22. Retail Crime Prevention Program
Violent incidents in society are becoming more frequent and mainstream around the nation and world. Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) believes your safety is the most important responsibility we are charged with. This program is not designed to scare you into thinking there is a violent situation lurking around every corner. It is designed to prepare you with knowledge should you be in a violent incident.
2.0 Key Concepts
2.1 Safety First: Personal Safety
No matter what type of violent situation you are confronted with, your response should be essentially the same? Stay as calm as possible and do exactly as the perpetrator says. Keep in mind that safety is first and foremost – PLU protects people first and money/merchandise second.
2.2 Preparation: Violence Awareness; Work Space
While violence/robbery is every cashier’s greatest fear, the best way to handle that fear is to prepare properly. Preparation involves thinking through possible violent situations and how you would react. The object of this program is to prepare you to protect yourself and others from harm.
2.3 Working Together
When all employees work together as a team, the chances of preventing a violent incident are much greater. And, if a violent incident does occur at your location, working together will improve your chances of coming out safely and catching the perpetrator.
Life-threatening/violent incidents of any kind, even an activity that appears violent, shall be reported initially by calling -911. Then call in or have another employee call in report to Campus Safety by phone to x7911 (253- 535-7911 off-campus). In the case of an emergency initial call shall be made to -911 (If -911 call made from PLU phone Campus Safety will be alerted). If off-campus call -911 then call Campus Safety at: 253’535-7911. Reports of criminal activity should be reported to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department by calling -911 with assistance from Campus Safety. Campus Safety office is always open and Safety Officers are always available to help you.
If you contact -911 and Campus Safety to report a crime, possible crime or concern, please be detailed and specific. Please try to provide detailed information to assist us in providing better service. A detailed description of a person or vehicle will allow us to quickly identify what you are referring to as opposed to a general description (See Appendix A). Knowing locations on campus and directions such as north, south, east and west will also assist us in tracking situations. Please don’t let a lack of specific information deter you from reporting though! Pierce County Sheriff and Campus Safety would rather be called about a situation that turns out to not be a problem as opposed to not being called about something important.
Managers and Supervisors are responsible for the implementation of PLU’s Retail Crime Prevention Program. This includes:
- Ensuring that retail workplaces and equipment are safe and well maintained in compliance with PLU policies, programs and practices.
- Ensuring that the safety practices and procedures for retail employees are clearly communicated and understood through training.
- Enforcing safety preparedness practices related to retail crime prevention fairly and uniformly.
- Evaluating employees on compliance with retail safe work practices.
- Encouraging employees and students to report violent incidents without fear of reprisal.
Employees and students are responsible for following the requirements of PLU’s Retail Crime Prevention Program. This includes:
- Actively supporting and participating in PLU’s effort to provide a safe retail working environment.
- Coordinating and cooperating with all other employees in the workplace to try to eliminate violent incidents.
- Applying the principles of safety and security procedures in daily retail work.
- Reporting promptly to your manager/supervisor every retail crime committed.
- Not removing, displacing, damaging, destroying or carrying off any safeguard, notice, or warning provided to make the workplace safe.
- Not interfering with the use of any work practice designed to protect you from retail crime.
- Doing everything reasonably necessary to protect the life and safety of others.
- Participating in training programs.
4.0 Retail Operations Training Requirements
4.1 Initial Training:
The following required training applies to employees working any time during the hours of 11pm to 6am per the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (Chapter 296-832, WAC):
- This training must be conducted prior to the employee working this time period.
- Provide crime prevention training as part of your Safety Orientation Program.
- Make sure you have instructed your employees on the purpose and function of robbery and violence prevention to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to maintain their personal safety.
- Provide training and training materials outlining PLU’s:
- Security policies
- Safety and security procedures
- Personal safety and crime prevention techniques
- Provide formal instruction about crime prevention through a training seminar or training video
presentation that includes these topics:
- How keeping the store clean, neat, and uncluttered discourages potential robbers
- Why the cash register should be kept in plain view from outside the store, if your store layout allows.
- Reasons for operating your business with only a minimum number of cash registers at night.
- Reasons for keeping cash register funds to a minimum.
- How to take extra precautions after dark such as ways to keep alert, making sure appropriate lights are on, inspecting dark corners, and identifying possible hiding places for robbers.
- Violence prevention procedures in case of a robbery.
- Record employee training indicating the date, time, and place they received crime prevention training. Send copy of completed training record to Environmental, Health and Safety Manager (EHS) for review when requested by the Department of Labor & Industries.
- Have a videotape or other materials about crime prevention available to all employees at their request
A short information video on this topic, “Is It Worth Your Life?” (http://wishatraining.lni.wa.gov/training/videos/IsItWorthYourLife_broadban.mov) has been produced by the Department of Labor & Industries and is available for your use.
4.2 Annual Retraining
For employees working any time during the hours of 11pm to 6am a refresher course in crime prevention Training must be completed annually.
4.3 Retail Operations Best Practice Training
As a best practice, for the health and safety of PLU retail operations employees, it is recommended that Retail Operations Director, Managers, Supervisors and/or Leads should review this chapter and provide training initially and annually.
5.0 Theft Prevention
There are three general approaches to preventing retail workplace violence:
- Environmental: adjust lighting, entrances and exits, security hardware, and other engineering controls to discourage would-be assailants;
- Organizational/Administrative: developing programs, policies, and work practices aimed at maintaining a safe working environment;
- Behavioral/Interpersonal: training to anticipate, recognize and respond to conflict and potential violence in the workplace.
5.2 Incident Protocol
During a violent incident:
- Remain calm
- Comply with the perpetrators demands. Do not resist or provoke.
- Do not do anything to jeopardize your safety or the safety of those around you.
- If there is a note try to keep it. Slide it to the side or off the counter. It may have fingerprints or other identifying information, so try not to handle it
- Note any distinct features: scar, tattoo, accent, height (compare to reference points in work area), race, build, weight, and clothing.
5.3 Reporting and Documentation
Immediately following a life threatening / violent incident:
- Manager/supervisor/lead should quickly assess the situation to make sure no one has been injured.
- A designated employee shall call -911 and then Campus Safety @ x7911 (253-535-7911 from offcampus) and give as much detailed information as possible about the incident.
- Lock all doors so the assailant cannot return to take refuge in the building.
- Do not follow the perpetrator. Do not leave the building.
- Cautiously look out the window to see how the perpetrator gets away (i.e.: on foot, in truck or car, make, model or description, partial license plate number).
- Secure the crime scene to protect fingerprints and other evidence.
- Complete general description form as soon as possible (See Appendix A). Each person (employees and customers) should complete the form independently without speaking with one another.
- Manager/supervisor/lead should record names and phone numbers of customers who have to leave for law enforcement interview.
- As employees and/or customers leave make sure to re-lock door.
- Refer all media questions to PLU’s Public Informational Officer.
- Do not discus incident events with other customers or friends. You may reveal crucial details or you may become a target.
5.4 Shoplifting Prevention
A clear and concise policy of providing great customer service is the best deterrent to shoplifting. Greet every customer and make eye contact. Shoplifters do not want to be noticed. Often shoplifters will work in teams with individuals designated to distract store employees. Do the individuals seem to wander and return to certain areas of the store? Greet the customer and offer to help make a selection, answer questions or find a product.
- At the first sign of suspicious behavior call campus safety. Concentrate on customer behaviors, not on appearance, age or race.
- 1 Do customers nervously and frequently make eye contact?
- 2 Does the customer seem to randomly pick up and put down products?
- 3 Frequent visits to the store without making a purchase.
- Profiling is an improper and illegal practice if it is based on race, age, or ethnic origins.
- It is strictly prohibited to single out groups because of race, age, or ethnic origins.
- For example, we do not ask middle school students to leave their back packs at the store entrance, just because they are middle school students.
- Again, detection should focus solely on behaviors.
Knowing what to expect and what to do in the event of a violent situation can help reduce the likelihood of injury, aid in the capture of the perpetrator and the recovery of the merchandise /money. Violent crimes are a desperate act by a desperate person. A perpetrator is nervous and jumpy, and sometimes on drugs. Doing anything that will scare or anger them greatly increases the risk of loss of human life.
Being in a violent situation is not pleasant, But knowing and following PLU’s security procedures will help to prevent the experience from becoming a tragedy.