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Protection For Your Business

The key to prevent crime in the workplace is to be alert with your customers and your surroundings.  Whether it's a robbery, shoplifting, fraud or embezzlement, a successful criminal is one that catches his/her victim unaware.

Convey awareness by keeping a "friendly" eye on all your customers.  Greet your customers with a friendly hello and pay attention to their reaction.  Someone who intends to commit a crime will do their best to go unnoticed and knowing that they have been seen may make them think twice.  Watch a person's body language paying particular attention to their eyes and hands.  A criminal will spend a lot of time looking around to see if they are being watched or looking for the quickest way out..  He/she will "case" the business looking for the optimum time and opportunity to commit the criminal act.

Be wary of persons that loiter with no apparent purpose.  Ask that person if you may help them and watch their reaction.  Do they appear nervous or startled?  Even groups of people, particularly young people, who hang around display counters without an apparent purpose may be suspicious.  One or more people may act as a diversion while another party commits the crime.  Many businesses have policies against loitering for this very reason and will post signs to that effect.

If your business does become the victim of a crime, there are a few important things to remember.  Do not attempt to follow or apprehend the suspect.  They may be armed and someone could be seriously wounded or killed.  If confronted, comply with the suspect's demands.  Don't attempt to argue or negotiate as it may agitate the suspect and cause him/her to become violent.  Do your best to take a mental inventory of the suspect's description, means of escape and direction of travel in order to relay that to the police.  The most important things are: name (if known), sex, approximate age, race, height, weight, hair color, eye color, clothes, and marks.  If the suspect leaves by car, try to take notice of the make, style, color and license plate.

Paper or financial crimes are numerous and not always easy to detect.  Again observe a person's body language.  Do they appear nervous?  Always ask for identification and compare the picture and the signature of the i.d. to the signature on the check or credit card.  There are six items on a check which should be examined before accepting it:  1) Date - do not accept checks dated ahead of the current date  2) Physical appearance - look for anything out of place such as poor quality printing or misspellings 3) Pay to the Order Of - make sure it is a valid check and not a voucher or simulated check  4) Check Number - most checks paid with insifficent funds are numbered less than 200; be wary  5) Verify Bank - is this a financial institution with with you are familiar? if in doubt, look it up  6) Amount - verify that the numerical amount matches the written amount  And of course, always check the signature!

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These are just a few of the things that can help to make your business safer.  It's a good idea to have a policy in place with procedures on how to handle potential criminal activity and training in those procedures with all employees.  The Southern Shores Police Department can conduct seminars for local businesses who are interested in learning more about crime prevention in the workplace.  We can also assist in doing physical assessments of your business to determine if there are measures which can be taken to better safeguard againt criminal activity.  For more information regarding crime prevention seminars or workplace assessments, please contact Sgt. Jon Slegel at 252-261-3331 ext 202 or via email at jslegel@southernshores-nc.gov.

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