Monday, October 26, 2015

Passive security measures for small businesses

People who rob convenience stores have much in common with coyotes.  They are both opportunistic predators.  Both are wary as opposed to intelligent.  Both are creatures of habit.

It should be possible to harden a business against robbers by studying successful coyote hunters and doing everything they don't do.

Coyotes are wary of traps

The shelving units on the left and bottom extend all the way to the walls.  The only way in-and-out of the electronics area is to go by the cash register island.  The only portions of this area that are not visible to the clerk are the small end-caps on the far ends of the shelves.
This floor plan is similar to the "Electronics" section of a local retailer.  It is in the back of the store.  Somebody boosting goodies has to get by the cash register island, across the store and out the door.  Security has many chances to either apprehend a shop-lifter or to get a "looks" at their faces.

Note:  I was unable to receive permission to take photos so you are stuck with drawings.

The fear of entrapment can be exploited by many, baffling patterns of islands in parking lots.  Robbers want a quick, uncomplicated escape plan.

Coyotes crave concealment

This is easy.  No shelving (plus item height)) over five feet of height.  Nothing hanging down from the ceiling any lower than 8 feet in height.
You are doing it wrong if you need a step stool to restock.
Besides, what kind of bone-head puts the Bran Flakes on the top shelf?
Get the signs out of the windows!  Robbers get nervous when any passerby (or cop) can look in and see shenanigans.
A corollary to getting the signs out of the window is to move the cash register island so it is extremely visible through those windows/entrance doors.  That also fits will with "trapping".

Coyotes like a big score

Coyotes generally eat mice.  They have to work hard for each bite.  They are irresistibly drawn to The Big Payoff.  Coyote hunters will collect roadkill and make a pile. Coyotes cannot leave it alone.

If possible, make it attractive to pay with by installment, with credit cards or by check.  Nobody robs insurance agents because they have no cash on hand.

Drop-box safes are a great idea.  Put up signs so folks know.  Make sure you use it.

Coyotes prefer defenseless victims

Personally, I like the strips that alternate light-and-dark in six inch increments.  I think it is easier for the employees to reconstruct the bad guy's height from memory.  This works especially well when you have a security camera looking at the door, getting faces as people walk in and heights as they walk out.
Four fake security cameras cost about $25.  They are a great compliment to having a few real ones.  Consider putting a security camera on the parking lot.  The person running the cash register rarely sees the vehicles that customers drive.


  1. Put the cameras down low to see faces. Most banks and stores have them up high out of the way looking down on hoodies and cap bills.

    1. Hello Greggbc:

      Thank-you for reading. And thank-you for commenting. That is an excellent piece of advice.

      I really like it when folks who know more than I know weigh in and give solid advice. That gives our readers value.

      Again, thanks.