Is my business a target for burglary?

February 6, 2010 | web exclusive Is my business a target for burglary? Dental laboratories and dental offices are on thieves' radar. Here are some tips to protect

February 6, 2010 |

web exclusive

Is my business a target for burglary?

Dental laboratories and dental offices are on thieves' radar. Here are some tips to protect your business.

by Pamela Johnson, Editor-in-Chief


Photo: Comstock/Getty Images

The rising cost of gold and other precious metals combined with the relatively low profile of dental offices and laboratories has put them on the radar of crafty theives who see an easy target. The first month of 2010 witnessed at least 53 burglaries of West Coast dental laboratories and dental practices for their inventory of gold and platinum alloys or for the precious metal contained in metal-based cracked or chipped gold crowns that dentists removed from patients.

Protect your lab

In Orange County Calif. a burglaring twosome was responsible for a string of 18 robberies of dental laboratories between November 2009 and January 2010 when their spree came to an end. In Seattle, it was a lone thief who robbed more than 35 dental clinics and laboratories and would be still if his fingertips had not been found on one of the stolen crowns.

Theives have found pawning gold a very lucrative business and small businesses such as dental clinics and laboratories easy targets. And although police admit it's an odd occurrence that dental offices and laboratories are burglarized, the state of the economoy has thieves looking into every nook and cranny to find something they can pawn.

DLP contacted Chuck Yenkner, President of Business Development Associates, and asked if he had any advice for lab owners for protecting their businesses against theft or to minimize the loss should their laboratory be a target. Beyond installing a full security system, his five recommendations are:

1. Don't buy or hold large quantities of gold alloys. Keep on hand only what you need for the next few days' castings.

2. Store precious metals in a secure place that is locked. Invest in a safe; most good safes cost less than one-ounce of gold. A fire retardant safe also provides a safe place to securely store important documents.

3. Each day issue only the amount of alloy needed for that day's casting to the technician doing the casting. Have him or her return unused material and scrap to the safe daily.

4. Don't unnecessarily promote the fact that your business deals with gold to non-dental people. Obviously, it's fine to speak about gold to dentist clients, but don't make a big deal out of the fact you use gold when discusing the lab business with family, friends, and especially strangers. In marketing materials and brochures, use the terms "high noble" and "noble" in place of terms such as "gold" or "semi-precious." Don't leave marketing materials that do mention gold where they can be seen by unknown people.

5. Control access to your laboratory in terms of who comes and goes, and in terms of the entrance and exit points. Limit the number of keys you distribute and keep track of who has them.

Pamela Johnson is editor-in-chief for DLP. Contact her at


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