Friday, June 19, 2009

Distraction Burglary an old crime with new victims

You’re a high school or college student looking to make a few bucks during the summer. The last thing that you are thinking about is getting robbed, and the furthest thing from your mind is being robbed without a gun in a way that makes you look stupid. However, this could become a reality. Distraction burglaries are as old as the hills, but find new and unsuspecting marks everyday. Without knowledge of how these crimes work it is easy to see how they are so effective.

A group of people walk into the store. They could be male or female. If they are female they may be wearing long dresses or over-sized clothing. The males may be wearing baggy attire with large pockets. They may have or use a foreign accent as a disguise; it is not uncommon for distraction burglars to mimic Muslim sects that require women to wear head covering, where only their eyes can be seen. A member of the group will come to the counter and ask for assistance with something that is located at the far end of the store. They will often use the language barrier to attempt to force you to come from behind the counter. The group has already scouted the establishment to make sure that only one or two people are working. The lure to get the clerk away from the counter leaves the cash register and safe exposed. Distraction burglars care about cameras and will attempt to shield themselves from them. As the clerk leaves his post to provide good customer service, a member of the crime group slips behind the counter and opens the safe or takes money from the register. These crimes normally happen during the day. These thieves know that many retail establishments often leave their safes on day lock, which means that it can be easily unlocked and cleared out.

If the clerk attempts to go back to his or her post before the rouse is complete, then another member of the clan will run interference. They will often block the path of the clerk. If the clerk gets hip to the con, the clan will become loud and boisterous. The money will be hidden somewhere in the baggy clothes and they will be long gone before the police can be called. The number one thing that can be done to prevent distraction burglaries is to be observant and cautious when two or more people enter the store at a time. Never leave the safe on day lock where it can be easily opened. Always have someone at the cash register. Have a see through partition built that shields the worker from the case register. The partition if built properly can shield the entire front counter and have a door that auto locks as soon as it closes. This can be done with a magnetic lock and a card reader. Have more than one person working a shift at a time. Hire a security officer to patrol the isles. Use surveillance cameras that are commercial grade, with high resolution so identification of suspects can be made. The greater the level of security the less likely a business is of being a target. The greater the security barriers the higher the risk the criminals take.

Distraction burglaries and organized theft rings such as this cost retailers over 30 billion dollars a year. It is estimated that 1.6 cents of every dollar spent by consumers is to cover losses incurred to the business owner fro these thefts. Sadly, when thieves steal we pay. Higher penalties must be enacted for actions of this sort that will lead to longer and mandatory jail sentences.

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