By Julie Beezley, Leavitt Group
Although business owners hope a robbery will never happen to any of their locations, it is essential that they and their employees know how to avoid becoming another crime statistic. Because robberies can occur anytime, business owners should always be aware of the potential for robbery and take the necessary precautions to protect employees and customers from potential harm, injury, violence, and possibly death.
This article addresses how to identify vulnerable locations and offers suggestions for improving your security measures.
The likelihood of being robbed during busy daytime hours is less than the possibility of being robbed in the late night to early morning hours. If you have a 24-hour operation, here are a few ideas for keeping your employees and customers safe.
- Remind managers and employees that they should NEVER disclose, even casually, to a customer the normal procedures, daily comings and goings of shift managers, or specific duties of certain employees and managers.
- Late night hours tend to attract some unsavory characters. These folks may not do any harm; but, regardless, everyone should be trained on how to handle difficult situations. Equally important as knowing WHAT to do is knowing what NOT to do.
- Ensure that inside cameras are highly visible, strategically located, and aimed at any activity at your cash register. This type of surveillance equipment can be a deterrent to robbers, so ensure the cameras are always recording.
- Do not allow large bills or large sums of money to remain in the cash register drawer. This includes during late night hours.
- During armored pick-up service be very alert to suspicious behavior of any customers before or during the pick-up. Have the deposit ready before their arrival to avoid delays and unnecessary exposure. If your locations have managers making deposits at the bank, remind them to vary the time they make the deposit, vary the bag or container they put the deposit in (do not use a bank bag), and vary the route that they take to the bank. They should be aware of any suspicious behavior of people along the way and alert anyone who may be watching them.
Robbers know businesses are often less staffed during the late night hours and usually staffed with less-experienced employees. In some locations a few of those hours may not be overseen by a manager but instead with a “person in charge.” A robber may watch the movements of a business for several days prior to an actual robbery, either from the inside (as a customer) or from outside the building.
- Train ALL management and employees on what to do and NOT DO during a robbery. Stress that the money is not as important as their safety and that of your customers.
- If applicable, show them the locations of the silent alarm or panic buttons. Stress that they should make NO SUDDEN MOVES to set off these alarms and only set them off when it is safe to do so.
- Train your employees how to recognize suspicious behaviors and to notice things that do not seem right about people either inside or outside of the building. This would include customers who are asking strange questions about your employees and/or their duties, people who are not regular customers who come in several late nights or during the early hours for a short period of time, or even people in cars who sit outside of the building but do not come into the building.
- Ensure the “person in charge” knows what to do in the event of a robbery. They need to know to call the police first before notifying anyone else.
Businesses located right off of freeway access ramps are attractive for a robber to “hit and run” and then quickly get miles between themselves and the business that they just robbed. Some locations may even be in areas considered high crime areas.
- Ensure parking lots in front of and around the business are brightly lit. The inside of the building also needs to be brightly lit, and the line of sight from the outside needs to give law enforcement outside or passing by the ability to easily see into the building.
- Train all employees and managers to ensure the back door is always kept locked after dark. They should not open it for anyone, not even an off-duty employee.
- If an employee’s shift ends after dark, management or another employee should watch from the door to ensure the employee makes it safely to their car.
- Ensure external cameras are strategically placed to record activity in the parking lot and as people enter or exit the building.
The thought of losing an employee or having employees injured through any potentially violent or senseless act is something we would never want to have happen. So take time to train or re-train your employees and managers on how to keep your locations safe from harm. Give your business a security “check-up” and make sure everything within your power has been done to prevent robberies from occurring.
The coverages discussed herein are for illustrative purposes only. The terms and conditions of your specific policy may differ from those described. Please consult the provisions of your policy for the terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply to your coverage.