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An Overview of Restaurant Crime in Arvada, CO and How to Protect Yourself


First, it’s essential to know what we’re up against. Restaurant crime comes in different flavors, just like the dishes on your menu. Here are a few common ones:

  1. Burglary: This is when someone breaks into your restaurant when it’s closed, often to steal cash or valuable items.
  2. Robbery: Robbery happens when someone confronts you or your employees during business hours and demands money or property. It can be a pretty scary situation.
  3. Employee theft: Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s your own staff who might be helping themselves to the cash register or your supplies.
  4. Vandalism: Vandals can cause damage to your property, from broken windows to graffiti. It’s not just annoying; it can also be costly.
  5. Customer fraud: Some customers try to cheat the system. For example, they might claim they found something in their food just to get a free meal.

How to Protect Your Restaurant

Now that we know what we’re up against, let’s talk about how to protect your restaurant from these kinds of crimes:

  1. Good lighting: Adequate lighting, both inside and outside your restaurant, can deter criminals. Bad guys prefer to operate in the shadows, so make sure there are no dark corners.
  2. Security cameras: Installing security cameras can be a game-changer. They not only deter crime but also provide valuable evidence if something does happen.
  3. Alarm systems: An alarm system can alert you and the authorities if someone tries to break in. Modern systems can even notify you on your phone.
  4. Secure entry points: Reinforce doors and windows to make them harder to break into. Consider using shatterproof glass on windows.
  5. Trustworthy staff: Be careful when hiring employees. Check their references and backgrounds. Sometimes, it’s the people on the inside who cause problems.
  6. Proper training: Teach your staff how to handle different situations. For example, what should they do if a robbery occurs? Make sure they know how to stay safe and protect your customers.
  7. Cash handling procedures: Limit the amount of cash on hand. Use a drop-safe to keep the cash secure and discourage theft.
  8. Visible signage: Display signs that show your restaurant is monitored by cameras or protected by an alarm system. Criminals are less likely to try anything if they know they’re being watched.
  9. Customer behavior: Be aware of customer behavior. If someone is acting suspicious or causing trouble, address the issue calmly but firmly.
  10. Security during closing: The period after closing can be a vulnerable time. Make sure your closing staff follows proper security procedures, like locking doors and windows.
  11. Inventory control: Keep track of your supplies and inventory. Employee theft can often involve taking food or supplies out the back door.
  12. Emergency plan: Have an emergency plan in place. This includes knowing what to do during a robbery or other threats to your restaurant’s safety.
  13. Customer fraud prevention: Prevent customer fraud by making sure your staff checks orders correctly and be cautious when giving out refunds.
  14. Maintain the surroundings: The area around your restaurant should be well-maintained. Overgrown bushes or a poorly lit parking lot can attract criminals.
  15. Stay informed: Keep an eye on what’s happening in your area. Know if there’s a rise in crime nearby and take appropriate precautions.

Dealing with Specific Crimes

Let’s look at how to deal with some specific restaurant crimes:

  • Robbery: If your restaurant is robbed, the safety of your employees and customers comes first. Don’t resist the robber; it’s not worth risking anyone’s life. Stay calm, comply with their demands, and call the police as soon as it’s safe.
  • Employee theft: If you suspect an employee is stealing, don’t jump to conclusions. Investigate discreetly. If you find evidence, address the situation according to your policies.
  • Vandalism: Vandalism can be discouraging but try to take it in stride. Clean up and repair the damage quickly, so your place doesn’t look like an easy target. Take photos and document everything for insurance purposes.
  • Customer fraud: Deal with customer fraud politely but firmly. If someone’s trying to get a free meal dishonestly, address the issue with tact, but don’t let them get away with it.

Training and Drills

One of the best ways to prepare for restaurant crimes is through training and drills. Make sure your staff knows how to respond to different scenarios. This could involve practicing what to do during a robbery or how to handle a difficult customer. The more prepared everyone is, the better they can protect themselves and your business.

Running a restaurant can be super rewarding, but it comes with challenges, including the risk of restaurant crime. By taking the right precautions, staying vigilant, and having a solid plan in place, you can protect your restaurant and keep your customers and staff safe. After all, a safe restaurant is a happy restaurant!


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