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Crime Prevention through Awareness and Education

It CAN happen here

Although Mount Ephraim’s crime rate is well below the national average (41. 18 index crimes/ 1000 residents nationally in 2005), crime does occur here. One of the best ways to help prevent it from occurring is through awareness and education. By being aware of the weak points of your current crime prevention plan you can work to eliminate them. When you recognize the strengths of your plan, you are able to make sure they remain implemented and followed by all employees.

Think like a crook

Criminals are not going to play fair if they want to victimize you. Nothing says that you have to be completely up front and honest about your crime prevention techniques for them either. While your response must fall within the legal guidelines, deception is not forbidden. If you are unable to afford expensive cameras or security systems, you can probably afford a security system sticker for your window or a fake camera in your parking lot.
Consider asking anyone you catch victimizing your business why they felt it was a good target. Chances are they will be more than willing to brag about how smart they thought they were and how easily they avoided detection previously. This can point out weaknesses you were not aware of and allow you to fix it before you are victimized again. At the very least, contact the Police Department and ask them to have an Officer review your property and secuirty measures. They can sometimes point out security risks, flaws and immediate issues that may not be so glaring to the untrained eye.

Ask Your Employees

It is not possible to run all aspects of a business and be aware of everything that occurs. Therefore, ask the people who DO know. Someone in management might have a good idea for preventing employee theft while a cashier has an idea for preventing shoplifting. Employees might be aware of weaknesses and strengths that aren’t apparent to other employees. Brainstorming will at least bring awareness to all employees and remind them that everyone is working on the same side. It might also discourage a dishonest employee from stealing from you if they realize you are aware and care about preventing theft.
Do more than pay “lip-service” to employee suggestions. If they believe you are serious about crime prevention and value their input, they are more likely to take it seriously themselves.
Employees also need to be educated on what to do if they spot criminal activity. It is frustrating and not particularly useful to have an employee who can spot a shoplifter as he’s walking out the door but doesn't know how to react. Many criminals take advantage of an employee’s uncertainty and slow response to victimize the business repeatedly. Your employees should know exactly how to respond if they see suspicious behavior and should know when and how to contact Police should the need arise. If someone is being watched filling their pockets with merchandise for several minutes and the Police are not notified until after the suspect drives away, its safe to say the call was made "a little too late. "

Be Willing to PROSECUTE!

The sections in this guide will give tips on what information is needed to prosecute a case successfully. However, for most crimes, every detail about the incident becomes irrelevant if you are not willing to cooperate with law enforcement and the Prosecutors Office during prosecution. Take the time to make a clear, detailed statement to police and give your employees ample time as well. Allow employees the time needed to appear in court if necessary. Employees are more likely to exhibit crime prevention awareness if they know something will come of their effort.