Are asset labels an effective means of preventing white-collar crime?

In a typical office, you’re likely to find several expensive pieces of technology. Laptops, servers, printers, photocopiers and the like all carry significant financial value, making them pretty alluring to thieves looking to sell them on. Most business owners may believe that the biggest threat to their tech’s security is from external criminals, but there’s another problem to deal with.

White-collar crime appears to be on the rise, but what is it and how has it become such a big issue? In simple terms, it’s where office workers steal items from their workplace in order to keep what they take for themselves or to sell it on for greater value. Some might steal out of sheer greed while others may do because they’re short of cash, but whatever the reason may be, it must be addressed.

Is lax security to blame?

Security on the outside is something that many businesses are likely to pay at least some attention to. Installing security cameras, having secure locks on all the doors and so on are essential to keeping external criminals from breaking into the premises and helping themselves to whatever they can get their hands on, but preventing white-collar crime is a different problem entirely.

A survey conducted into the habits of office workers revealed how office security and theft by colleagues were regarded. Just 20% said that they believed they were responsible for any items they took out of the office which either got lost or stolen. Meanwhile, when it came to keeping office equipment safe, just 28% used CCTV cameras, 17% locks on doors and 4% alarmed chains. For more statistics on the survey please click here.

Making thieving a thing of the past

While over 50% of people in the survey said that they hadn’t stolen a single thing from the office, 13% said they had stolen something worth up to £5 in value, usually stationery. However, 65 said they had stolen something worth at least £51, which includes items such as computers, printers, tablet PCs and scanners. Although it might seem like a small amount, white-collar crime is costly.

Wider use of locks, security cameras et al might help to stamp out white-collar crime once and for all, but are they sufficient enough? One possible solution when it comes to keeping technology safe from being lost or stolen forever could come in the form of asset labels. A useful inventory tool, they make keeping track of what computer, printer or other piece of tech is still in the office.

Asset labels are also known to be a useful deterrent for thieves, especially those in the workplace. Any technological item with an asset label can be traced easily enough with the help of the police or private security and can be found without too much fuss. Using them can make white-collar crime seem just a little bit more difficult for anyone wanting to help themselves to a five-finger discount.

About the author: Stuart Jailler is an enthusiast and technical specialist in security printing, to solve counterfeiting and identification needs. He is the managing director of Seareach in the UK, who concentrates on barcode labels and tags, along with the secure production of printed documents for business, education, government & military applications.