Robberies and burglaries are common among gas station and convenience stores. In fact, they account for 6% of all robberies known to police. It is important to know what factors into your store being targeted. Your gas station and convenience store insurance should encompass coverage for crime, including stolen or damaged goods, however there are still ways to recognize risk.
The following is a list of exposures your business faces on a daily basis and ways to reduce potential crime:
1. Hours of Operation
Hours of operation factor into store crime, especially if you own a 24-hour store. The early morning hours (2:00am – 5:00am) have the greatest risk of a robbery or burglary occurring then due to the fact that fewer people are around. The fewer the people, the less likely there will be intervention during a crime, and the less likely there will be witnesses.
2. Interior Store Layout
There are several interior characteristics that influence vulnerability to robberies and other crimes. Employees should be able to see their surroundings clearly and across the entire store. This can be accomplished with cameras and convex mirrors. People on the outside of the store should be able to see clearly into the store. Also, your store should always be well lit. These three things can help reduce crime significantly, and give you better gas station and convenience store insurance premiums.
3. Exterior Environment
Just like the store interior, the exterior also needs to be well lit. This includes all areas of the parking lot as well as each gasoline isle. Big parking lots will tend to see more crime than smaller ones. Often vacuum and air machines will get chained to the back of a vehicle and the culprit will drive off with them. Also, your property should be fenced in or have landscaping maintained to prevent the number of plausible escape routes, perchance a crime were to be committed.
The location of a store can impact crime rates as well. Stores in more populated areas are less likely to experience crime because there are more potential witnesses. On the flip side, stores near abandoned buildings and parking lots will see a higher occurrence of burglaries and robberies. When shopping for gas station or convenience store insurance, location will factor into coverage greatly.
Security measures will vary per store significantly. Franchises have corporate policies set in place for each franchisee with crime prevention techniques and training. Each franchise will require different things, but “mom and pop” stores will likely not have these resources. It is up to the family owned stores to put in place their own security measures.
6. Incident Response Policies
An employees behavior is a key factor in determining the extent of a robbery. Will the robber see the clerk as cooperative or will the find them to be difficult to deal with? Inexperienced employees and inadequate training lead to higher assault rates. Every employee should be trained on how to handle situations such as these, to limit the possibility of injury and damage.
7. Cash Control
80% of potential robbers are deterred if a convenience store limits the amount of money they keep in the registers. If you have a large of amount of cash coming into your store everyday, you should be depositing it everyday, sometimes multiple times a day. Lotto tickets, money orders and phone cards are all targets of thieves. There should also be cash control policies set in place that do not allow employees access safes, for their own safety and to prevent employee theft. Often stores will have signs to help deter crime that state the cashier does not have access to the stored money.
It is important to be able to see potential crime risks and minimize them when possible. Crime can cost you customers which leads to loss of income. It can also make workers compensation premiums increase. Most importantly, you should always have insurance for your store because if not, the cost of crime can be so high you will have to close down your business.
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