Exposure to the elements for any length of time can lead to devastating consequences. Skin unprotected from the sun may result in serious sunburn. With extended exposure to freezing temperatures, human tissue may be susceptible to frostbite. A body in cold water succumbs to hypothermia. All of these conditions of exposure are risk factors to tragic outcomes. Exposure to violent crime directly relates to serious injury and death.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), instances of violent crime are directly related to the number of risk factors presented. The job most at risk to violent crime is no surprise - the taxi driver.
Risk Factors for Robbery and Violent Crime:
Contact with the public
Exchange of money
Delivery of passengers, goods, or services
Having a mobile workplace such as a taxicab or police cruiser
Working with unstable or volatile persons in health care, social service, or criminal justice settings
Working alone or in small numbers
Working late night or early morning hours
Working in high crime areas
Guarding valuable property or possessions
Working in community based settings
Fast Casual and QSR Exposure: With these risk factors to violent crime, it is also easy to assess the next vulnerable job – the convenience store worker. When the list of these 10 risk factors is analyzed, many are associated with the Fast Casual or Quick Serve restaurant. The restaurant delivery driver and the Fast Casual and QSR restaurant are next on the list.
Robberies are the most frequent cause of work-related homicide, and one of the leading causes of violent injury among workers, especially the retail and restaurant industries. Ironically, the most effective strategies to mitigate robberies and the resulting violence might be surprising because they do not cost much to implement and do not require any special technological know-how. Crime prevention programs are also good for business. Incidents of violent crime at any business can adversely affect customer traffic and the brand in general. If the employees do not think they are safe, the customers won’t either – and they won’t come. That affects your brand.
Poor Commitment:Unfortunately, the businesses most susceptible to robbery and violent crime may have the least access to information about successful robbery and violence prevention strategies and programs, even though substantial research has shown they are quite effective. The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing suggests that convenience stores limit cash in tills and taxis eliminate cash payments to deter robbery. However, those industries have largely failed to implement those recommendations.
Regulation:Law enforcement officials believe that reducing violent crime directed at these industries will be accomplished through regulation. It has already begun for the Quick Serve Restaurant industry. Many cities have adopted ordinances requiring cameras that record activity at the front counter to deter robbery.
Crime Prevention Programs: Making employees and customers safer and more secure in the Fast Casual and Quick Serve Restaurant requires much more than that. It requires a comprehensive loss prevention program that includes pro-active hiring, cash handling policies, access control, security procedures and most importantly – training. All of these cost virtually nothing but time, commitment, and expertise. Other considerations in crime prevention are digital or IP cameras with public view monitors, signage, electronic safes and lighting upgrades.
Real Risk Factors:Take a look at the list of risk factors above. Address each pertaining to your business. Don’t wait for regulations that force you to do it. Robberies have devastating effects on employees. They suffer from terror from the uncertainty or being hurt or killed. When violence accompanies a robbery, the physical and mental scars may last a lifetime. The risk factors are real. Put your loss and crime prevention strategies in place so your employees and customers are less vulnerable to violent crime from over exposure.
D.B. “Libby” Libhart has more than 30 years of experience in the loss prevention industry. He has provided security and safety leadership in retail settings such as department stores, drug stores and quick-service restaurants. Before launching his own company, LossBusters, Libby served as the Senior Director of U.S. Security and Safety for McDonald’s Corp. He entered the QSR industry with Taco Bell and subsequently YUM Brands.