During the festive season, there is a significant increase in the flow of cash at retail stores as the excitement of December brings with it year-end bonuses, preparations for festive season celebrations and annual journeys home or on holiday. This increased circulation of cash increases the potential of armed robberies at retail stores and shopping malls.
Despite the festive season being a time for criminals to thrive, it is also a season for retail stores and shopping malls to introduce extended trading hours and subsequently expose themselves to more of a risk.
Managing Director at Excellerate Security, Derek Lategan said that during the festive season, business and retail owners should remain vigilant. “During the festive season, it is always good to involve neighbourhood crime prevention bodies with the local police, private security companies and community policing forums. There should be a joint effort between communities and external bodies to fight crime. It is also advisable for businesses to move away from the traditional management of cash which generally increases the risk of business robberies,” said Lategan.
Adhering to the safety tips below could assist in avoiding a potential business robbery:
- Maintain visibility throughout your store. Keep your windows and doors clear of signs that can possibly hinder visibility. This not only allows for people outside to be able to see inside the businesses, but for the staff to be able to see outside.
- When customers walk into the store, maintain eye-contact with them as you greet them. Not only will this improve customer relations, but sends the message that they have been recognised.
- Keep your premises well lit. Both internally and externally. Thus preventing places for criminals to hide.
- Ensure that you have an effective cash control program in place. Keep the smallest amount of cash possible in the store.
- Should money need to be kept on the premises, lock it in a safe.
- Display clear signs around your store that your premises are guarded by CCTV cameras and that you have an alarm system.
- Keep any side doors or back doors locked at all times to prevent unauthorised entry.
- Most importantly, take precautions when opening and closing the store. Call your security company to send someone to monitor the premises as you open/close.
- Install panic buttons around the premises and ensure that all staff members are familiar with their locations. You can also purchase mobile panic buttons that staff members can carry on their persons and access immediately.
Ways to react during a business robbery:
- Remain calm and do not resist
- Comply with all demands made by the robbers and do not make eye-contact
- Assure the robber(s) of your cooperation and make slow, steady movements. Should you need to make any unusual movements, communicate this to them calmly so that they are not threatened by what you are doing
- Try to take note of as much detail as you can, such as accents and language