• January 30, 2015

KPD officer tells how to protect the workplace

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Posted: Sunday, May 4, 2014 4:30 am

The head of Killeen Police Department’s burglary unit has run the division for four years and been an officer for 23 years.

Born and raised in Killeen, Sgt. David Fischer has experienced the city’s residential and commercial growth and knows how crime has grown with the city.

Fischer runs the burglary unit, an operation meant for solving and preventing break-in related crimes, with 10 detectives at his command.

“Burglary is an issue in Killeen, and it is very important for us,” Fischer said. “We like to be proactive in what we do.”

While home burglaries may be more prevalent than crimes at businesses, Fischer shared with Killeen Daily Herald Business Editor Mason W. Canales ways shop owners can help prevent crimes at their stores.

Why is it important for businesses to protect themselves against crimes such as burglary, shoplifting and robbery?

The obvious answer would be because businesses incur monetary losses as a result and insurance rates may increase for repeated incidents. Often overlooked, however, are the effects of crime on a neighborhood and the employees of the business.

Commercial districts will often become deserted because of high crime rates. Employees also should be provided a safe working environment with written safety measures that lessen the possibility of a business being victimized and an employee needlessly being placed in harm’s way.

What are some ways businesses can protect against theft?

First, employees should be trained in theft prevention, and employers should require background checks and actually check references of all new employees.

Employee theft should not be tolerated, and all employees should be made aware that punishment for theft is the filing of charges and dismissal.

Although many thefts are committed by employees, businesses also can help prevent theft with video surveillance and controlling the flow of customers. All customers should have to pass a point of sale upon entering and exiting. Employees should be trained to be “good witnesses” and know what to do if they observe a theft in progress.

How should employers train employees to respond to incidents such as thefts or robberies?

Employees should strive to always be “good witnesses” and never place themselves in harm’s way by intervening. Employees should be taught to become active observers and always pay attention to their surroundings. The more suspect description given to the police will increase the likelihood of a suspect being identified and prosecuted.

What preparations can business owners take to decrease the likelihood of their operations being victimized by burglars?

If their budget allows, get a moderate priced video surveillance system and monitored alarm. The system should cover the interior and exterior of the business. An Internet-based system will allow an owner to remotely view a business.

An audible alarm is a good investment, as burglars are often scared away by audible alarms, and if monitored, the police will be notified.

The outside of the business should be kept in good repair and any points of entry should be well fortified.

All shrubbery or bushes should be well maintained and not allowed to grow to such a height as to provide cover for would-be burglars.

Items of greatest value should be kept secure after hours and away from points of exit or near glass display windows. Burglars often go “shopping” by casing businesses during the day or window shopping at night.

What steps should a business owner or employee immediately take upon noticing a crime has occurred at their business?

Don’t touch or clean anything up from the crime scene and immediately call police.

What are some of the most important tools that help detectives solve crimes at businesses?

Employees who provide detailed written statements with descriptive suspect information, clear video surveillance and the analysis of evidence recovered at the scene by competent police officers and later investigated by motivated detectives.

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