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YouTube is full of videos of convenience store and gas station robberies. For some, it’s fascinating to watch criminals carry out violent and non-violent activity. But if you own, operate or work in such a business, it’s terrifying and hits a little too close to home.
As a business owner of a 24 hour convenience store or gas station, your first priority is the safety of your employees and customers. The good news is that you can minimize danger, loss of life, and loss of property by being prepared. Consider creating a comprehensive security plan for your employees follow. But first, take a look at our list of most commonly-made security mistakes below.
Inconsistent Employee Training
The convenience store and gas station industry (and all retailers for that matter) experience a high level of employee turnover. It’s important to stick to a regular training schedule to make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of a robbery or other crime.
Leaving Bullet Resistant Barriers Open During Lockdown Hours
The main reason we recommend the Slider System for gas stations and convenience stores is because the chance of criminal activity increases between dusk and dawn. You need a system that allows for maximum customer service and safety. Employees should close the slider in the evening, and not leave the protection of the barrier during lockdown without first making sure the store is empty and locking the front door.
Blocking Views and Visibility
While it’s important to make sure your store is stocked with merchandise and floor displays, make sure they do not block your view to the outside. A clear line of sight into and out of the store will make a would-be criminal less comfortable following through with the robbery. Just make sure your employees are not counting cash in areas that are visible to the public. This could put your employees in danger even if they are behind a bulletproof barrier.
Dim or Little Lighting
Dim parking lots provide opportunities for criminals to hide and plan. A well lit, landscaped exterior, and a clean, bright interior creates a safer and more pleasant environment for employees and customers.
Poor Video Surveillance
Upgraded video equipment will provide the best possible picture clarity and help law enforcement identify suspects. You can even get cameras that integrate with your POS system.
No Employees Uniforms
To minimize confusion , your employees should always where an approved store uniform. This will help differentiate them from customers or criminals.
Using the Panic Button Too Soon
Panic buttons are installed in some convenience stores and gas stations to alert police of a robbery. They are intended to be pushed after the robbery happens. When a panic button is pushed too soon, it can trigger a hostage situation if the police show up mid-robbery. Also, if the robber sees you going for the button, that could put you in danger.
Too Much Money in the Register
If you’re not using a Smart Safe system, or you have one and you’re not using it correctly, you’ll be left with more money in your register than necessary. If you’re robbed with a large amount, then the perpetrator will think they can get the same score at another store and it will encourage them to try again. If you work for a franchise store, this could put your colleagues at risk.
Not Having Proper Signage
Advertise your store’s safety features with stickers on the front door. It can discourage criminals from eye-balling your location. Conversely, don’t bluff. If a criminal finds out, it could put employees in danger.
Refusing to Cooperate
This is a big one. To keep everyone in the store safe, give the robber your full cooperation and train your employees to do so as well. The store is insured and will recoup the loss. You don’t want to do anything to increase the odds of injury. Cooperate even if you’re in a bullet resistant barrier. Sure, you might be safe behind it, but if there’s a customer in the store, you’ve just put them in harm’s way. Also, don’t be a hero. Even if you think you can overpower the robber, doing so could put you in a deadly situation. The best thing to do is cooperate completely and use the height strips on the doors to estimate the robber’s height. Then fill out your robbery description form as accurately as possible once the robber leaves.