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STOREWATCH Standards

With the aim of lowering their risk of being victimized in a robbery, businesses may request a robbery risk assessment be conducted on their site. This risk assessment is intended to evaluate the elements of robbery prevention that may be present (or lacking) and provide recommendations or strategies for improvement. Often the recommendations are straightforward and achievable without a significant investment by the business. The risk assessment addresses the site location and history, site layout and physical security (CPTED), cash control, video, operations, and administrative components such as training. The elements of prevention evaluated in the risk assessment are described below:

CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design)

All the factors typically evaluated in a CPTED audit make up one component of the risk assessment. The environment encompassing the business must be well lit. Interior and exterior of the site should appear well maintained. Store windows and doors must be free from posters, and merchandising within the business no higher than 3 feet. Two-way visibility of the cash register area must be maintained. Ideally the cash desk is located near the front, or be widely visible in the centre of the store. Staff should have unimpaired sight lines throughout store and to the outside. Merchandise shelving and displays must be at a height that does not hinder employee vision throughout the store. Stock and office areas are locked and isolated from customers; offenders are not able to gain access through unlocked or open and unattended doors.  

Surveillance Video

The video surveillance system must produce a single still photo, series of still photos or movie with a resolution that provides a clear unambiguous representation of the event.

Image acquisition must be readily available and the images obtained must provide identifiable detail that is suitable for facial and physical recognition while maintaining evidentiary value. The video surveillance system must be secure and yet accessible for immediate image acquisition. Staff must be trained on its use or images available promptly via a 24hr support centre.

Cash Control

The business must practice and advertise their cash control policy based upon the needs of the particular business. Each business must adopt a cash limit policy and any excess must be skimmed when appropriate and placed in a drop safe or another suitable receptacle that is not readily accessible to employees or would-be robbers. Script or bait money has been set aside with serial numbers recorded. Bank deposits should be made as often as practical, preferably more than once per day. Ideally the deposits are picked up by a service, times and patterns are varied, or more than one staff member travels to the bank to complete the deposits.

Operations

These include an evaluation of staffing levels, experience, supervision, and safe work practices. Businesses that have employees working alone are at much greater risk of being the victim of a robbery. In addition to staffing, sites are scored on whether they have a robbery alarm, GPS devices and training on their use, and store-specific product labeling if appropriate.

Administration and Training

The business must train all their employees in robbery prevention - emphasizing aspects of pre-robbery, robbery, and post-robbery activities. This training should be more than cursory and not just provided to new employees. Businesses are evaluated on the caliber of this training and the frequency with which they review their robbery procedures with their staff. The business should have policies for reviewing events, making changes, and for after-care of employees following a robbery event.