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Robbery Prevention Tips

Because of several robbery prevention studies conducted by both private companies and governmental agencies, we now have a better understanding of how criminals choose their targets. According to most of these studies, the top deterrents to robbery are:
  • Clear windows to increase visibility from the street. When passers-by can see what is happening inside, there is a greater risk to the robber.
  • Good lighting of all areas of the parking lot and around the building. This will eliminate places where people can hide and will permit others to "see what's happening."
  • Use of a drop-safe so that there is never more than $50 cash in the drawer. Drop safes don't have to be large or expensive and are easy to install.
  • Posted signs about low cash on hand. Let the criminals know that they won't get much and it's not worth the risk!
  • Trained employees on prevention and response procedures. Establish a robbery prevention checklist and include regular training for all staff members. Include directions to cooperate (do not resist) with any person who threatens personal harm.
  • A surveillance camera that is visible in the reception/waiting area.
  • Controlled access for the public with automatically locking doors. Simply using "one-way" doors between the reception/waiting room and the rest of the hospital can give the staff extra time to summon help if someone becomes hostile or threatening.
  • Making sure the "employee entrance" door is locked at all times. Many practices have found that installing a "keyless" entry system like the one pictured here not only alleviates the locked door problem, but also makes it easy when staff members leave - you don't have to change locks; you just change the combination. Click here to view our "Suggested Sources Sheet" for keyless locks.
  • Use of an electronic alarm system with a "panic button" feature to summon assistance quickly. Most alarm monitoring companies provide continual protection for a very modest fee.
  • Removal of cash from the drawer at night and leaving the drawer open.
  • Counting cash away from front desk and windows.
  • Specific security issues when employees must work alone. According to every study thus far, businesses with a single employee on duty were most at risk of robbery. Establish "accountability" routines when a staff member has to go to the practice for emergencies or other business during non-operational hours.
  • Installation of peep holes or small windows in exterior doors so that the staff can see outside before opening the door.
  • Storage of money (including checks and credit card slips) in a secure safe awaiting deposits. Deposits should be made daily to keep the amount of monies on hand to the minimum necessary for operations.
  • No one action alone will deter crime, but by combining all of these elements into a prevention program, the business becomes a less inviting target for the planned crime.

Perhaps the best way to "crime-proof" the practice is to consult the local police. Most police departments have a crime prevention unit with the sole purpose of providing advice about security, crime prevention and personal safety. The best part of that service is that it's usually free!

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Did You Know...?

The average armed robbery lasts less than 2 minutes.

Here's a neat brochure to use in your next staff meeting when discussing security and violence prevention issues.  It's produced by the Henry County Georgia Police Department but it's advice is good everywhere!