Store design can make all the difference when it comes to safety.
Britt Davidson, director of risk management at Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go, says much of the chain’s prevention efforts, in addition to de-escalation training for employees, revolves around traditional Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). The strategy focuses on how an environment can create or promote opportunities for crime.
Among the things the loss-prevention team looks for: clear sight lines in and out of the store, trimmed-back landscaping and adequate lighting.
Davidson also cites the broken window theory, which stipulates if a window is broken, it will attract other crime because it doesn’t appear as though the owner is keeping up with the business.
“When we do see things at our stores—it’s not necessarily broken window, but maybe some graffiti on the outside of the building or something like that—we immediately take care of that,” he says, “and it’s really, really been helping us out quite a bit.”
While prevention is the primary objective, Kum & Go also has methods in place when an incident does occur, including a reporting and review process and an associate assistance program that provides free resources to associates to work through the trauma.
“We take all incidents that are reported to us seriously regardless of scale,” Davidson says. “Because at the end of the day, you don’t know how the associates going to interpret that. You’re not in their shoes. A simple theft might impact them just as much as a more aggravated crime that happens somewhere else.”