While the theft of an unattended wallet or purse is not a new crime, this type of theft has gained recent attention as a result of a series of incidents in Marion County. Two individuals are accused in unrelated cases of posing as customers in local establishments only to gain access to employees’ personal belongings. The unfortunate result includes unauthorized use of credit and debit cards, forged checks and identity theft.
Small business owners and managers of office properties who are interested in increasing safety for employees and their business may find that property improvements can help deter crime.
Basic objectives for any business to help improve safety:
Lighting: Automatic dawn to dusk lights in common areas and illuminating each entrance. Lighting and visibility are also key elements for parking lot safety.
Landscaping: Landscaping should not obstruct the view of a window or door. Overgrown shrubbery or trees provide cover for burglaries, car break-ins, robberies and other crimes.
Interior security: Provide lockers, key-locked drawers or a room with limited access where employees can store personal belongings while working.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office offers free audits focused on deterring potential criminal behavior through physical design elements, such as lighting, parking lot safety, and landscaping. Interior reviews may include visibility of the property from a cashier or office position, security of employee belongings, and clear lines of sight to the business exterior. The audits identify successful strategies within a concept known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). CPTED is an international multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through the design of the built environment.
Contact the prosecutor’s office at MCPO@indy.gov for more information or to request a free security audit by CPTED certified professionals.