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Robbery and Violence Prevention in Small Retail Businesses

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 76 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2009 Pages: 36-38,40,42
Thomas Chronister; Carri Casteel; Corinne Peek-Asa; Dan Hartley; Harlan Amandus
Date Published
October 2009
5 pages
This article describes a strategy used in Oxnard, CA to prevent robberies and violence in high-risk retail establishments.
The strategy built on the concept of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), which focuses on modifying an environment to make potential criminals feel exposed and vulnerable while bringing maximum safety at a minimum cost to the establishment. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and national experts in commercial robbery prevention developed the Workplace Violence Prevention Program (WVPP), a CPTED-based intervention for small retail and service establishments in Los Angeles. The WVPP focuses on seven elements for reducing robbery in late-night retail establishments, as recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety. The seven elements are to keep a minimum amount of cash in the register, properly place safes, maintain good visibility into and outside of the business, maintain good interior and exterior lighting, control access into and within the business, train employees in crime control and injury prevention, and post safety decals. In Oxnard, the WVPP was integrated into an existing crime prevention program called Crime Free Business (CFB). The CFB program includes a 50-page business operator training manual, an employee training DVD on crime and disorder prevention and control, safety-related signage and decals, training brochures, and a process by which establishments can become a Certified Crime Free Business. Outreach efforts have included the use of local media, chambers of commerce, direct mailings, training of patrol officers, and a Web page with embedded video that provides an overview of the program. Police personnel have made citywide visits to at-risk businesses. 16 notes