Deputy Chris Varela of the Menifee Police Department sent us this list of robbery prevention tips for local business owners...
As the economy continues to decline more and more people may turn to supplementing their income through illegal means. A problem for most businesses has and always will be robbery. In the city of Menifee there have been approximately five incidents of robbery occurring at local business since the beginning of 2009.
Below is a list of simple prevention tips every business owner and employee should implement.
- Greet every person who enters the business in a friendly manner. Personal contact can discourage a would-be criminal.
- Keep windows clear of displays or signs and make sure your business is well-lighted. Check the layout of your store, eliminating any blind spots that may hide a robbery in progress.
- Provide information about your security systems to employees only on a "need-to-know" basis. Instruct your employees to report any suspicious activity or person immediately and write down the information for future reference.
- If it all possible install security cameras that can store video footage for more than one week. If cameras are installed have them view the entrance and exits of the location as well as the cash registers.
- Place cash registers in the front section of the store. This increases the chances of someone spotting a robbery in progress and reporting it to the police.
- Keep small amounts of cash in the register to reduce losses. Use a drop safe into which large bills and excess cash are dropped by employees and cannot be retrieved by them. Post signs alerting would-be robbers of this procedure.
- Make bank deposits often and during business hours. Don't establish a pattern, take different routes at different times during the day. Ask a police officer to escort you to the bank whenever possible.
- Ask local law enforcement what to do in case you are robbed. Make sure your address is visible so emergency vehicles can easily find your business.
- If you or your employees are confronted by a robber, cooperate. Merchandise and cash can always be replaced—people can't!
Most robbers have already inspected the business they intend to rob. Keep a vigilant eye for returning customers who appear to be looking for security cameras, security guards or who ask a number of questions regarding common practices of employees and security.
In the event that a robbery does occur remember a good witness is the best tool Law Enforcement can use to apprehend the suspect. Do not get confrontational with the robbers. Try to remember the best description possible of the suspects: race, sex, clothing worn, any facial hair or tattoos.
How many there were, what direction they took when leaving the location, whether they left on foot or used a vehicle and if they had any weapons.
If you are a victim of a robbery or a witness dial 911 as soon as possible.
The tips provided may not completely prevent a robbery from occurring but will help in deterring criminals from attempting to rob a business.
Deputy Chris Varela of the Menifee Police Department