding how the most common break-ins occur can help you to prevent the same from happening at your commercial and retail properties. We discuss 5 of the most common break-in methods and how to avoid them.

1. Forced entry

Retail crime in New Zealand costs approximately $1.2billion annually. Whether you’ve locked your doors or not, if a thief wants ‘in’ they’ll find a way, or at least try.

Xpanda Security installs steel doors with welded hinges and expandoors to commercial and retail properties to deter thieves from attempting entry. In most instances, no matter how enticing the contents of your commercial property or store, a burglar will move to another target if they feel they are unlikely to get inside without being seen or caught.

As well as having to deal with forcing open solid steel, we weld our doors onto a hinge which prevents jemmying. We also supply and fit a range of locks for added security.

Expandoors are a great security addition to shops and stores with open frontages such as in shopping malls and transport hubs. The Expandoor is manufactured in steel to withstand violent attack. Despite its strength, they are easy to move, thanks to top and bottom tracking and can fold away neatly when not in use.

2. Smash and grab

These type of break-ins at commercial properties are all too familiar. One such example was the loss of around $65,000 worth of motorbikes in Whangarei, North Island in December 2018 when a gang raided the Yamaha Motorcycles store on Port Road taking five motocross bikes.

The owners of the business had installed security cameras which clearly showed the moment that the thieves smashed through the windows and took off with the bikes.

In this instance and others like it, security bollards would be a useful deterrent to prevent smash and grabs. In commercial properties where contents are of high value and/or money is held overnight on the premises, measures such as bolt down bollards, fixed bollards and removable bollards are viable options.

Bolt down bollards are available in any size or length meaning they can be tailor-made to fit your premises. For particularly vulnerable premises it is possible to fill them with concrete for increased protection against ram-raiding.

Fixed steel bollards are also tailor-made, depending on the risk factor associated with the premises. As is the case with most high tier security measures, a visual deterrent is an essential element in their effectiveness.

3. Opportunistic

While a smash and grab style burglary takes some planning, an opportunistic thief will act impulsively, often when they see ‘easy pickings’. In terms of commercial properties, this could be when they see that a window has been left open or a back entrance way is unlocked or left open and unattended.

Xpanda will fit Durabar window bars (both horizontal and vertical) to windows. These act as a visual deterrent and are penetration resistant. It also means that on hot days or when you need ventilation, it is still safe to leave a window open when unattended.

Window bars, when tailor-made to fit, are approved by insurance providers which speaks volumes about their usefulness in preventing unwanted entry.

Steel mesh screens are another option to reinforce windows and doors. Made from steel and custom built to fit your windows and doors, mesh screens are welded onto a custom-fit frame and quickly and easily installed. Typically, Xpanda fit steel mesh screens to entrance doors, steel cages and lockups.

4. Sophisticated

If you’re dealing with a sophisticated burglar, they’re likely to be non-plussed by unmanning a security camera or alarm system. Much as before, your ideal prevention is putting together enough combined security measures to deter them in the first place.

Even though security cameras help in the fight against crime, they are often the very items stolen in a commercial break-in. Mount Maunganui College had three surveillance cameras ripped off their brackets and stolen after installing the $25,000 system just months earlier. The theft at the college was the tip of an iceberg for Tauranga police who went on to deal with seven cameras stolen in one month.

Other means of complementing your existing security system are adding grilles, steel doors, ram beams and anti-jump screens.

5. Trespass

Despite your best efforts to strengthen your security, it could be you or your staff who unintentionally allow a thief onto your premises.

If a burglar has been watching your property, they will know the times that you arrive and wait for that moment to follow you in. Catching you unawares, they will be able to make off with valuables, merchandise and even cash.

Security doors can be made to close behind you (regardless of whether you close them yourself) and will prevent anyone from opening them from the outside.

Security measures add up

As discussed, the more security measures that you put in place in your commercial property the better. Added together, they create a strong visual deterrent as well as withstanding violent attack and forced entry.

Need to know more? Contact Xpanda Security to discuss your business security.


Australian Institute of Criminology, trends & issues in crime and criminal justice, P.N. Grabosky, 1995
Counting Crime Series, New Zealand Herald, Sam Hurley,

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