Commercial Safety and Fraud Prevention Tips

Commercial burglaries occur after your business closes and are often crime of opportunity. However, commercial robberies are more personal and take place when your business is open and employees are present. Robbery is the act of taking something from another, by force or intimidation, that is in their possession. While the store may suffer the loss, employees are typically effected most by a robbery. Owners need to educate employees and take an active role in reducing robbery opportunities.

The first step is to consider the physical layout and how it protects employees inside the business. Second, implement safety practices to discourage would-be robbers. Third, keep the business free from clutter and maintain clear line of sights from the parking lot and throughout the business interior. Finally, reassure employees that merchandise can be replaced but their safety and life are paramount to the business success. Your goal is to reduce opportunity.

Tips for Preventing Commercial Robbery

Take measures that make your store unattractive to robbers. Some prevention measures include:

  • Great everyone who enters your business
  • Keep doors and windows clear of signs and posters to allow good two-way visibility
  • Use video surveillance and make it well known
  • Make bank deposits at least once a day
  • Place a surveillance camera behind the cash register facing the front counter
  •  Install a robbery alarm
  • Make your sales counter clearly visible to outside observers
  • A clean environment is good for business and uncomfortable for robbers
  • Keep your business well-lit inside and outside

What To Do If a Robbery Occurs

  • Stay calm and don't resist!
  • Do as instructed.  Don't make sudden moves.
  • Keep your hands in sight at all times.
  • Get a look at the robber but don't stare.
  • If safe - Get a description of the robber's vehicle and direction of travel.
  • Activate the panic alarm ONLY when it's safe.
  • Personal safety first!  Money and merchandise are not important and can be replaced.
  • Don't chase or follow the robber out of your place of business.  Let the police chase the robber!

After a Robbery Occurs

  • Close the store and lock the doors
  • Call the police; even if the alarm was activated
  • Don't touch anything the robber may have touched
  • Ask witnesses to stay until the police arrive
  • Only step outside when the police arrive
  • Call your business owner, manager, or other designated person

Additional Security

  • Use a drop safe that is secured to the floor
  • Post signs indicating limited cash on hand
  • Professionally install security cameras to capture the best images of the suspect
  • Trim landscaping for good view into and out of your business

Tips For Preventing Shoplifting

  • Train your staff to be courteous and alert. Thieves are less likely to steal if they think they are being watched
  • Sales personnel can notice if merchandise is missing if it is displayed neatly in standard groups with three or four items per display
  • Place small, expensive items in small secured display cases close to sales staff. Counters that are near exits are easy targets for "grab and run" thieves
  • When displaying clothes, turn over other hanger on the rack the opposite direction. This also deters the "grab and run" thief.
  • Display signs in your store that state "Shoplifters will be Prosecuted"
  • When you apprehend a shoplifter, contact the Police Department regarding actions you should follow. Cooperate with law enforcement, and with the attorney prosecuting the case

Check Cashing Precautions

  • Accept only local checks with the current names and addresses printed on them
  • Does the check have a low number or no printed number? About 90% of bad checks are drawn on new accounts
  • Does the word amount match the number amount?
  • Examine checks closely. Don't accept any with alterations.
  • Accept only payroll or government checks when you know the person or can verify the check
  • Don't accept postdated checks
  • Don't accept two or more party checks
  • Ask for identification with every purchase. Examples of valid identification include a valid driver's license or I.D. card