Police officers speaking with tradesmen.

Business and commercial

How Victoria Police help the business community to maintain safety and prevent crime.

Crime prevention is just as important for business as it is for individuals.

This section details the advantages of being cautious in the workplace, preventing theft of laptops and other electronic devices, and outlines how environmental design can prevent your business from becoming a victim.  

Petrol station drive-offs

A standardised reporting template has been developed that service station operators can use to make a report that will support effective police practice and policy compliance. Service station operators are encouraged to download the form and use them to report petrol drive offs where an immediate or urgent response is not required.

Business Security Information eKit

The Business Security Information eKit is specially developed to provide business retailers with basic crime prevention advice to reduce the occurrence and cost of crime to business and the wider community.


Personal safety in the workplace

Caution at work is not necessarily paranoia or a lack of trust in your colleagues. Getting to know your workmates before revealing personal information is a way of protecting yourself and your possessions. The following tips will help you remove the element of opportunity for crime within the workplace.

Be wary of sharing too much information

You do not know who may hear conversations in your workplace, so it is important to take care when discussing personal or company details such as living arrangements or your financial situation. Be mindful to avoid:

  • inviting unwanted attention
  • making the assumption that all offenders are unknown to you
  • talking too freely on your mobile phone as others may be listening to confidential or valuable information

Check the identity of unknown visitors

Claim ownership over your workplace – you have a right to be there and others that do also will not feel offended when questioned. If you have any doubts about someone, report them to your supervisor or security. To increase your security:

  • verify ID of new visitors to your workplace
  • wear your ID and question those who do not
  • be mindful of people following you into the building or secured areas (tail gating)
  • report incidents to supervisor – no matter how minor

Secure your valuables

Many thefts are committed in-house by staff. Your own property is at risk as well as company assets if security is not taken seriously. Remember to:

  • don't leave valuables unsecured
  • protect personal property such as wallets, phones and laptops

Take care travelling to and from work

When working after hours or in an isolated location, find ways to make yourself feel more comfortable. Where possible:

  • park in a well-lit area with easy access to your workplace
  • make use of company security or work mates to walk you to your vehicle when you are concerned about safety
  • if available, take advantage of a staff taxi service
  • investigate the possibility of car pooling or travelling with work colleagues
  • remove ID tags when leaving work

Know what to do in an emergency

It is important to be aware of key contacts and procedures in an emergency. Find out:

  • what the company's emergency plan is
  • who to contact
  • where the panic alarms are
  • how to notify security

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED (pronounced 'sep-ted') is an approach to crime prevention that takes into account the relationship between the physical environment and the users of that environment.

We all recognise when the space we are in sends us a message about safety, 'this is a safe place' or danger, 'this is an unsafe place'. The theory behind CPTED is that the design of a physical environment can produce behavioural effects that will reduce both the incidence and fear of crime. These behavioural effects can be accomplished by reducing the susceptibility of the environment to support criminal behaviour.

There are three basic strategies in CPTED:

  • natural access control
  • natural surveillance
  • territorial reinforcement

Natural access control

The design concept of access control is directed primarily at decreasing criminal accessibility. Natural access control restricts criminal intrusion, in particular into areas where they will not be easily observed, by:

  • limiting access
  • increasing natural surveillance

Gates, fences, walls, footpaths, landscaping and lighting can be used to: 

  • clearly guide the public to and from specific entrances and exits
  • prevent or discourage public access to or from dark or unmonitored areas
  • enable intruders to be more easily recognised

Activity support

Activity support refers to safety measures that use a specific activity planned for a specific space. It involves locating an activity so individuals engaged in that activity become part of the natural surveillance system. The following examples demonstrate how activity support can operate to increase safety.

  • the perception of safety for normal users of a space or building, and the perception of risk for offenders, can be increased by placing safe activities in places that will discourage would-be offenders
  • high-risk activities should be shifted to safer locations to overcome the vulnerability of these activities and to take advantage of natural surveillance within the safe area
  • gathering areas should be located in areas that provide for natural surveillance and access control or in locations away from the view of would-be offenders
  • space can be scheduled to accommodate the most effective activities and to tolerate the appropriate intensity of particular behaviours


Proper maintenance of landscaping, lighting treatment and other features can assist in the prevention of crime. For example:

  • maintaining lighting fixtures to prescribed standards
  • maintaining landscaping prescribed standards
  • balancing potential conflicts between surveillance and landscaping as groundcover, shrubs and trees mature

Natural surveillance

Natural surveillance is a design concept that aims to keep potential offenders and intruders under observation through the creation of environments where there is sufficient opportunity for people engaged in their normal behaviour to observe the space around them. Areas can be designed so they are more easily observed through:

  • design and placement of physical features to maximise visibility – for example, through building orientation, windows, entrances and exits, car parking areas, refuse containers, walkways, guard gates, landscape trees and shrubs, use of walls such as wrought iron or picket fences, signage and other physical obstructions
  • placement of persons or activities to maximise surveillance possibilities
  • maintenance of minimum lighting standards to provide for night-time illumination of parking lots, walkways, entrances, exits and related areas

Territorial reinforcement

Territoriality is a design concept that clearly delineates private space from semi-public and public spaces and also creates a sense of ownership. When there is a sense of ownership within a space, strangers and intruders stand out and are more easily identified. This can be achieved through:

  • Reinforcing existing natural surveillance and natural access control strategies with additional symbolic or social ones to enhance a feeling of legitimate ownership.
  • Designing a space to accommodate long-term and continued use and to fit its intended purpose.
  • Using pavement treatments, landscaping, art, signage, screening and fences to define and outline ownership of space.

Preventing armed robbery

The majority of armed robberies are not thoroughly planned and a large number are drug or alcohol related making it a potentially dangerous situation. On the other hand, in a planned robbery the robber sometimes goes to great lengths to prepare, and looks over the premises extensively before the event.

Planning for security

Do not wait until a robbery has occurred to update your security procedures and systems. Improve the safety of both your staff and your customers by adopting a security plan. The Crime Prevention Officer at your local police station can give you practical ideas and advice to suit your business security needs (see link on right side of this page).

Layout of the premises

An open, uncluttered environment providing a clear, well-lit view of the sales area from outside is a deterrent to armed robbers. Strong interior lighting used with an open glass shopfront can make an offender highly visible and increase their chances of being identified.


  • secure entrances and windows with good quality locks, solid doors and window bars
  • make sure all areas are well lit
  • use counters to maximise distance between the customer and staff
  • try to have more than one staff member on duty
  • keep curtains, posters and advertising material to a minimum
  • use mirrors to allow staff to monitor obscured floor space


  • allow customers access behind the counter and into staff-only areas
  • position the cash register near the front door.

Security equipment

Specific equipment may significantly improve your security. For example:

  • closed circuit television (CCTV)
  • monitored alarms
  • sensors or alarms alert staff that customers are entering or leaving the premises
  • electronic doors
  • signs or stickers to clearly show that security equipment is in use

Staff training

All staff should be:

  • trained in hold-up procedures
  • shown how to activate and control security equipment
  • asked to account for and return all keys.

Cash handling procedures


  • limit cash kept on the premises and in the till and publicise this fact
  • transfer excess cash to a secure place
  • install a safe which is fitted with a post-feed, time delay and dye bomb device
  • keep cash registers out of sight and away from the front door


  • leave cash drawers open longer than necessary
  • discuss cash takings with others
  • count cash in front of customers or let them see your cash handling methods

Banking and transporting money


  • be observant and pay attention to people hanging around
  • make the trip with a companion, if possible
  • keep entries and exits clear of obstructions
  • consider carrying personal audible alarms and mobile phones when doing the banking
  • report suspicious activities and people to police immediately on Triple Zero 000


  • repeat strict routines with set times for transporting cash to the bank
  • use staff uniforms or badges that identify your business when transporting money
  • carry cash in a bag that identifies the business or bags that identify the bank

If you are robbed

During an armed robbery the overall aim should be to ensure the offender leaves the premises as soon as possible, without injuring or harming anyone. 

Learn more about how to respond to a robbery or armed robbery: