It’s an unfortunate reality that businesses are susceptible to a range of criminal acts, which can have serious impacts on both individual victims and the business operation. Implementing preventative strategies is essential to ensure greater protection for you, your staff, customers, visitors and your organisation.
NSW Police provide valuable information on crime prevention and we encourage you to visit the link at the end of our story. We’ve summarised some of the key issues and steps that can be taken to minimise risk and actions that should be taken in the event a crime does occur. Focussing on the most common crimes of shoplifting, break-ins and robberies. Fraud is also a major threat to business but is a broad and more complex area, so we will cover that in another issue.
Local Police Area Commands
Macarthur is covered by two Police Area Commands – Campbelltown City Police Area Command and Camden Police Area Command and you should have the relevant contact details noted in easily accessible places for all staff. Police are active on social media and smart business operators regularly check in with their local Area Command Facebook page for updates on local warnings and alerts. You can also speak with the local Crime Prevention Officer at your local station for more specific advice on what you can and should be doing to prevent the impacts of crime on your business.
Armed Robbery – Be Alert
Armed robberies are possibly one of the worst crimes as they can leave victims – your staff, customers and other visitors – seriously traumatised. The growing use of drugs adds a potentially unpredictable and dangerous element.
The NSW Police website provides invaluable guidance on prevention, what to do during and after the event and we strongly recommend you refer to the link for more details.
Prevention strategies include: being alert to anyone watching your business or asking questions on how you run it; keep doors and windows secure; rear or side entrances should be locked when not being used; reducing the amount of cash held; don’t handle large amounts of cash in view of others; don’t discuss your movement of cash; install a safe close to the cash register; and if you do take large amounts of cash to the bank, regularly vary your schedule, route and don’t wear clothing that easily identifies where you work.
Don’t under-estimate the impact of visible preventive measures. CCTV cameras clearly tell offenders they are being observed and placing signs and stickers inside and outside the premises advising of your security measure is also important.
To minimise the impact on your people, make sure everyone is fully trained in your procedures in the event of an armed robbery.
During an armed robbery. Knowing what to do is extremely important. It will be a stressful scenario but try to remain calm and do exactly as the offender says. Only activate alarms when it is safe to do so. Many offenders will be nervous and could be affected by drugs so you need to explain clearly to them any movements you need to make, avoid any sudden movements and eye contact and speak only when spoken to by the offender.
Police will want as much information as you can provide so make mental notes of the offender’s language, appearance, accent, speech impediments, prominent features, tattoos and their weapon.
When the offender leaves, note details of any vehicle, direction travelled but do not give chase.
When the offender has left, call Police on 000 immediately then stay off the phone until police arrive.
Break-ins – Ba ne of Business
Annoying and a disruptor that no business appreciates. You arrive at work to find you’ve had a break-in or you’re awoken by your alarm company.
Implement your own preventive actions, in addition to the points mentioned earlier. As break-ins occur when the business is closed, ensuring it is secure is paramount as is not making it easy for offenders to get in.
Keep the property clear of obstacles and rubbish; install security lighting; fit quality locks and don’t distribute multiple sets of keys; when staff who have been issued with keys leave the business, change the locks; ensure glass is reinforced with shatter resistant film.
If you have an ATM, place it away from the entry points, have it anchored and covered by CCTV.
Shoplifting – Scourge of Retail
If you’re in retail the chances are, you’ve been subject to shoplifting. Amateur shoplifters tend to act on impulse, often juveniles on a ‘dare’ but with the rise in the cost of living, some people in need also resort to theft.
Professionals are more difficult to define, often work in pairs or groups as well as alone. They are usually very well organised and practised and their objective can be to steal in order to come back later to claim a refund as well as simply for the goods. They will usually check out the store so keep an eye out for any suspicious people outside.
To prevent shoplifting consider: store design and layout, staff education and training and your individual business procedures.
Open aisles with good visibility; mirrors; CCTV; stack goods tightly on shelves so they are more difficult to remove; lock expensive stock away. Tidy shelves; greet customers; pay closer attention to any ‘jumpy’ customers and ensure staff are trained in your procedure in regard to bag searches and if they suspect someone of shoplifting. You need to be aware of the legality. Under the Crimes Act, you can stop and detain a person who you suspect but remember the value of goods is nothing compared to the safety of you and your staff.
This is just a basic overview and we recommend you also visit the NSW Police website for further resources for a range of strategies and initiatives and regularly checkin with both Campbelltown and Camden Police Area Commands’ Facebook pages.
www.police.nsw.gov.au/safety_and_prevention/safe_and_secure/business Campbelltown Police Area Command:
65 Queen Street, Campbelltown 02 4620 1199
Camden Police Area Command Cnr Camden Valley Way
and Wilson Crescent, Narellan 02 4632 4499