Out of all the essential businesses out there, convenience stores are one of the most likely to be the target of robbery or to be the location of some type of violent crime. Because of this, it’s incredibly important for convenience store owners to take steps to keep their employees safe and protect their merchandise against burglary and other types of theft.
The following convenience store safety tips can be applied to:
Access control is one of the best ways to improve convenience store security. You should keep all exterior doors except for the main entrance locked at all times and require that both employees and customers enter and exit through this single entry point. You should also lock doors to your back room and anywhere else that customers should not have access to.
Doing this helps you keep tabs on everyone who comes and goes and makes it harder for thieves to access merchandise and escape with stolen goods.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to restrict access to the exterior lot of a convenience store to limit access to the property after hours and eliminate possible escape routes. For example, you can install a fence or a tall, thick hedge along the property line or around the parking lot to prevent people from accessing the store from anywhere but the front.
Video surveillance is an absolute must for convenience store security. Many convenience store owners install video cameras for show, but they don’t actually record or allow 24/7 monitoring of the premises.
It’s never been easier to install state-of-the-art video surveillance that you can monitor via software right from your phone, laptop, or other mobile device. Should your convenience store be the target of a crime, the video footage is extremely helpful for catching the perpetrators after the fact.
Also, if you own multiple stores, you obviously can’t be at all of them at once. Monitored video surveillance systems allow you to keep tabs on what’s going on at all your business locations at all times.
Make sure to place the video cameras high up where they are visible and cannot be easily damaged or tampered with, in key locations on both the interior and exterior of your business.
According to convenience store safety and security experts, the cash register area of your store should always be visible to anyone outside the store in the parking lot. If this is not currently the case, rearrange your shop’s layout so it is.
For example, move tall shelves or displays to the back so they are not blocking the view. That way, if a robber ever holds up your store, they are more likely to be seen by someone outside who could call the police.
You should also ensure good visibility inside your store, so thieves have less opportunities to hide their activities.
For instance, place taller shelves around the edges of the store and keep low shelves in the middle, so the employees at the cash register can always see what’s going on in the store. You can also install large, wide-angle mirrors in corners to help eliminate blind spots.
When it comes to the exterior of your convenience store, installing bright lighting can be a huge deterrent to would-be burglars. Tall lamp posts with flood lighting in the parking lot and motion sensing lights near all doors are a good place to start.
In the unfortunate event that your convenience store is held up or there is some other safety or security emergency, a panic button is absolutely essential. You should install panic buttons at the cash register and in the back room. That way, your employees can easily access them to alert the authorities of a dangerous situation, who will arrive and deal with the threat ASAP.
A convenience store’s security is only as strong as its weakest points, which are typically unprotected storefront doors and windows. Burglars can easily smash a pane of glass to open a door from the inside or step right through and help themselves to all your merchandise after business hours.
If aesthetics aren’t a concern, you can reinforce glass doors and windows with traditional convenience store security solutions, including bars and grates.
However, these are unsightly and detract from the curb appeal of your business, as well as prevent window shopping and block out natural light. Fortunately, there are better solutions out there, such as laminated security glass or polycarbonate security glazing.
These types of security glazing can be retrofitted over your existing glass, creating an invisible barrier to forced entry and burglary that doesn’t noticeably change the appearance of your building or change the functionality of your storefront glass.
When a would-be intruder attempts to smash a piece of security glazing, they will be surprised to find that it does not shatter inwards as expected. This is often enough to deter them from pursuing their forced entry attempt, or it delays them enough for the police to arrive and catch them in the act.
Finally, to fully protect convenience store employees against armed robbery and other violent crimes, you should install a bullet-resistant cash transaction window that covers the whole cash register/transaction counter area.
Ideally, this window should be made out of bullet-resistant polycarbonate or glass-clad polycarbonate, which provides a very high level of ballistic protection and is virtually unbreakable, even if riddled with bullets. The window should have a metal tray in the counter below or some other type of built-in pass-through window to facilitate sales transactions.
Contact Riot Glass, Inc. today for a free convenience store security consultation.