Business safety and crime prevention

Business safety and crime prevention
Read practical tips to improve safety and reduce the impact of crime on businesses. Business Safety and Crime Prevention canterbury bankstown This information is designed to give some practical tips to improve safety and reduce the impact of crime on businesses. These tips will also assist you in providing a safe place for your employees and customers.  

Crime impacts individuals, the community and businesses, no matter what kind of business you run. Innovation and enhancement of technology,  such as Paywave, provides convenience for customers, but can unfortunately assist in crime facilitation​.

In an emergency: 000
Bankstown Police Station: 9783 2199
Campsie Police Station: 9784 9399
Ashfield Police Station: 9797 4099
Police Assistance Line: 131 444
Crimestoppers: 1800 333 000

Tips to prevent crime in your business

Cash handling

​To ensure cash is safe in your workplace:​

  • Make sure employees are aware of your business’ policies and procedures around handling, transporting and storing cash;
  • Count cash in a secure location where you can lock all doors and windows, out of the public’s view and have a phone nearby, in case of emergency;
  • Ensure your cash register is always closed, locked and located in a space without easy access to the public;
  • If you notice any suspicious activity around your business, report it to your local police or Crimestoppers; and
  • Cash should always be transferred by two employees. It is recommended that they are not wearing an identifiable uniform at the time. Ensure vehicles are always locked when travelling with your business cash.

What to do in the event of a crime

  • In the event somebody confronts you or makes threats, your safety is the priority. Try to remain calm and follow their instructions. Don’t make any sudden movements and keep your hands in their sights at all times. 
  • When safe to do so, contact your local police to make a report. Police will need to know specific information such as your location, what happened, if anyone is injured, a description of the offender and your details as the witness/victim.
  • Next it is important to provide medical attention to anyone injured and ensure the crime scene is preserved. Close your business and ask witnesses to remain at the scene to assist police with enquiries.
  • If there has been any physical damage to your store/office, do not commence cleaning until after police have attended, otherwise you could contaminate the crime scene or remove evidence such as fingerprints, footmarks and tire marks, bullet casings, hair, fibres, accelerants or bodily evidence such as saliva, blood, and urine.
  • It is a good idea to have someone delegated to preserve the crime scene until police arrive.
  • An easy way to remember what to do in the event of a crime is to RESPOND:
    1. Respond to your safety and the safety of others;
    2. Evaluate the severity of the situation and identify who was involved and who can assist;
    3. Secure and preserve the crime scene for police;
    4. Protect the scene and limit those entering the area;
    5. Observe and document your observations of the scene;
    6. Notify the emergency services - call 000; and
    7. Document and take notes of what happened and what you saw so that you can provide this information to the police. 


A victim is anyone who suffers any type of psychological or physical harm as a result of a crime. All victims have rights in accordance with the Charter of Victim's Rights. They include things such as support, and possibly financial support as well.

In NSW Victim Services forms a part of the New South Wales Department of Attorney General's and Justice Office, and victims are entitled to support through their service, such as online counselling and 24-hour hotlines.

Victims​ Services' Victims Access Line (VAL) provides a single entry point for victims of crime in NSW to assist them in accessing services. You can call VAL during business hours (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, exc public holidays). Should you call the Victims Access Line outside business hours you will be provided with options to have your call transferred to other services to assist you.

Victims ​Access Line: 1800 633 063


Businesses can be defrauded in various ways, by members of the public and/or staff. These types of fraud include the misuse of credit cards - either stolen or fraudulent cards.

For example, criminals can obtain information from a real credit card and create a fraudulent card. This could be done through scanning cards through and ATM or EFTPOS terminal. The card may then have a name on it, different to the account holder.

Protecting your business from credit card fraud

  • Ensure staff check and compare the name on the card and the name on the receipt (if applicable). If they are different they should notify their supervisor. Staff should pay particular attention to brand new cards.
  • Businesses can consider setting floor limits, therefore transactions over a certain limit will require authorisation from the bank. Staff should be alarmed if the same customer is making multiple transactions to avoid the authorisation. 
  • Avoid manually entering in the card details, which is sometimes used when the chip technology or swipe doesn't work. The card may not be working because it may be fraudulent. 
  • If you suspect that the card is stolen, request a photo ID to compare their name and photograph. 
  • Installing CCTV cameras can be a deterrent for criminals.

Through EFTPOS terminals

Fraudulent people may approach businesses stating that they are from the bank and wanting to replace the EFTPOS terminal with one that will transfer the funds to them or via the internet connection to the cash register, as they can then upload malware. 

To protect your business from EFTPOS fraud, follow the below steps:

  • When the EFTPOS terminal is not in use, store it away from the public’s view;
  • Do not access the internet through your cash register, other than for EFTPOS transactions;
  • Contact the bank immediately, if you feel your business has experienced EFTPOS fraud and close the terminal by switching it off;
  • If you have suffered a financial loss, advise your supervisor, contact the police, your business headquarters and centre management, if appropriate. Also obtain CCTV footage, if available; and
  • Check the EFTPOS terminal regularly to ensure it hasn't been changed. Make an identifier underneath your terminal so you can easily identify it.

Card not present transaction - providing credit card details over the phone or online 

If your business is defrauded there is no guarantee that your bank will reimburse the lost funds. Businesses need to show that they have attempted to identify the customer, prior to making the transaction. If not, your business may be charged the cost to reimburse the legitimate credit card owner. If this was the case, your business would lose the goods as well as the cost to be reimbursed. 

Chip t​echnology is the gold square chip on credit cards. The chip holds the account holder's details, previously held on a magnetic strip on a credit card. The chip makes it a lot harder for the card holder's personal information to be duplicated. The chip allows new forms of payment such as PayPass, PayWave, and Tap and Go.Pay Pass, PayWave and Tap and Go have made fraud more common as the user does not need to insert a pin or signature for smaller purchases. 

To protect your business from card not present fraud: 

  • Ensure your EFTPOS terminal is set up by the bank;
  • Ensure you are aware if your business is set up as an online business and whether you can accept credit card and not present transactions; and
  • If you suspect your business has been a victim of Card Not Present fraud, advise your supervisor, contact the police, your business headquarters and centre management, if appropriate. Also obtain CCTV footage, if available.

You should be suspicious if: 

  • A chip doesn't work in your EFTPOS machine, particularly if your terminal has worked numerous times previously that day;
  • A customer is making numerous transactions under $100 to avoid the card limit, if all of their transactions were made in the one go, they'd require the card's pin and potentially banks authorisation; and
  • A customer is making a small transaction to check if the card is working or purchasing a number of high vale gift cards because they then have access to funds without having to use the fake or stolen credit card.

For more information and tips on fraud prevention, visit the NSW Police Force website

If you are aware of a scam, whether in your business, over the phone or online, report it at Scam Watch 

Shoplifting, retailer rights and bag searches 

Does your business have a store policy to conduct bag inspections? Do you have this clearly promoted at the entrance to your business, so all customers are aware of their condition of entry? If so, that's great, however, if a customer refuses to adhere to your request, they aren't actually committing an offence. 

If you saw the customer stealing goods from your store, you can detain them if you have proof, such as a witness that saw the offence occurring. You can detain the person as the offence is occurring or immediately afterwards, however you cannot do this a day or week later. Security guards also have the same powers as staff members do, they can't arrest someone like the Police can. 

It is important to use common sense, don't detain someone who is being violent or aggressive, your safety is more important than your property which can be replaced. If you were to detain someone, you need to prove that you were defending property, yourself or the life of another person, not just for retaliation. 

What to do if you've detained someone: 

  • Inform them of your details;
  • Inform them why that have been detained;
  • Inform the Police ASAP, be observant so that you can advise Police all information they request. Police will then advise whether you have enough evidence to press charges; and
  • Write a statement to provide to the Police, outlining all incidences.

In NSW, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a young person and will be treated under the Young Offenders Act, alternative measures under this Act include warnings, youth cautions, conferences and charges.

Shoplifters are never from a particular background, they represent all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Generally, shoplifters are either amateur or professional. Amateur shoplifters are generally young people working in groups and acting on impulse. They tend to do this to impress friends and crack under peer pressure. Professional shoplifters generally target specific locations, plan their offence in advance and work alone. 

Protecting your business from shoplifting

  • Your store layout and design is very important to preventing shoplifting. Ensure you present your business with good ownership and territorial reinforcement. Ensure your store is neat and tidy, aisles are clear with good sightlines and shelves are well stocked. It is a good idea to use measures such as mirrors and CCTV cameras in areas which can't be seen at all times. Limit the entrances and exits to keep track of people in your store. 
  • Ensure all staff are aware of your business' policies and procedures, including bag inspections. 
  • Local Police are able to conduct business security assessments to identify vulnerability with your business location. For assistance with business security assessments, contact Council's Community Safety and Crime Prevention Officer on 9707 9471, or the local NSW Police Force Crime Prevention Officer at your Local Area Command.

Bankstown Local Area Command: 9783 2199
Campsie Local Area Command: 9784 9399
Ashfield Local Area Command: 9797 4099

*City of Canterbury Bankstown would like to acknowledge the City of Sydney for their assistance in the above content.

Fire safety

  • Avoid storing or stockpiling flammable materials where they could be accessed by the public, including areas immediately outside your business premises. 
  • Ensure your business has an adequately serviced and functional fire alarm system for example, remote serviced alarm systems, sprinkler systems, thermal or smoke alarms. 
  • Ensure that all of your staff have sufficient training in what they should do if your small business is exposed to an unexpected fire.​