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"You Want Fries with that Knuckle Sandwich"?
Fast Food Crime is on the Rise. PDF
Security Expert J. R. Roberts explains why.
¨ An elderly patron
sitting quietly at a table outside a popular fast food hamburger chain
is suddenly and viciously attacked. His assailant (an employee who has
just had an argument with his manager) uses the lid of a trash can to
repeatedly beat the old gentleman on the head. He then uses a garbage
bag in an effort to suffocate him.
¨ A young assistant manager
of a chicken chain is closing up the restaurant for the evening when
he is confronted by two armed robbers who shoot and kill him.
¨ A patron sitting
in a fast food drive through window is taken by surprise when the occupants
of the car in front of him, leap from their vehicle and beat and rob
¨ An employee of a
pizza chain opens the back door to find masked men with shotguns waiting.
They rob the store, order the employees to the ground and shoot them
as they exit.
All across the United States scenes like these are repeated
with frightening frequency. The fast food industry currently employs
12 million Americans in 878,000 establishments. Projected earnings for
2004 are expected to reach 440.1 billion dollars.
A parallel between fast food chains and convenience stores is obvious.
Often referred to as "stop and robs" the convenience store
industry continues to be an exceedingly "high risk" target
for criminal opportunity. Recent changes and growth in the fast food
industry, however, are placing that business at an increasingly higher
Most fast food chains are located along major corridors and freeways,
making access quick, easy and low risk to the perpetrator who can make
a quick score.
Higher rates of speed and choice of multiple directions for escape further
compound the problem.
Corporations very often target specific demographics that equal high
traffic and potential profit, while failing to properly prepare for
the increased crime that invariably accompanies such site selections.
At the same time, most if not all fast food chains have begun a "late
night" policy of extended hours of operation.
Like bank ATM's, many fast food facilities are often inadequately designed
from a safety and security standpoint.
Poorly designed and overgrown landscaping, inadequate lighting, "blind
spots" at the drive through lane and throughout the parking lot
combined with pill box or bunker designs reduce or eliminate critical
"natural territoriality" (the crucial ability to see and be
These same lots are often poorly maintained, allowing litter and even
graffiti to take root.
These poor "order maintenance" issues send a cue to the would
be perpetrator that the facility will be a quick and easy target with
fewer chances of being observed, detected, or deterred.
Few of these locations properly utilize, place, or monitor CCTV components,
or provide multiple location panic buttons or alarms.
Policies & Procedures
There is an almost universal failure on the part of owners and operators
of fast food restaurants to properly screen employees. Criminal background/felony
conviction reviews are inexpensive to conduct and should be considered
mandatory when it comes to the consideration and concern of the safety
and security of fellow employees and patrons.
Opening and closing procedures should be carefully considered, reviewed,
and enforced by management.
Thorough training should include regular cash "drops" into
a safe and signage should make clear that employees can not open safe.
Signs that announce limited cash available, height markers, and visible
use of CCTV for the interior of a store, should all be considered standard.
Bullet resistant glazing should be used on all teller/drive through
Robbery training and response should be instructed to all employees.
Stores open late should be open for drive through only, and managers
and employees closing late should have security presence/escort until
they are safely off the property.
Local police departments invariably provide at no cost an analysis or
"threat assessment" of a facility together with security suggestions.
Such an analysis can also include a review of crime in the general area.
A search of crime within the "zone" or "grid" where
a commercial establishment is located can reveal much concerning the
likelihood of criminal activity.
Conscientious and responsible owners determined to reduce crime and
civil liability resulting from allegations of negligent and inadequate
security should undertake a serious review of their premises unless
they want a "side" of trouble.
By J. R. Roberts Google
Store Safety Poster - NIOSH
PDF Only 35 KB (1 page)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted
a study of 460 convenience store robberies in three metropolitan
areas of Virginia. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1)
to evaluate the effect of environmental and organizational interventions
on reducing the number of robberies; and 2) to evaluate the effect
of these interventions on reducing injuries to employees during
robberies. In this poster, risk factors for being robbed and/or
injured are presented along with suggestions for what managers
and employees can do to reduce their risk.
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