Robberies are bad for business. They negatively affect your employees’ well-being, insurance premiums and bottom line. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent them.
Any commercial property that houses inventory or cash is susceptible to robbery. Although some businesses such as jewellery stores, drug stores, service stations and convenience stores are greater targets, all businesses are at risk if they aren’t adequately prepared.
Thieves typically target businesses that:
- Keep large amounts of cash on hand
- Are in remote locations
- Employ only one clerk per shift
- Have minimal walk-up traffic
- Are easy to access and escape
When selecting a target, robbers consider risk vs. reward – or risk of apprehension vs. profit from robbery. So here’s how to increase their chances of getting caught and decrease their potential profits:
Keep cash on hand to a minimum and post highly visible signs that indicate this. Make frequent bank deposits and vary the time and route you take to the bank when you do. This’ll make it difficult for robbers to track you.
Well-lit property, both inside and outside, discourages robbers. Keep exterior lighting at full power during nighttime hours of operation.
Make sure your premises are visible to passersby and that your employees can see outside as well to discourage robbers. To facilitate this, remove any posters, product displays or advertising from all windows along with any hedges, bushes, or signs blocking the line of vision to the inside.
Security systems, such as silent holdup alarms and video systems will help to deter robbers.
Side and rear doors should always be kept closed and secured keeping in mind that quick exits are required in the case of an emergency.
Having two employees in the workplace can deter robbers, this makes it easier to supervise the sales counter at all times. It’s also wise to avoid exterior tasks, such as cleaning the parking lot or throwing out the trash, at night.
Greet all customers individually. This discourages robbers and increases their chances of being recognized and ultimately apprehended.
All customers should be monitored, especially at closing. Robbers target closing time to avoid being seen. Before locking up, check all areas of the store including offices, restrooms, back storage and the walk-in freezer, to verify there aren’t any customers in the building.
Markers should be placed at the main entrance so employees can provide the police with a proper estimate of the robber’s height.
Train employees on how to act during a robbery to minimize confrontation and maximize their safety. Provide counseling to employees who are victimized by robbery.