CRIME PREVENTION & SAFETY FOR BUSINESSES
The appearance of a business can attract or deter crimes of many natures. The following are some steps that can help make your business more secure:
• Maintain the property, A rundown business or building with attract criminals, so make sure that the building, the landscaping, the sidewalks and the parking areas are all clean and well-maintained.
• Do not keep old or damaged displays, posters or signs that are no longer useful to you.
• Have the checkout counter near the front of the store, so that employees can monitor activities inside and outside the store.
• Clearly mark public and private areas and make private areas hard to access for non-employees.
• Clearly mark parking areas and entrances to the business.
• Keep trees near the building well-trimmed and secure fire escape ladders so that they cannot be used to access the roof.
• Do not use large displays or posters that would cover the windows.
• Keep the building, especially the rear, well-lit at night.
• Loading areas should be kept clean and free of large objects that could hide people.
• Make sure that all entrances to the business are under constant visual surveillance.
• Install an alarm system.
Besides the suggestions above, there are more steps you can take to make your business more secure against burglary.
• The best protection against burglary is visibility – well-lit and open spaces will dissuade burglars from targeting your business.
• When closing your business for the evening, empty out your cash drawer, and leave it open, so that they can be seen from outside to be empty.
• Use deadbolts with a minimum 1-inch bolt with a saw-resistant insert on all exterior doors.
• Pin the hinges of exterior doors that swing out, so that the door cannot be lifted off the hinges.
• Make sure that exterior doors are solid core, and protect any glass with polycarbonate sheets, bars or roll-down covers.
• If you are considering installing or upgrading an alarm system, consider the following options:
• Panic button – in case of robbery
• Monitored alarm – if the alarm is activated, law enforcement is contacted
• Keep a complete and up-to-date inventory of your merchandise and store equipment, and keep a copy in a location away from your business.
In the event that your business does get burglarized:
• Call law enforcement immediately (911)
• Do not enter the premises, as the burglar might still be there
• Do not open the business, or allow anyone inside until the police arrive, as evidence may be accidentally destroyed.
If someone threatens you with a weapon and demands money, give it to them – never refuse a robber!
Below are a few tips on how to prevent robbery:
• Do not work alone. If you are alone, turn on a TV or radio in a back room so that potential robbers think that someone is with you.
• Do not make bank deposits at the same time every day, rather vary them, so that no one can predict your schedule. Keep minimal cash in the drawer, so that if you are robbed, your loss is minimized.
• Arrange your store so that the cash register is visible to passersby, and a potential robber would be seen from the street. Do not block the windows with posters that could block visibility from the street.
• Put up clear signs that the safe required a secondary key that is not on the premises.
• If you do not have one, install a security alarm, and consider getting one with a panic button. Advertise that you have an alarm with clearly visible stickers. Make sure that your employees know how and when to use the panic button.
• Talk to other stores in your area. Agree on keeping an eye on each other’s stores or buildings and to watch any suspicious activity.
• Paint or stick a series or markings by the door at 1 foot increments so that it is easier to estimate a robber’s height as he leaves.
• Record the serial number of the bottom bill in each drawer, and instruct employees not to use these bills.
• Consider keeping “bait money” in a compartment of the cash register. The bills should be separated by face value, and the serial numbers recorded, so that they can be given to law enforcement officers if you are robbed.
If you are being robbed:
• The most important rule if someone is threatening you with a weapon is to comply with their demands.
• If you have a silent alarm and can activate it without being noticed, do so, otherwise wait until the robber has left.
• Try to signal other employees with a pre-arranged signal, but avoid any sudden moves.
• Try to get a good look at the suspect, so you can give a description to police officers.
After a robbery:
• Call 911
• Immediately after calling the police, write down everything you can remember about the incident, and a description of the robber, including:
- Color of hair and eyes
- Identifying features such as scars, tattoos, accent or anything unusual
• Try to get a look at the escape vehicle and license plate numbers, and the direction of travel
• Keep everyone away from surfaces or objects the robber may have touched.
Many of the same precautions you use to prevent burglary, you also deter vandalism. The following are a few steps you can take to prevent vandalism to your building or business:
• Don’t have landscaping that will provide cover or hiding places.
• Keep the area around the building well lit, and visible to the street.
• Get together with the other businesses in your area and agree to watch out for suspicious activity.
• Since most vandalism occurs at night, try to schedule cleaning staff during this time.
• Provide an incentive for reporting vandalism and providing information.
• Repair any damage or graffiti as soon as possible.