Allen recommends discussing the security problem with the location and asking the location for assistance. “This cements the business partnership and makes the location more secure,” said Allen.
Allen said vending crime is often viewed as petty theft or property damage by law enforcement. This is a lower priority than a crime where someone gets hurt. If the operator is able to show evidence of a theft ring, there may be more interest from law enforcement.
DRIVERS AT RISK ON TRUCKS
Theft from vending trucks has also been an issue. Allen tells operators it’s best to make sure their employees know the policies and what’s expected of them when faced with someone armed or unarmed demanding the money, product, etc. If an employee gets hurt against a thief or in pursuit of one, it’s covered by workers compensation.
Safety of the employee should be the most important thing, said Allen. Instead of attacking or chasing the assailant, the driver can be making note of weight, height, looks, etc. in order to describe him later.
REPORTING CRIMES TO OTHER OPERATORS
In the past, organized groups of operators alerted each other to crimes in their locales. “I don’t hear a lot of operators doing this anymore,” said Allen. He said he is willing to work with operators who want to establish crime prevention activities.
Jack Maybury, president and CEO of Derringer Co., a vending/foodservice operation based in Cincinnati, Ohio, said there is a gentlemen’s agreement among operators in the Cincinnati, Ohio area to advise each other of vending machine burglaries. “All of us will call the competitors if we’ve been hit” Maybury said. “It’s an unwritten code. We’re all pretty good about that.” He added that external theft isn’t a big issue for his company since it doesn’t operate many outdoor machines.
In the end, vending remains at risk to thieves who see the machines as a way to get instant cash. Operators have to evaluate the risk against the cost of protection of technology like electronic locks and video cameras. Calling other area vendors with crime reports or utilizing Crime Stoppers can help collect information valuable to the police, leading to a prosecution.