Is your business as well-protected as it should be? Do you really know what goes on when you’re not there to see it firsthand? As a business owner you want to ensure that your investment is protected against loss from the public or from your own employees.
Due to their early and late hours and sometimes short staffing, gas stations, convenience and liquor stores are often subject to more crime and violence, which is a growing concern among many of Society’s policyholders. Other businesses such as restaurants, taverns, and grocery stores experience increasing numbers of slips and falls. Having an effective video surveillance system will help deter shoplifting and employee theft, and it can also prove valuable when trying to document crimes and injury claims by customers or employees. Many of the newer digital systems allow you to review your footage from a smart phone, even if you are not onsite.
So, is video surveillance really necessary at your business? YES. Here’s why:
1. Video surveillance deters crime.
One of the benefits of installing a video surveillance system is that simply having one in place will often deter crime. Potential criminals will see that you have taken extra steps to protect your business and its patrons – and may be deterred from vandalizing or shoplifting knowing that you have the ability to catch them in the act. An additional safety measure is to place a spot monitor (a camera used to monitor one area full-time) showing customers as they enter your business. When they see themselves on surveillance at the front of the store, they will be less likely to shoplift. At a minimum, indoor cameras should cover the entrances and cash registers. At the register you want to be able to see the customer as well as the cash drawer. An enhanced system would cover every aisle in a store or every seating area in a restaurant along with full coverage of the back of the house.
2. Video surveillance protects the outside of your business.
Consult with or use a professional contractor when installing video surveillance systems to ensure you have adequate coverage outside with a minimum of blind spots. As a rule of thumb, every entrance and exit should be covered along with the parking lot. Take special care to cover back alleys, rear entrances, and any area where someone would try to conceal themselves. It should go without saying that rear entrances should always be kept locked. Rear entrances can be prime targets for criminals looking to gain access to a safe or back office area where money is handled. They will try to enter when someone exits to take out the trash or if they see the rear door has been propped open. A video surveillance system that covers the rear entrance allows you to record the daily comings and goings of the business but also lets employees make sure that the area is safe before opening the door to take out the trash or accept deliveries.
3. Video surveillance increases parking lot safety.
Customer satisfaction is top priority for many business owners, however it doesn’t mean much if customers and their vehicles are not safe when they’re on your property. Employee safety should be no less important, especially if they’re required to walk to and from their vehicles in the dark at extremely early or late hours. Adequate lighting and video surveillance of parking areas can reduce vehicle break-ins and vandalism, as well as increase the personal safety of customers and employees as they enter and exit their cars.
4. Video surveillance is powerful evidence for injury claims.
Slip and fall injuries are the number one source of liability (customer) and employee loss for Society Insurance policyholders. While many, if not most, claims are legitimate, some claims made by customers and even employees can be fraudulent. With an effective video surveillance system there is less likelihood that a false claim will succeed. With a video surveillance system, checking the video for the area where the incident occurred should become standard practice when completing your initial incident investigation. When submitting the claim to Society Insurance, make sure the claim adjuster knows you have surveillance footage available. At a minimum, save and copy thirty minutes of the recording both before and after the indicated time of the incident. Reviewing the additional footage can help in determining the cause of an incident and the direction your claim defense should take.
Here’s a critical tip: Even if you don’t see anything on the video when you look at it, SAVE IT! Save as much of the day as possible. Remember the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” In this case, a video of nothing could be worth thousands! Fraudulent claims can be costly to your business and you want to take advantage of every defense tool you can.
5. Video surveillance may reduce your insurance premium.
The day to day security, theft prevention, and claim defense benefits of an effective video surveillance system far exceed any possible insurance discount. However, when evaluating a business risk, insurance carriers often look for positives that will reduce the cost or frequency of loss. These positives might range from an effective written safety program, the use of non-slip flooring or footwear, a dedicated slip and fall prevention program or a video surveillance system. In other words, what are you as a business owner doing to prevent losses and protect your customers and employees? With that information, insurance companies may offer better pricing to businesses with video surveillance systems vs. businesses that don’t have a system in place.
By protecting your business, employees, and customers with an effective video surveillance system you are improving the overall operation, efficiency, safety and profitability of your investment. Video surveillance will also give you, the business owner, a way to protect your business around the clock while providing you with less stress and greater peace of mind!
Society Risk Control has a number of other resources you can access to help manage your workplace risk management program, including:
- a handout on Controlling Retail Workplace Crime
- a webinar on Incident Investigation
- a blog on Employee Dishonesty
- a free whitepaper on Crime Prevention for Restaurants, Bars, and Taverns