Preventing your store, restaurant, or bank from getting robbed requires a delicate yet diligent balance between having the right procedures in place and ensuring that your employees stay vigilant at all times. Since not every burglary is as simple as shoplifting, where a thief hides goods on their person and sneaks out the door without paying, there’s a certain level of danger and intimidation involved when it comes to a full-fledged robbery. Additionally, there are violent robberies, in which cash is demanded from the register or till at gunpoint, which can be quite traumatizing for your employees. Because of this, you want to be proactive and implement cautionary protocols that in every way possible help deter and prevent a burglary from occurring.
Take Care of the Basics
There are some basic procedures that can be done to stop a potential robbery in its tracks. For example, having fully functional cameras in your store is one deterrent. While some thieves simply don’t care about ending up with their faces splashed across the evening news, cameras usually deter most inexperienced or low-profile thieves. A lack of camera surveillance in your business practically invites thieves to come on in.
Another good preventative measure is having your lights, both interior and exterior, on timers; this tends to keep nighttime burglars at bay. Most robbers will do anything possible in order to avoid detection, so small deterrents like lights and camera surveillance will cause them to move on from your business to search for an easier target.
Keep Cash Handling Procedures Under Wraps
When it comes to cash handling, it’s crucial to not only have set procedures in place but also to keep these transactions under wraps. For example, limiting a register to a few hundred dollars and then having employees do a “money drop” under the watchful eye of a supervisor once they go over that amount severely restricts the amount that a would-be robber will walk away with. You can also go one step further and have that money drop take place away from prying eyes (in a designated spot in the back that has additional camera surveillance), which is even better. Whatever your procedures are, make sure they are only known among your employees.
Actively Train Your Employees
Practice builds prudence. The more your employees know about how to stay safe, what your emergency protocols are, and what danger signs to look out for, the better off your business will be. It’s important to have loss prevention training with all your employees — not just your LP (loss prevention) specialists. All employees need to fully know and understand this important information. Making it part of your training system for your new employees and then doing refresher courses every couple of months for all employees ensures your team stays fresh, updated, and vigilant.
Hire with Caution
Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for a prospective new hire to accept a job at a bank or store with the intention of “casing the place” and working with outsiders to commit a burglary. It also isn’t all that unusual for a disgruntled employee, upset over not receiving a promotion or feeling disrespected, to find ways to steal money from the register. Knowing as much as possible about your employees and doing everything that you can to implement an effective screening and vetting process will help prevent these situations. Additionally, proper training for employees to actively monitor and keep each other honest — and alert them of any unusual activities that their co-workers may be caught up in — is helpful.
Know Your Neighborhood
Location is always key to robbery prevention and safety. Where is your business located? What’s the crime rate for your neighborhood? Do you need to implement additional preventative measures to ensure your employees’ safety? Knowing this information helps you put everything in a “big picture” perspective. You may need to install pull-down metal screens on your windows and doors or beef up your security system if your business is in a high-crime location. Areas with lower crime rates can usually afford a slightly more relaxed system, but it’s important to never become too comfortable — as you never know what might happen. Having up-to-date location knowledge and acting on it is an important part of the equation for staying secure and preventing significant losses.
Vigilance is the most important slice of the robbery prevention pie. Constantly re-evaluating your procedures, putting a crisis prevention team into place, and continuously training employees all play a vital role in keeping both your business and your employees safe. When you are building your safety procedures and protocols, make sure to include precautionary and preventative measures as well as procedures that outline what happens if you do end up in the middle of an active robbery. What happens next? The more thorough your plan is, the smoother the aftermath of a burglary will go.
Robbery prevention requires a systematic, preventative approach that constantly evolves and adapts to your business’ current situation, location, and clientele.