Sourced from Crime Prevention Unit, Victoria Police and Banktech.
There has been an alarming increase in Australian gaming venue robberies over the past 10 years. In Victoria alone, police estimate that gaming venues make up 91% of all armed robbery investigations. They call gaming venues the new banks.
The Victorian Police Crime Prevention Unit give the following insights and tips:
About Armed Robberies
- Many armed robberies are drug or alcohol related.
- An armed robbery may not be well planned and there is no guarantee (if drug affected) that the offender is either rational or in control
- It is not unusual for a business premise to become the target of repeat offences.
- Experienced armed robbers often go to great lengths to prepare and plan a robbery, such as conducting recognisance on the premises and planning escape routes.
- Other offenders are opportunistic and there is little or no planning at all.
- With financial institutions increasing their security, offenders have turned their attention towards easier targets, such as small businesses, convenience stores, bottle shops, service stations, pharmacies and in particular gaming venues.
- Offenders look for ‘soft targets’
- Repeat attacks are also on the increase
Who commits Armed Robberies?
- Generally male offenders aged between 17yrs and 28yrs.
- A number are repeat visit offenders and many have lengthy criminal histories.
- Some are customers of the victims and have done some form of recognisance or identified weaknesses in security.
Crime Prevention – Entry Points and External Obs
- Keep unnecessary entry points locked after dark
- Develop a strategy with security to keep front / main doors locked
- Ensure all patrons sign in
- Be aware of your external surroundings. Not always easy but suspicious vehicles are usually just that.
Security Information: Check list
- Position security lighting around the perimeter of the premises to provide more effective illumination at night. Sensor lights can assist to conserve power
- Have doors and windows adequately secured, particularly at the rear of the premises. Clearly indicate restricted areas that are for staff only
- Cut or trim any trees or shrubs that may be providing a hiding place for offenders. This limits the opportunity for natural surveillance
- Is the layout of the premises secure and safe for staff? (Consider OH&S)
- Don’t cover your business windows with promotional material as this can restrict surveillance – allow a clear view from both inside & outside premises.
- Signage to indicate to public that security measures are in place.
- Position the cash register away from the front door.
- Automated front doors should have manual and automatic door locking switches that can be activated by staff. Suspicious persons can be locked out at the earliest opportunity.
- Encourage staff to report on unsafe practices or improvements
- Is the layout of your premises secure and safe for staff? (OH&S) (Don’t forget the car park is part of your premises too).
- Do you have practiced safety and security procedures in case of a robbery?
- Develop a ‘lock up’ plan. All staff should be aware of all areas to be checked
- Do not re-open doors once shut! Ensure all staff are aware of this (i.e. cleaners, security, maintenance staff)
- Have a duress device to enable staff to manually activate the alarm system in the event of an emergency. These devices are only to be used when it is safe to do so Security.
The positive news is venues that engage in pro-active and secure cash management measures are overlooked for more cash-exposed targets.
Regulatory and Compliance leader Leigh Barrett and Associates recently highlighted the BANKTECH® AutoPay® Cashier Assist as a “very good system”* in deterring armed robberies.
Ashley O’Brien, Group Gaming Manager at the Hunter Management Group noted: “The AutoPay solution has improved security for our venues and more importantly our staff.”
The AutoPay® system minimises the need for large, unprotected gaming floats.
Operationally it is a fully-featured, intuitive, user-friendly and secure cashier payment solution. It seamlessly handles the customer service process including gaming tickets, card-based or line-of-site. It also integrates directly with existing gaming systems saving substantial staffing costs.
And importantly, AutoPay® reduces your venue’s exposure to armed robberies.
BANKTECH® understands gaming and provides cost effective and flexible payment terms for AutoPay® systems.
*Leigh Barrett and Associates. Venue e-Newsletter August, 2015