Keeping the wolves from the office door

Safeguarding assets and employees are key priorities for any business owner, whether the premises are protected by a private security provider or not.

Security specialists Fidelity ADT have provided u|Chief readers with three checklists that any business owner should run through in order to safeguard their business and people against theft or crime – as well as some great advice on what to do when things go wrong.

Going about your business

  • Install an alarm system coupled to an armed response company and get to know the officers who patrol your area.
  • In the morning and evenings, make sure at least two employees open and close up shop for the day.
  • Place a surveillance camera behind the cash register facing the front counter.
  • Try to greet every customer as they enter your business; look them in the eye and ask if they need your help. Direct attention can discourage a potential robber.
  • Be aware of who is on your premises and where they are, paying special attention to anyone who is just hanging around but not buying anything.
  • Keep your business well-lit inside and outside and also keep trees and bushes trimmed so that they don’t obscure outdoor lights.
  • After dark, be aware of your surroundings and tell a colleague/employee that you are going outside to take out the trash.

Handling cash on your premises

  • Keep a low cash balance in your cash registers.
  • Drop all large bills right away; should a customer want to pay with a large bill, politely ask if they have anything smaller, explaining that the cash you keep on hand is limited.
  • Place all excess money in a safe or, better still, deposit it immediately.
  • If you do make regular bank deposits, vary the days and times at which you pay those trips to the bank as well as the route you travel. Also, do not use marked ‘moneybags’ which will make it obvious that you are carrying money to be deposited.
  • At night, use only one cash register. Leave the others open, with the drawer tilted, to show that it is empty.

In the event of a robbery

  • If your business is being robbed, put your safety first. It is more important than money or merchandise.
  • If you have a silent alarm and are able to reach to activate it without being noticed, use it. Otherwise, wait until the robber leaves.
  • If you are confronted, co-operate with the robber for your own safety and that of any employee or customer who may be there with you.
  • Be careful. The robber is likely as nervous as you are.
  • Try to remain calm, not making any sudden moves and keeping your hands in sight at all times. 
  • Do not stare directly at the robber but do make mental notes of their physical description, what they are wearing and anything else that may be important to law enforcement.
  • Tell the suspect if someone is working in another room on the premises or if you are expecting anyone to come out of a back room.
  • Do not chase or follow the robber once they have left your business. Leave the job of catching them to the police.