As a business owner, you don’t like to think about the frightening prospect of being robbed.
You could lose money and merchandise.
More importantly, you and your employees could be severely hurt or even killed.
So it’s strongly advisable to do an analysis of your store’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then take the necessary precautions.
The minimal preparations:
1. Visibility of your store should be good from the outside.
Your windows should be sparkling clean, and your lighting must be good outside and inside.
There shouldn’t be any hiding places.
2. You should have an up-to-date camera and video-taping system.
This is helpful later if the unthinkable happens.
3. The cash register should be located so that it’s visible inside your store as well as from the front. Only keep the minimum amount of cash on hand for making change. Drop the cash frequently into your safe.
4. Make your bank deposits on an irregular basis – as much as possible, vary the times of your bank visits. It’s advisable for two people to make the deposits. Carry the deposit bag inside another container or bag.
5. Be discreet at shift changes – be sure to count the money in privacy – not in view of your customers.
6. An alarm is advisable – post the warning decals at the store’s entrance.
7. When customers visit, greet them immediately with good eye contact. In this way, potential robbers know you’re conscientious about paying attention. Another benefit: it boosts your customer-service image.
8. Designate an area out-of-sight from customers for your employees to store their personal possessions (and not under the counter near the cash register).
9. Train your employees so they can provide an accurate description of the perpetrators, if you are robbed.
10. Make certain that the rear store exit has visibility to the outside. In this way, you’ll minimize the prospect of robberies when you unlock the door to take out the trash.
11. Build a “safe” back room near the rear exit. Make sure it has a strong door that can be locked from the inside, and install a phone so you can dial 911, if necessary.
In case of a robbery:
1. Always cooperate with a robber. Don’t try to be a hero. Cash and store merchandise aren’t worth risking your life.
2. Don’t take chances – if the robber has a gun, remember that it’s likely loaded. Remain calm, speak softly but clearly. Make sure your hands stay visible so the robber doesn’t feel threatened.
3. Use a silent panic alarm only if you can do it discreetly and safely.
4. Focus on the robber so you can give an accurate description to give to law enforcement.
5. Get a description of the getaway vehicle – the make, model, color, license plate number – and the driver.
6. If you keep a weapon on the premises, it goes almost without warning – know how to use it, and only use it to protect lives.
7. As soon as it’s safe to do so, dial 911. Close your business until authorities arrive. If any customers are witnesses, politely ask them to wait for the authorities to answer questions.
8. Immediately write down all details.
9. Because it’s a crime scene, don’t rearrange anything or open your store for business until authorities say it’s OK.
Final thoughts: Your precautionary steps should include inviting your local police to your business to assess your security and to make recommendations. You should make the same invitation to your insurance company.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are other business precautions to consider:
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“Anytime four New Yorkers get into a cab together without arguing, a bank robbery has just taken place.”