Convenience stores face significant security risks. To help explain these risks, we turn to expert Tracy Alldaffer, a 30-year veteran in the security industry who previously served as Speedway’s Corporate Security Manager, for advice. Now the founder of his own security firm, Corporate Security Services, Alldaffer identifies the top three safety risks facing convenience stores and offers tips to mitigate them.
Employee Embezzlement is the primary cause of cash and inventory losses in a convenience store. One of the reasons this security problem is so pervasive is because it is difficult to detect. Fellow employees who suspect that a co-worker may be actively committing embezzlement might hesitate to report incidents to their management. Often employees fear that the co-worker will know who filed the report if nothing is done by the management. Some employees might feel it is not their business and only come forward during an official investigation.
Tips to Prevent Employee Theft:
Convenience stores should have clear anti-embezzlement policies in place and educate employees on them
Management should offer employees a confidential method to report suspicious activity
Merchandise Theft Incidents
Shoplifting is the number two cause of inventory loss in convenience stores and a growing target of organized crime. One of the biggest mistakes employees make is not greeting or making eye contact with customers as they enter the business.
The greatest deterrent to theft is making sure all customers, including potential shop-lifters realize they have been noticed by the employee on duty.
Tips to Prevent Merchandise Theft:
Train employees to greet and acknowledge every person who walks in the door
- Consider installing a surveillance system to deter theft
Convenience stores are a prime target for robbery attempts due to the daily volume of cash transactions. Employees often make the mistake of not securing cash which results in high cash loss during robberies. Perpetrators will continue to attempt robberies if they believe a significant amount of cash is available.
Tips to Keep Employees Safe During a Robbery Attempt:
Cooperate with the robber, and give them everything they want — even if the employee is protected behind a bullet resistant barrier
Activate the silent alarm once you’re sure the robber is gone
Lock entrance doors and wait for authorities
Document details of the robbery including assailant description
Violent crimes often result in serious injury to employees, customers, or vendors. If the business owner or operator of a convenience store location has reason to believe the market conditions of their business enhances the potential of a violent crime, Alldaffer recommends they consider installing bulletproof glass. The Ultimate Guide to Bulletproof Glass and Bullet Resistant Barriers is a great resource to research before installing a bullet resistant enclosure in a convenience store.
Convenience store businesses will always be a target of criminal activity due to the large cash based customer transactions. Whether the threat comes from internal employees, shoplifters, or robbers, you can minimize the impact of criminal activity on your business. Understanding the potential vulnerabilities of your operation and developing policies and procedures to educate the employees is the key to keeping your convenience store safe and secure.