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Broken windows: the importance of implementing preventive measures

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By Enric Vilamajó, Winterman’s CEO

Broken windows: the importance of implementing preventive measures

Internal fraud has continued to increase in recent years; 54% of Spanish companies assure that they have suffered some type of economic fraud in the last 2 years.

What happens to a building with a broken window?

A priori, we can think that absolutely nothing will happen, but the truth is that a broken window ends up becoming an invitation for further destruction. On the contrary, quick repair decreases the chances of future acts of vandalism occurring in the rest of the building.

A study by James Q. Wilson, in the 70s, talked about the notable importance of repairing any damage in buildings, as well as in vehicles parked on public roads. Any evidence of damage generates a snowball effect for more destruction, as if it was a green light to vandalism.

Wilson’s study described how a broken window in a block of flats gave the signal that it was abandoned and made it the perfect target for neighbors to use it to vent their frustrations.

A simple broken window led to the breakage of multiple windows, garbage in the entry ways or graffiti on the walls. Surprisingly, if the same window was immediately repaired, no further damage was done. Repair became the best prevention, giving the message to the citizens that there was someone who was watching and taking care of the building.

The same happens when talking about corporate security: the lack of anti-fraud measures or not reacting to possible security incidents generates a feeling of impunity that triggers other fraudulent actions. Hence, it is very important not only to prevent, but of also to make visible to all the members of a company that the anti-fraud prevention measures are adequately established, managed and controlled.

The implementation of antifraud plans starts with a preliminary analysis of the company, its members and its circumstances. With all the information collected and analyzed, possible weaknesses are extracted to enhance their security and the critical assets selected in order to be protected, since not all the information has the same value or the same degree of susceptibility to protection.

When the members of an organization became aware of the implementation of anti-fraud measures, the chances of an unethical act happening within an organization decrease. The increased control has immediate deterrent effects.

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