Convenience stores have always been tempting targets for thieves. The following security steps will help increase the safety of convenience store employees and reduce theft.
Cash is usually what lures criminals. With good cash-handling policies and good signage, you can greatly reduce the chance that your store will be robbed. One study found that robbery rates drop by 80 percent when potential robbers know that there’s $50 or less in the cash register.
Install a Drop Safe
Install a drop safe and implement cash drop procedures with your employees. Be sure that your employees understand that the procedures are in place to protect them, not just the company’s money.
Post Cash-Amount Signage
Advertise to everyone who walks in your store that you keep only $30 or less in your cash register after dark, and that the employees don’t have the keys to the safe.
Employee Security Education
How employees behave has enormous impact on whether your store is robbed and on the extent of injury in the instances that they are robbed.
Provide Annual Security Training
Studies have shown that the likelihood of violence is 49 percent higher when employees resist a robber. Further, when employees become familiar with your existing security measures they are not as likely to participate in “inside” robbery attempts. Look for local security training programs and video resources.
Surveillance Cameras and Silent Alarms
Technology can play a large role in preventing robberies and prosecuting criminals.
Install Silent Panic and Holdup Alarms
These types of alarms protect your employees in potentially violent robbery situations. While they are not useful in preventing robberies, they can help reduce the impact of a robbery in progress. Provide proper training on the usage of silent alarms so that employees know how to safely use them.
Install CCTV Live Surveillance Cameras
Highly visible cameras can have a powerful impact on potential robbers, especially if they know that the cameras are monitored by live security professionals. Consider a live surveillance CCTV system for robbery prevention and instant robbery response. Having cameras properly aimed at the door and at the register can also provide valuable after-the-fact images for use in court.
Securing the Internal Environment
There are a number of measures you can take inside of your store that are proven to reduce the frequency and impact of robberies. Here are several points to consider.
Remove Signage From Windows
Visibility in and out of a convenience store plays an enormous role on the psychological comfort of the would-be robber. If robbers know they can be seen from the outside, then the likelihood of a robbery falls. Keep your windows clear of any and all signage.
Keep Shelves Stacked Moderately
Robbers often have a loitering period before they strike when they are getting comfortable inside a store. If they remain visible to employees -- and the parking lot -- then they are less likely to get comfortable with the idea of robbing you. Further, lower shelves can reduce incidences of shoplifting.
Elevate Your Employees
If possible, elevate your employees to provide them with longer range vision within the store. This, along with low-stacked shelves, will maximize visibility and natural employee surveillance.
Have Two Employees on Duty During High-Risk Times
Having more than one employee on duty can reduce the risk of robbery during the most high-risk robbery times. It’s vital that both employees are well-trained on violence reduction, as sometimes two employees are more likely to fight back against robbers.
Keep Your Store Neat
Stores that appear dirty and disorganized are robbed more often. Enforce regular cleaning duties that keep employees actively engaged in maintaining the store environment. Be sure they understand how this affects their safety.
Post Height Strips at Exits
For post-robbery management, put height strips at your store’s exit points. This can help employees identify a robber after a hold-up.
Securing the External Environment
How your store appears on the outside can have an enormous impact on overall robbery reductions. This section outlines several external environmental tactics for stopping robberies.
Remove Pay Phones
Pay phones encourage loitering. When people just “hang out” in front of your store, robbers become more comfortable in loitering and gathering information that could make your store more vulnerable. Further, if you permit loitering around your pay phones you’re likely to attract illicit trade, which in turn can attract robbers.
Post "No Loitering" Signs Outside and Enforce a No Loitering Policy
Get the police involved with loitering reduction. Train employees to call the police if there’s someone hanging around outside the store, especially if they are acting suspiciously.
Provide Adequate Lighting
Adequate lighting is shown to deter robbers. Be sure that faces in your parking lot are easily visible from the street. Strong, white lighting outside of your convenience store can also make your customers feel safer.
Limit Access with Fences and Shrubs
Escape routes are a key consideration for robbers. Control getaway paths, especially for robbers who plan to escape on foot. When possible, put up fencing and shrubbery that restricts easy getaway into alleys and crowded neighborhoods surrounding your store.
*These tips were used with permission from Pro-Vigil Remote Security Surveillance.