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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:

  1. Contact with the public
  2. Exchange of money
  3. Delivery of passengers, goods, or services
  4. Having a mobile workplace such as a taxicab or police cruiser
  5. Working with unstable or volatile persons in health care, social service, or criminal justice settings
  6. Working alone or in small numbers
  7. Working late night or early morning hours
  8. Working in high crime areas
  9. Guarding valuable property or possessions
  10. Working in community based settings

Fast Casual and QSR ExposureWith 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 ProgramsMaking 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.

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Alan Greggo
    I agree that there is increased serious risk in each of the above occupations mentioned. I'd add specialty retailers that feature an expensive, small, highly fashionable item for sale fall into the same peril, especially if it's kept out of lockable showcases.

    A case in point, an employee: Jane, was working alont at 8:30 PM in a mall store setting just before closing when two males entered the store and confidently and outrageously picked up ten pieces of merchandise between them. They looked Jane in the eye and told her she would be best served by not moving or trying to stop them. Jane responded that they neede to pay for that product or put it back. One of the males pushed Jane to the floor, violently. The two ran out of the store with the product.

    What could have been done to prevent or mitigate the risk?
    The store should have scheduled at least two emplyees until closing.
    Installing IP cameras with a flat panel public view monitor displaying what was being recorded would have delivered a message to anyone wanting to harm the employees; someone was watching.
    Locking expensive product in showcases is obvious.
    Considering the benefits of a panic alarm button would be worthwhile in that setting.

    By this little scenario it's evident that the employee would think twice about working that shift, or even in that store again. What about the customers that may have witnessed that incident? Retailers often talk about creating outstanding customer experience. My hope is that all of this is considered before someone really gets hurt or killed.
  • Steven Ondrus
    Not only implementing surveillance cameras and security equipment will get the job done though. You point on poor commitment goes beyond just installing equipment. As a provider of these services, so many times after the "honeymoon" period of getting this new equipment ends, operators fall back into their old regiment. The security tools cannot be used only when an incident happens, but rather be used proactively in an attempt to cut off these negative situations at the pass so to speak. This is a message that I constantly push to my clients and prospects, which is why we not only provide constant training on the equipment, but also have available services to monitor locations as well as audit them to make sure that the equipment is being used proactively.
  • Patrick Kelly
    Using Alan's scenario, I agree adding video surveillance helps deter shoplifting. Utilizing public view monitors (PVM) adds an extra layer of security. In a large retail operation, this is used in conjunction with onsite loss prevention staff. But in QSR and small retail the staff (cashier) is now responsible for safety.

    The next generation of video surveillance "services" addresses: shoplifting, employee productivity and customer safety.

    Running a successful business includes ensuring that employees always feel safe. With ADT SelectSM View Video Assist, employee protection can start before an incident occurs. It’s a great solution for employees when confronted with a person or group whose behavior arouses concern–– especially at cash businesses, late night, or 24-hour operations. We install an assistance button in a discreet but accessible location at your facility. When the employee presses that button, an ADT Special Operations Security professional will look at a live video feed, announce via 2-way voice equipment that they are Security, and ask the employee if they require their assistance. Depending on the situation, the ADT operator may ask the person in question to leave the premises, or state that the authorities will be notified if the person in question does not cooperate with the request to leave the premises immediately. Upon establishment of video and/or 2-way audio communication, and based on the situation, if we determine that a criminal activity is taking place, we will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency and then notify your designated contact. Since the video of all incidences are recorded and maintained, you and your management team can view them through our web-based customer portal, so you’ll have a complete picture of what transpired.
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Latest posts by D. B. "Libby" Libhart
D. B. "Libby" Libhart
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.
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