Physical Security Measures

  • Maintain a well-lighted interior visible from the street. Make sure signs, displays, plants, etc. do not obstruct the view of the customer service area from the street.
  • Physical barriers such as bullet-resistant enclosures between customers and employees provide the greatest protection for workers. Installing pass-through windows for customer transactions and limiting entry to authorized persons during certain hours of operation also limit risk.
  • Storage rooms that have locks that can be opened from the inside. Robbers sometimes lock employees in storage rooms. Hide a key in the room if the lock cannot be opened from the inside.
  • Marking the edge of the doorway at varying heights to help identify the height of a robber.
  • Give employees a view of their surroundings through items such as convex mirrors, an elevated vantage point, and placement of the employee/customer service and cash register area so that they are clearly visible outside the retail store serve as deterrents.
  • Securing the teller and cashier operations. Install barriers to keep unauthorized persons out of these areas.
  • Use doors and gates with latches that automatically lock on closing.
  • Install a timed delay switch to turn off exterior lights after the employees have gone for the night.
  • Display surveillance camera equipment. Be sure to have the equipment serviced regularly and only to use video tapes or DVD’s for the length of time recommended.
  • Use a dual key, drop or delay-action time-lock safe.
  • A silent alarm system. This alarm system:
    • Could incorporate a daytime holdup feature that reports to a remote supervised area. Make sure employees know how and when, and when not to activate the alarm.
    • Could be secretly activated by an employee who is forced to open the safe or vault.
    • Should include standby power and transmission method, and should be tested periodically. When accidentally set off or when it malfunctions, it should be reported immediately to the police to ensure an adequate response.
    • Should be taught to new employees and periodically reviewed with those employees who need to know.
  • Lock seldom used doors and windows at all times. Doors should have viewers. Doors used for deliveries should be locked when not in use.
  • Maintain good outdoor lighting. Good exterior lighting of the parking area and approach to the business during nighttime enhances employee protection. Surveillance lighting to observe pedestrian and vehicular entrances can also help. Adequate lighting within and outside the establishment makes the store less appealing to a potential robber by making detection more likely.
  • Maintain shrubs and trees that a criminal could use to hide.
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