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Lawyers, When It Comes to Security, Don't Forget the Importance of a Strong Lock

There's plenty of talk about law firm cyber security on legal blogs. Tales of hacked emails, ransomed documents, even hacked household devices.

But don't forget, not all threats are cyberthreats. Some thieves still prefer to practice their craft the old-fashioned way, by kicking in the door or crawling through the window, as a recent string of law firm robberies in West Virginia reminds us.

Law Firm Cat Burglars

The small town of Martinsburg, West Virginia, was hit by a string of law firm robberies this December, according to a report by the Herald-Mail.

Four law firms were hit, allegedly by the same two men. In one robbery, thieves tossed a rock through the window of the Sutton & Janelle law firm, before entering the firm and making off with a lockbox full of cash and gift cards. The law office of Dale Buck was robbed in the same way, with a window smashed and a safe stolen. The Scales Law Office was robbed after a cinderblock made its way through the conference room window. Finally, the Power, Beck, and Matzureff law office was robbed after thieves entered through the back door, according to police records.

One man, Jeffrey Lee Potter, is currently charged in connection to the break-ins, according to the Herald-Mail. A second suspect can be seen on video surveillance footage from a nearby funeral home, but was not yet arraigned at the time of reporting.

Tips for Protecting Your Law Office

When it comes to physically securing your law firm, there are a few things lawyers can do to protect themselves from thieves. Conspicuous exterior surveillance may help deter or catch thieves. (Note that the men here were identified by the security footage of a neighboring business.)

Office alarm systems can also inform you or the police when there is suspicious activity. In some cases, you may want to have full-time security officers on site, though this is rarely necessary for small and solo firms. If your office is located in a business complex, surveillance and security services may be provided by the building itself.

You don't need to cover your office windows with unseemly iron bars to protect them, either. Reinforced glass windows and safety glass (also known as laminated glass) can make it much more difficult for potential burglars to break in. Specialized window alarms are also available.

Several of the West Virginia firms targeted had their valuables in safes and lock boxes. You can up your security by making sure your safe isn't easily removable and that cash, cashiers checks, and other valuable items are deposited at banks at the end of the day, rather than kept on hand.

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