If you are a retail owner you know the threat of robbery is real. Criminals continue to believe their profit is going to be worth the risk they take while committing a robbery, whether during the day or after hours. You may not be able to convince all robbers from believing this, but there are some things you can do to decrease the possibility of a theft in your place of business while keeping your employees and customers safe.
Make it a habit to always be alert for suspicious activity. Anything that looks strange might be preparatory to a robbery such as prolonged loitering both inside and outside your business, and occupied cars parked for extended periods across the street or to the side. Politely ask loiterers to leave, and don't be afraid of calling 911 if something feels fishy.
Provide Good Lighting And Visibility
Assess the lighting inside and outside your store and ask yourself if it allows you to properly see what's going on. Install extra lights to areas that are dark, and always have a few lights on at night after closing. Cut back any shrubbery outside that might be blocking lights.
Most importantly, are you able to clearly see outside to the street from the cash register? If you can't, this means a patrol vehicle cannot see into your store from the street. You might have to re-evaluate the merchandise placement and register area in your store.
Secure Your Parking Lot
If you have your own dedicated parking area, there are many security measures that deter robbers and make it difficult to escape quickly.
- Install speed bumps
- Only provide one exit from the parking lot
- Allow parking only in front of your store to make it easier to see a getaway car
- Fence in your parking lot to deter thieves from escaping around the sides or back
Advertise Your Protection
If you have a security system, don't be shy about showing it off. Place signs, stickers and decals prominently around the store and outside the building to let everyone know you are protected. Don't install fake cameras or false signs, hoping to fool criminals. This indicates certain security measures that are not true, and criminals might infer that all security measures are false, such as not having access to cash after certain hours. All of your protection should be genuine.
Handle Cash With Care
Many robberies happen as your cash is about to leave the store to be deposited in your bank. To prevent this, be careful when handling your cash. Don't count it or prepare a deposit in plain sight. Instead, do it in privacy.
When you go to the bank, don't wear your nametag or uniform, and never go at night. Consider staggering the times during the day you make that trip, and conceal any cash in an unlikely container. Empty fast food bags work great. For large amounts, consider using an armored escort or a handy, willing police officer.
Speaking of police officers, consider getting to know those that patrol your area and find ways to increase their presence in your store. Offer to let them use your restrooms, or offer a free beverage or other service. Amenities such as these result in more officer visits to your store.
Ask them to drive through your parking lot when they drive by and check your cashiers. You might play a police radio channel at night to show a direct link to your police department. Consider working with other retailers in your area to reduce robberies and pool reward money for the arrest and conviction of a robber.
By utilizing these prevention methods, you can decrease the likelihood you will experience a robbery at your store.