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CRIME PREVENTION AT WORK
TAKE-A-LOOK AT COMMON TROUBLE SPOTS
* Reception area-Is the receptionist equipped with a panic button for emergencies, a camera with a monitor at another employee's desk, and a lock on the front door that can be controlled? Often times bad guys walk unannounced into an office suite and steal wallets from purses, while business is being conducted. These same bad guys may be looking for laptop computers and other valuables. The bad guy may purport to be a new maintenance man from the building. If in doubt summons the building Mgt., Security or Police. Don't wait until its too late and the damage is done. Another ploy used is to ask for an employment application and get the receptionist distracted, giving the bad guy enough time to grab a purse or laptop computer. Keep your purse, wallet, keys, or other valuable items with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet.
* Stairwells and out-of-the-way corridors-Don't use the stairs alone. Talk to the building manager about improving poorly lighted corridors and stairways.
* Elevators-Don't get into elevators with people who look out of place or behave in a strange or threatening manner. If you find yourself in an elevator with someone who makes you nervous, get off as soon as possible.
* Restrooms-Attackers can hide in stalls and corners. Make sure restrooms are locked and only employees have keys. Be extra cautious when using restrooms that are isolated or poorly lighted.
* After hours-Don't work late alone. Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation or ask security to escort you.
* Parking lots or garages-Choose a well-lighted, well-guarded parking garage. Always lock your car and close the windows - all the way. DO NOT leave valuable in plain view. If you observe any strangers hanging around the parking lot, notify Security or Police. When you approach you vehicle, have the key ready. Check the floors and front/back seats before getting in. Lock your car as soon as you get in-before you buckled your seat belt.
WHAT ABOUT VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE ?
Violence in the workplace takes many forms, from raised voices and profanity or sexual harassment to robbery or homicide. While homicide in the workplace is rising, 75 percent of work-related homicides are committed by unknown assailants while committing a robbery or other crimes. Despite media hype, the attacker usually isn't a disgruntled co-worker. To assess a workplace's vulnerability to violence, ask yourself these questions.
* Is your office secure? Do you have easy-to-use phone systems with emergency buttons, sign-in policies for visitors, panic buttons, safe rooms, security guards, office access controls, good lighting, and safety training?
* Does your employer take care in hiring and firing? Before hiring, are employment gaps, history, references, and criminal and educational records thoroughly examined? Are termination procedures defined clearly with attention to advance notice, severance pay, and placement services?
* Could you recognize potentially violent employees? Signs of stress that could erupt into violence include: depression, frequent absences, talking in a louder-than-normal voice, being startled easily, increased irritability and impatience, and concentration and memory problems.
* Are you encouraged to report unusual or worrisome behavior? Is there a clear, written policy that spells out procedures in cases of violence and sanctions for violators? Make sure you know to whom you should report unusual behaviors.
* Do you work in a supportive, harmonious environment? Is there a culture of mutual respect? Does your employer provide an employee assistance program (EAP)? When you go to work, don't leave your crime prevention sense at home. Almost any crime that can happen at home or in your neighborhood, can happen in the workplace. Common-sense prevention skills can help make life "at work" safer.
Check with the local Police where your workplace is located and ask to speak with a Crime Prevention Officer. Arrange to have a Crime Prevention Officer address your employees about issues as they apply to your setting.
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Crime Prevention Tips From National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) 1000 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 13th Floor Washington, DC 20036 www.ncpc.org
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