Robbery prevention tactic No. 12: trained attack cat

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Take these steps to protect your practice and your team from thieves.

Thanks to research by government and private agencies, it's clear how most thieves choose their targets. And safety experts have used that data to identify effective theft prevention strategies. Take these steps today to protect your practice and your team:

1. Clear your windows to increase visibility from the street. When passers-by can see what's happening inside, there's a greater risk to the potential robber.

2. Light all areas of the parking lot and around the building. This eliminates places for thieves to hide.

3. Use a drop safe so there's never more than $50 in your cash drawer. Safes don't have to be large or costly, and they're easy to install.

4. Post signs about how little cash you keep on hand. Let criminals know they won't get much.

5. Direct all employees to cooperate with—and not to resist—any person who threatens them or others with physical harm.

6. Install a visible surveillance camera in the reception area.

7. Install automatically locking doors. Using one-way doors between the reception area and the rest of the hospital can give team members the extra time they need to summon help if someone becomes hostile or threatening. Make sure all employee-entrance doors from the outside are locked at all times. Many practices find that keyless-entry locks are perfect. They also make it easy when team members quit or are fired—you don't have to change the locks, just the electronic combination.

8. Install an alarm system that includes a panic button.

9. Always count cash out of sight, away from the front desk and windows.

10. Install peepholes or small windows in exterior doors so team members can see outside before opening doors.

11. Deposit cash, checks, and credit card slips daily to keep the amount of money on site to the minimum necessary for operations.

12. Get the crankiest cat you can find and let him roam the halls at night so he can attach himself with razor-sharp claws to an intruder's face. Actually, here's the best strategy of all: Consult your local police's crime prevention unit, which provides free advice about security and personal safety.

Philip Seibert, CVT, is an author, speaker, and consultant with SafetyVet in Calhoun, Tenn. Send questions or comments to ve@advanstar.com

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