City Services

Business Crime Prevention

Robbery Prevention

Many robberies occur because the businesses make it convenient for the robber. Poor cash handling, housekeeping and a general lack of planning can make you an easy target. Crime: burglary, robbery, vandalism, shoplifting, employee theft and fraud costs businesses billions of dollars each year. Crime can be particularly devastating to small businesses, which lose both customers and employees when crime and fear claim a neighbourhood.

Laying a Foundation for Crime Prevention

Take a hard look at your business – its physical layout, employees, hiring practices and overall security. Assess its vulnerability to all kinds of crime, from burglary to embezzlement. Some basic prevention principles include:

  • Provide training for all employees, including cleaning staff so they are familiar with security procedures and know your expectations. 
  • Use good locks, (dead bolts) safes and alarm systems. Store back-up copies of your business of the premises. If you are ever victimized, you can assess losses more easily and provide useful information for law enforcement investigations.
  • Establish and enforce clear policies about employee theft, substance abuse, crime reporting, opening and closing the business and other security procedures.
  • Keep the interior, front and rear entrances of your business well lighted.
  • Always keep alternative doors of the business locked.
  • Have your alarm systems maintained regularly.
  • Only open your business at designated hours. Otherwise keep your doors locked.
  • Remove all expensive items from window displays at night and make sure you can see easily into your business after closing. Keep your cash register in plain view from the outside of your business, so it can be monitored by police during the day or at night. Leave it open and empty after closing.
  • Make sure your address is visible so emergency vehicles can easily find your business.

Making Bank Deposits

If you have large deposit, make deposit frequently and during business hours. Don't establish a pattern, take different routes. If you feel threatened, call the RCMP.

  • Vary the times you take your deposits to the bank.
  • Make deposits during daylight hours.
  • Go directly to the bank.
  • Conceal the bank deposit as best as possible; do not leave deposits or withdrawals unattended in a car.
  • Do not go to the bank alone.

Educate Your Employees

Educate your employees on shoplifting, credit card fraud, cheque fraud, and employee theft. Have a manual outlining your rules and regulations for employees to refer to on procedures. This manual should include the following:


Shoplifting is a serious crime.

  • Keep your place of business neat and orderly. This way it will be easier to detect if merchandise is missing.
  • Use mirrors to eliminate blind spots.
  • Merchandise should be kept away from store exits to prevent grab and run situations.
  • Keep expensive merchandise in locked cases.
  • Dressing rooms and rest rooms should be watched at all times.

Credit Card Fraud

Preventing credit fraud is an essential element in doing business. Below are a few helpful tips:

  • Check references of your employees.
  • When taking orders over the phone, or over the internet, ask for the expiration date. An invalid or missing expiration date can be an indicator that the person on the other end does not have the actual card.
  • Always compare the signature to the signature on the back of the credit card plus ask for additional ID.
  • Watch out for customers who purchase a lot of merchandise without regard to size, style, price or colour or try to distract or rush you during the sale. This could be an indication of card fraud.
  • Protect your systems and data from viruses, and update your software frequently.

Employee Theft

Employee theft accounts for a large amount of business losses. It is advisable to follow strict hiring practices. Take the time to verify information on resumés and contact all the references.

  • Have a manual that outlines your expectations of responsibilities and the standards of honesty, security procedures and consequences for following, and not following, your procedures.
  • Ensure the potential employee reads the manual, understands it, and signs it as a condition of employment.
  • Keep accurate records on cash flow, inventory, equipment and supplies. Check it regularly.
  • Limit access to keys, your safe and computerized records.
  • Have "Do Not Duplicate" engraved on keys that are handed out.
  • Change locks and access codes when an employee is terminated.
  • Take action quickly if you should discovery internal theft, sending a message to other employees that theft is not acceptable.
  • Reward your staff for discovering security problems and for doing a good job.

In the Event of a Robbery

Co-operate with the robber!

  • Let the robber know you want to do what you are ordered to do. 
  • The robber may even be more nervous than you are. 
  • Respond only when spoken to by the robber. 
  • Keep the conversation as brief as possible. 
  • Use "yes" responses rather than "no", and shake your head up and down indicating you understand the robber's commands. 
  • Inform the robber ahead of time of any possible surprises such as if someone is expected to come in or there is someone in the back room or elsewhere on the premises. 
  • Help the robber leave as smoothly and quickly as possible
Robbers seldom hurt people who cooperate with them.

When the robber leaves the premises, immediately call the RCMP. Protect the scene of the crime, do not touch any articles that may have been touched or left by the robber. Lock all the doors and do not let anyone in or out until the police arrive. Do not trust your memory; write all the events down immediately and encourage anybody who was at the scene to do the same thing. The RCMP will want to know such things as:
  • Height of suspect. A measuring tape at the entrance door frame is very useful. 
  • Try to notice abnormalities such as scars or speech problems. 
  • Note the clothing the robber is wearing. 
  • Take notice of the build of the robber and estimated weight, whether they are male or female, and approximate age. 
  • Note if they have long or short hair, a moustache, glasses. 
  • In the event that the robber has a weapon, be able to describe the size and colour to the RCMP.