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There are currently more than 135,000 convenience stores in the United States, and the number of stores continues to climb. However, it is shocking to hear that while convenience stores represent just a fraction of the nation’s 3.8 million retail establishments, they account for roughly 6% of robberies reported to police.
Owners who have experienced a robbery at one of their stores face property damage, loss of operating hours, and legal fees, which cost them an average of $250,000. That’s on top of the average $943 in goods stolen during a robbery. The bad news? This is the best case scenario. The worst case can end in serious injury or even death to convenience store employees or customers.
If you own a convenience store, you probably have a security plan and security equipment in place. But have you thought about it recently? Are you sure that your employees, your customers, and your business are truly protected?
Here are just a few ways that you can increase your convenience store or gas station’s security as well as your own peace of mind.
Consider Bullet Proof Barrier Protection
The majority of convenience store crimes occur between the hours of 10pm and 12am, with 60% of crimes occurring on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. An easy solution is to restrict access to the building during high-threat hours, but that can impact your bottom line.
Instead, consider incorporating a bullet resistant barrier that would allow employees to complete transactions safely while customers shop at their convenience. For example, a rotary package passer would offer employees the ability to conduct business without risking their safety.
While you want to ensure that your store is secure, you want your customers to be able to effectively communicate with your employees— security is important, but so is customer experience. You need protection that can be adjusted depending on the time of day or threat level of your location.
For instance, horizontal sliders offer three levels of security and are attractive and functional. Vertical sliders also offer bullet resistant protection without restricting the mobility or view of your employees.
Install Video Cameras
Security cameras are another good safety measure that you can implement to deter criminals. Visible surveillance cameras are particularly effective in deterring “crimes of opportunity,” or crimes that occur when a person enters a retail establishment and seizes what they believe is a golden opportunity to get away with robbery.
Be sure to cover open spaces, including the cash register, sales floor, and doors. The outer perimeter should have coverage as well, particularly in crime-prone areas. This way, your employees can call for help if they see something suspicious –stopping crime before it starts. If a crime does occur, you can refer to your tapes to give law enforcement a lead on the perpetrator.
Get a Cash Management System
If your safe isn’t properly secured, your employees are at risk. Incorporating a Cash Management System, or a Smart Safe, will keep your cash stored safely and the total in your register low enough that it won’t be worth a criminal’s time. Your employees won’t have access to the cash, the doors are pry-resistant, and the tamper siren connects to your store’s security system— all of these are definite crime deterrents.
Bonus? A Cash Management System can also curb internal theft. 5% of annual revenue is lost because of employees taking the opportunity offered by unsecured cash.
Additional Robbery Prevention Features
In addition to these items, there are other low-tech things you can do to protect convenience store employees:
- Affix a height sticker to the door frame
- Keep parking lots and gas pump areas well lit
- Prominently display signs outlining your security features (cash management system, bullet resistant barriers, cameras, etc.)
- Communicate a plan to your employees so they know what to do in the event of a robbery or other crime.
Crime can happen anywhere, anytime. The best thing you can do for your employees and your business is to be fully educated on the many precautions available today to keep them safe.