Threats to your convenience store have changed during the pandemic. High stress can make people do things they wouldn’t normally do, and a crisis may present a prime opportunity for criminals who were targeting your business even before the pandemic. Store managers who are juggling a myriad of new health and safety guidelines are also having to be even more vigilant about preventing crime.
While overall crime rates during stay-at-home orders were generally down, as areas re-open, many are seeing a resurgence of criminal behavior. Preventing crime in your convenience store starts with awareness of your risks. The pandemic has altered traffic patterns, and this can lead to increased potential for skimming operations at the pump and inside the store. Convenience store operators are also reporting that unscrupulous customers are gaining confidence because they’re wearing masks, leading to an increase in shoplifting and even robbery. Mask mandates also create a new external threat from customers who enter the store without one. Train your staff on how to handle these encounters in a way that puts their personal safety first.
You must also remain vigilant about preventing crime that occurs from within your ranks. One of the biggest risks to your convenience store continues to be the behavior of your employees. This goes for behavior related to new health and safety guidelines as well as behavior that’s always been risky for businesses, such as employee theft and sexual harassment. Preventing crime that stems from internal theft requires a multi-faceted approach that includes strong policies, clear consequences, and consistent awareness.
Training = Prevention
While no convenience store manager could have been fully prepared for the new challenges posed by the pandemic, there are things you can do to mitigate the risks you’re facing. Convenience store training focused on prevention is key. Even though your employees are taking on many different tasks and their routines have been upended, they are still expected to follow your company code of conduct and security guidelines. Refresher training can help remind employees that the rules that were important a few months ago are still important today.
Risks posed to convenience stores may be different than they were at the beginning of the year. Some things never change, though – your best chance of preventing crime comes from being vigilant, prepared, and focused on training.