Can thefts in the office be eliminated?

Office thefts cannot be 100% eliminated but  can be minimised if positive  steps are taken to prevent, discover and deal with them.  It is also important to note that people steal only assets and information of value that is left unattended. Therefore office thefts will flourish if management does not take positive steps in creating an environment that will discourage staff from committing frauds.  In addition all assets and items of value should be adequately secured.

How do you create a right environment to prevent office thefts?

You cannot create a right environment to prevent thefts only through controls ,  rules and punishment. The right tone to do the right things even if no one is looking at you has to be set at board and management levels. The right tone formalised through key core values  form the culture of an organisation.  It important to note organisation cultures   tend to be voluntary observed by all staff affected by the culture from board to the lowest grade staff.  Once the right tone becomes part of the culture of the organisation, there will not be so much need to enforce the culture of doing the rights all the time.  This is followed by the incorporation of the  culture of the organisation into the processes and procedures.

Is it possible for honest person  to commit office thefts?

Yes it is possible for a staff who was honest and humble at the time of recruitment to start committing thefts  if he or she joins  an organisation  which does not promote good moral behaviour as   part of its culture. The immoral environment may negatively impact  the mindset of a new staff . It is important to note that the pressure to steal could originate from colleagues in the office as they feel unsafe with a morally right staff sitting next to them. Therefore recruiting an upright staff does not guarantee that the staff will remain upright  if the  right tone has not been set by board and management. Sometime new staff wanting moral   standards are recruited by the organisation.  An organisation may end up recruiting new staff with a poor moral culture   because vetting is given lip service.  Management should therefore not rush to punish any staff who is caught stealing until the route cause is establish.

Common hot spots for office thefts

There are many areas where thefts can be committed but the following  are  the common hot spots;

  • Work station
  • Washroom
  • Reception
  • Lifts
  • Stairs
  • Parking area
  • Office canteen

Common   stolen items

Thieves will steal anything of value provided an opportunity to steal  the asset exist. The common items stolen  by thieves include the following;

  • Cash
  • Pens
  • Expensive jewelleries
  • Phones
  • Laptop
  • Laptop power cables
  • Money purses
  • Watches
  • Perfumes

 How do you prevent thefts in the office?

You   can prevent thefts from taking place in the office  through the following ways;

  • Installing biometric door locks
  • Installing security cameras
  • Engraving all assets in the office
  • Carry your desk keys always with you
  • Do not keep value items in your coat
  • Secure laptop with a metal cable lock
  • Keep money purse on you
  • Do not keep a lot of cash in the office
  • Keep all small valuable items in the safe
  • Not allowing any staff to make a habit of  working  late into the night


Thefts in the office can be controlled if  the right moral  culture is established in the organisation and in addition  all staff  must learn to keep valuable items  adequately secured.  Thieves only steal assets which are not adequately protected.


John Muhaise Bikalemesa

Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited