We have seen an increase in violent robberies and burglaries across the Nation. We thought it important to provide the Pawnbroker community with a few reminders on some best practices for security since there are times we all become complacent with our business.
Make criminals think twice about hitting your store. Robberies and burglaries usually don’t just occur on a whim. Most in fact occur after careful review of your business’s security and operational procedures. It is only after sniffing out weaknesses in your operation that a perpetrator will strike.
Here are some steps you can take to harden the target at your organization:
- Make sure you have a written opening and closing procedure that your employees follow on a daily basis. Ideally your opening and closings should consist of at least two people. Make sure these employees don’t stand together rather one person staged at a safe distance away observing and ready to flee and seek help in the event of an issue. If you cannot use two or more people, make sure the individual person utilizes a panic button (hold-up alarm) and a cell phone. Once inside conduct an interior search of the premises. The search is for potential assailants and or things that indicate an attack is imminent. The same should be done at closing.
- Train your employees (designated alarm code holders) on using the duress feature on your alarm keypad.
- Utilize timelocks on your safes and vaults and set them at close to only open no less than 15 or 30-minutes after the next scheduled opening. Keep the safe or vault locked when not in use during the day.
- Make sure your store has proper camera coverage, both inside and outside and that they are all operational. At minimum, camera coverage should include all building access points and valuable/cash handling areas.
- Review your alarm system on a regular basis to make sure it is fully functioning. Talk to your representative about new products and services they offer that could increase your protection. Many times pawnbrokers may think they know how their alarm works but they really don’t. It doesn’t take much to pick up the phone and ask questions of your alarm company. What happens if my telephone line gets cut? How often does my cellular back up check my system? How long does my battery back-up last? What is line security and how can it help protect my business? What are supervised opening and closings?
- If possible, control access into and out of your store by having a man trap or remote access control system with electric locks in place. Monitor the number of people in your store.
- Always try to have at least two or more employees in the store at any time.
- Make sure your safes are not on an exterior or common wall.
- Harden your showcases and exterior windows with burglary resistant glass applications. Make sure you empty your showcases at night. Most burglaries occur in three minutes or less. This is because the criminal sees valuable merchandise left out at night.
- Review your procedures for transporting valuables and cash; alternate routes, travel at different times and go with at least two individuals one of whom is armed.
We all can get wrapped up in the daily grind and the pressures of running a successful business, however, you cannot forget that there are people out there watching you. By hardening the target you can help reduce your risk of an attack on your store. Make the criminals see that your store is not the store they want to hit! Make them want to go somewhere else!