Business Safety and Security
As a business owner, manager or employee, there are some simple preventative measures you can take to protect your business from crime and make your customers feel safe and secure.
Counterfeiting in Canada includes the manufacturing of false bank notes, forged credit cards, traveller's cheques, passports, and various identity documents. To recognize false currency, use the TILL method of checking for counterfeit bills:
- Touch the bill - bank note paper has a unique feel with raised ink on the front of the bill
- Tilt the bill - watch for the changing colours of the numbers and the maple leaves in the metallic stripe and to the left of the bill
- Look through the bill - hold the bill up to the light and look for the ghost image and puzzle number near the middle
- Look at the bill - you need to look carefully to make sure it appears and works as it should when you tilt or look through the note
- Train staff to check for counterfeit money.
To report counterfeit money, call the non-emergency line at 905-546-4925.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
CPTED simply involves three basic and overlapping principles and is based on the simple theory that a proper design and an effective use of the physical environment can help reduce the number of crimes.
When these techniques are applied, crimes of opportunity have decreased by as much as 90 per cent.
Take a look at your property and ask yourself:
- Are the views of your property blocked from the street or your neighbours?
- Are there large hiding spots around your doors or windows?
- Are there areas of contrast or shadow where an intruder could linger undetected?
Take a look at your property’s access control and ask yourself:
- Do people routinely violate my property and/or fence lines?
- Can this be done in an inconspicuous manner?
- Do people access my property in ways other than I intended?
- Do any existing access routes lack natural surveillance?
- Is there potential to access a window or door opening due to outdoor furniture or equipment?
Take a fresh look at your property and ask yourself:
- Do strangers regularly trespass on my property?
- Is my property being used as a short cut?
- Does my property have an unlived in or unkempt look?
- Are there underutilized sections of my property where the public can access and people loiter?
Interested in Learning How to Protect Your Property?
Hamilton Police Service Crime Prevention Branch provides FREE Residential / Business Security Audits.
For further information, please contact the Crime Prevention Office at 905-546-4900 or [email protected]
General Business Security
It is important to examine your property for obvious risk factors to make your property safe. Keep in mind that the most secure property is a property that doesn't attract criminals.
A Basic Risk Assessment:
- Are the views of your property obscured from the street?
- Are there any hiding spots around your windows or doors?
- Do you or your customers park in poorly observed areas or in lots far away?
- Does your property have trespassers?
- Are there weapons of opportunity (i.e. loose rocks or any object that can be picked up and thrown) in your parking lot or close to your windows or doors?
- Can strangers enter your building without talking to a receptionist or employee?
- Do employees routinely ignore unescorted strangers beyond the reception area?
Below are tips for keeping your building safe.
- Have a good video surveillance system that is prominently displayed both inside and outside of the premises.
- Check cameras regularly to make sure they are in good working order, capable of capturing quality unobscured images.
- Increase business visibility from the street.
- Increase parking visibility from your business.
- Direct the approach of visitors to observable areas using see-through fencing; gating or landscaping that doesn’t affect views.
- Decrease “weapons of opportunity.” (ie. Remove rocks or chain items down)
- Entering customers should be visible by either a receptionist or employee
- Evaluate lighting in the evening hours for areas of shadow and contrast, particularly in relation to entry points. Consider wire-screened, motion activated lights for dark areas.
Robbery Prevention Tips
The risk of robbery increases for businesses that handle cash, operate for extended hours or handle high value merchandise.
Robbery Prevention Tips
- Aim to be a good shop-neighbor and form community partnerships with other retailers, property management and police.
- Provide all staff with robbery prevention training.
- Ensure you have a properly working surveillance system.
- Ensure you have proper lighting inside and outside your premise, and remember to maintain them.
- Reduce the amount of cash on hand by making frequent cash drops at various times.
Using Store Layout
Store layout is critical in reducing crime; a properly formatted store will not only result in increased sales, but reduce theft and loss as well.
- Have low shelving to improve view of customers.
- Place your shelves in a way that allows employees to see between the aisles from the sales counter.
- Remove all excessive window signage or clutter from the sales area and other critical lines of sight.
In the Event of a Robbery
- Try to remain calm.
- Comply with the demands of the robber.
- Tell the robber everything you are going to do before you do it so that they do not aggressively react to your sudden movements.
- Give only what you are asked for.
- Try to note distinct characteristics of the robber, surfaces touched, weapon description and direction they fled.
- Train employees to watch for suspicious persons both inside and outside the business premise. Call the Police if something or someone doesn't seem right.
- Publicize the fact that the business uses cash protection techniques and good protection/surveillance equipment.
- Train employees to be good witnesses by making mental notes of the robber's physical description including clothing, type of weapon seen or mentioned, demeanor, etc.
- Always keep money out of the reach of customers
Shop Theft Prevention
The most effective way to prevent theft is to remove the opportunity for the crime to take place.
Theft Prevention Tips
- Keep the front windows and doors with a direct view to the sales counter clear.
- Displays in front windows should be low and still allow clear visibility into and out of the shop.
- Consider placing less valuable merchandise in your front window display to prevent smash and grabs.
- Place expensive merchandise behind locked display counters where they are out of reach to customers, or place them close to the cash handling area where your employees are able to keep an eye out.
- Consider switching to shatterproof glass for your upcoming renovations.
- Increase staff levels at peak times to discourage thieves.
Training Your Sales Associates
- Greet everyone when entering your store.
- Make eye contact with customers regularly to suggest that the sales associate will be close by.
- Associates should pay particular attention to people with large coats, shopping bags and oversized purses.
- Have an employee on the floor at all times while customers are in the store; the best defense to shop theft is to provide the best customer service possible.
- Employees should never compromise their own personal safety; in the event of a theft, do not chase after the thief.
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