Ways to keep stores safe

Retailers have a duty to keep their customers and employees safe. They must be aware of the risks posed by their location, merchandise, and brands. Providing inadequate security and failing to implement reasonable procedures can be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.

Employees should receive security awareness training. Store policies must require them to pay attention to the sales floor and should contain rules, such as no smartphone use when they are on their shift. Employees need to receive guidance on recognizing workplace violence and reporting and managing a potential safety problem. They should know how to use the store's security systems.

Senior management must appropriately document, fund and implement security policies. Employers should exercise due diligence when vetting potential employees before they are hired.

Retailers must also understand the threats and weaknesses of their location. Urban stores and suburban mall locations face different problems. Stores should be designed with security in mind. At relatively low costs, security may be upgraded with proper sightlines, access control and a well-maintained space.

Lighting, landscaping, architecture, colors and signage can provide a more secure environment. Two employees should also be working during opening, closing and other critical times to protect against threats.

Retailers are also using new technologies with more frequency. These include video and audio analytics that automatically identify suspicious behavior and detect firearms. Other technologies can fully monitor all product locations.

Victims may be entitled to compensation from a negligent retail or property owner. An attorney can help them obtain evidence and pursue a lawsuit.

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