It’s a fact, the threat of crime is part of doing business. No business is immune from the growing menace of burglary, robbery, shoplifting, personal assaults, internal thefts, check forgery, and computer and credit card fraud. Studies have shown that at least 30% of all small business failures are the result of losses from crime. Hardest hit of all are retail businesses, but statistics show that All small businesses suffer devastating effects from crime.
As a business owner, you are often told that the responsibility to prevent external and internal theft lies squarely with you. But what, exactly, can you do to create a safe, secure environment for your employees and your business?
First...when you start a Business Watch program in your area, block, or shopping mall, you will take an important step. Neighboring businesses working with the West Valley City Police Department can establish and support a network that works. This will make your business community an attractive and safe place to work and shop.
Business Watch is hardly a new idea; in fact, it is based on one of the oldest and simplest concepts known to man, neighbor helping neighbor. And when neighboring merchants get together and cooperate with law enforcement, crime can be reduced.
Lessen The Opportunities For The Criminal
Take control of what happens in your business community, and lessen your chances of becoming a victim. Through Business Watch, you will be making crimes against yourself and your fellow business neighbors as difficult as possible. Thriving Business Watch programs across the nation are deterring criminals by:
Promoting communication and understanding between law enforcement and the business community
Encouraging cooperation between neighboring merchants
Teaching merchants to crime-proof their own businesses and report any suspicious activity to authorities
Developing a phone-tree system for quick dissemination of information regarding criminal activity in the area
Encouraging the development of signals to activate in adjacent businesses when someone needs help
Take Protective Measures
Secure all obvious (and not so obvious) points of entry to your business. Pretend you are a burglar...stand outside of your store and plan how you would get in. Then install secure locks on all doors and windows. Remember...a cheap lock can be jimmied with a knife or plastic card, so use sturdy dead bolts on doors with glass panels.
Replace hollow-core doors with doors of solid construction.
Avoid displaying valuable goods in store-front windows, and install tempered or laminated glass or impact resistant plastic windows.
Brightly illuminate all entrances with vandal-proof fixtures.
Leave empty cash drawers open after hours.
Keep all shrubbery and debris away from windows and doors. Don’t provide concealment or climbing platforms for the burglar.
Lock all ladders, ropes, and tools that could help a burglar gain entry.
Install an alarm system and check it regularly for failure.
Make frequent bank deposits at varied times.
Teach employees to be aware of persons who are loitering or behaving in a suspicious manner. Such persons may be casing the premises for burglary, robbery, or shoplifting.
Do not work alone. If you must do so, leave a radio or television playing to suggest someone else is present.
If you are robbed, observe the robbers, rather than fighting them off. Call the Police immediately afterward. Quickly jot down a description.
Advertise a policy of prosecuting all shoplifters, and stick to it.
Deter bad check artists by establishing a check-cashing policy. Make sure employees know and adhere to store policy.
Teach employees to exercise caution before accepting charge cards. Make sure cards are not expired, that they have not been altered, and that signatures bear a “reasonable resemblance.”
Maintain conscientious Key Control. Keys issued to employees should be stamped “Do Not Duplicate.” Install new locks and issue new numbered keys when ever employees leave their jobs.