Keep Your Business Safe from Repeat Robberies
It’s human nature to think that once your business has been robbed, it’s not as likely to happen again. But, in many cases, that’s simply not true.
Some thieves target specific types of businesses (restaurants, grocers, gas stations, convenience stores, motels, etc.), where they may get away with stealing a small amount — and then come back for more.
For example, in California, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department says repeat robberies of businesses were up 21 percent in January and February, compared with the same months last year. Of particular concern is a rash of “takeover robberies,” in which a group of gunmen take over an establishment, force everyone to the ground, and steal from both employees and customers, CBS Local Media reports.
What can you do to keep your business relatively safe? Here are some tips:
- Consider using closed-circuit TV cameras (PDF) to monitor entrances, exits, and cash-handling areas. Invest in a high-quality video recorder, so that any images of thieves will be of maximum use to police.
- Install a loud alarm system that can easily and quickly be triggered by an employee.
- Train all employees how to spot, prevent, and react properly to crimes (PDF), including complying with the robber’s instructions, remembering identifying characteristics, and securing the crime scene until police arrive.
- Post prominent signs saying that your store is being monitored (whether or not it is). Post a “height marker” on all doorways. Place “minimum cash on hand” and “no access” decals on your register and safe to help deter crime.
- Regularly transfer cash in excess of $50 from your register to a drop safe that no one on the premises knows how to open. The less cash in your cash drawer(s), the lower the incentive to rob your business.
- Maintain good lighting and open sight lines not only inside the store, but also between inside and outside areas.
- Eliminate places to hide on the premises, inside and outside. Install angled mirrors, so that clerks behind the counter can see all areas of your business.
- Control access to space behind the counter or inside back offices where money is handled or kept. Lock all doors that customers don’t use.
- If possible, change staff schedules to make sure no one works alone — particularly during slow periods of the day or night.
Robert Moskowitz is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.