Armed robbery. The very combination of those two words makes one shudder. Within the justice system, the act of armed robbery is a felony and a conviction carries serious consequences. Yet many, fueled by drugs, alcohol, or desperation, plus their perception of an "easy mark," are willing to take the risk.
An armed robber has their own set of criteria in determining the risks they are willing to take to reap the rewards. In most cases its cash, or something they can turn into cash. It's their payday. These predators pick their victim, often seemingly at random, but they do pick their victims. Fate intervenes and one of those targets could be your business. The victims will be your employees, perhaps even you. The emotional trauma of being robbed is life altering. Your life is threatened by someone who is dangerous and volatile. The moment will be ingrained in your memory for the rest of your life. So, how did your paths cross? What led to this intersection of honest business and heinous crime? Why did they pick you?
1. It's All About the Benjamins – You have cash everywhere and the robbers want it. There are large sums of cash in the registers and they see it when the cash register is opened during a sale early in the evening. They know that you have a safe with even more cash in it. They have watched you take deposits to your car and drive the same route to the bank every day. In American folklore notorious gangster Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. His reply; "That's where the money is;" the simple thoughts of the criminal mind. Cash is what you have, and cash is what they want.
2. You're Perceived as Easy Prey – There are hours when your business is operated with a skeleton crew, perhaps a person working alone. Business is slow during those hours and there are less potential witnesses and less possible resistance. You or your manager is not up front managing the business. It is easy in, and easy out.
3. No Sheriff in Town – Security is poor. Doors that should be locked are not. No one seems to be paying much attention to the activity around them. No policies or procedures address the control of the back door and opening during late night hours. You don't include checking for "hide-ins" during closing procedures. The "buddy" system isn't utilized staggering the entry of employees at opening and their exit after closing. Keys, locks and codes are poorly controlled.
4. Left to Their Own Devices – Your employees have received no training on robbery prevention. They don't know what suspicious actions to look for and are in extreme danger since they have not been trained on how to react properly in the event they are robbed or what they should do immediately after. When faced with the stress and anxiety of armed robbery your employees may rely on their instincts of flight or flight. They may try to run, resist, or produce their own weapon – all which may result in tragedy. They blare music during the clean-up operation after closing and are oblivious of the robber smashing their way in.
5. Wolves in the Henhouse – You don't screen your employees before you hire them. You may do a cursory interview, but rely on your "gut feeling" in hiring. You hire people who may have criminal records that will negatively affect your business when their criminal actions are repeated. They may have ties to thugs and gangs and reveal your cash management operations. Unauthorized non-employees are allowed in your business after hours.
6. "Lost" Prevention Efforts - Your building and premises offer very little in preventing armed robbery. The exterior lighting is dim offering protection for the predators. There are neither cameras nor alarms to prevent the intentions or capture the actions of the robber. The exterior lighting is poor. Visibility through the windows is blocked by overgrown shrubbery, trees, and/or marketing materials. Fencing that limits access to the property is in disrepair or non-existent. The rest rooms have drop ceilings where robbers can hide and office doors are left unlocked.
Robbers pick the path of least resistance. They prey on the weak, the untrained, and the unprepared. For those who fail to implement the elements of robbery prevention the chances of being robbed rise exponentially. Fate intervenes when the criminal desires of the robber meets the business with no relevant policies and procedures, poorly trained employees, no preventative equipment and high vulnerabilities. That's why they will pick YOU.
For more information on security, safety, loss and crime prevention for restaurants, visit www.LossBusters.com. For daily tips on restaurant loss prevention, follow on Twitter @LossBusters.
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.