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Where's the Best Place to Put a Safe in Your C-Store?

As crime rates rise, the location of your safe in your c-store or gas station matters more than ever.

The National Association for Convenience Stores (NACS) recently highlighted the growing concerns c-store and gas station operators are voicing in light of the recent rise in robberies. Recent data from the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer indicates that robberies increased overall during 2022, with convenience stores and gas stations accounting for a combined 13.8% of robberies and 4.5% of violent crimes.

Convenience store and gas station owners and staff are unfortunately conditioned to expect robberies due to the visibility and volume of cash on hand. The prevalence of theft – which is known all too well across the entire retail landscape – adds stress to employees’ lives, especially as shrinkage is at an all-time high. In a

A cashier in accepting cash in a gas station convenience store that uses a cash recycler under the counter.

recent survey, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that retail crime accounted for $112 billion in losses in 2022, up from $93 billion in 2021. Additionally, retailers are seeing heightened levels of violence and organized retail crime (ORC). More than two-thirds of respondents to the NRF survey shared they are seeing more violence and aggression than in previous years.

In a time where employee turnover and labor costs are high, retail managers are in search of a solution that gives them peace of mind that their cash and employees are safe and sound.

Place Your Safe in a Strategic Location to Strengthen Retail Anti-Theft Measures

A simple change that can significantly mitigate the risk of theft and keep front-line employees safer is moving smart safes or cash recyclers from the front of the store to discreet locations, such as under a counter in customer service areas or to the store’s back office. Attaching the safe to the ground also ensures that thieves cannot quickly break into the safe in the unlikely event that they find it. Bolting your safes to the store floor further prevents theft because the safes cannot be moved. That means potential thieves cannot drive off with the safe or forcefully open its doors. Bolting safes to the concrete floors is a prevention measure that should be a standard practice in every retail setting.

Many big-box retailers put their safes in the front of the store in the customer service areas or near checkout lanes so that employees have easy access. From a loss prevention perspective, putting these safes in a discreet location in the store eliminates the safes from the customer’s view, removing the signal that cash is handled in high volumes on-site. If potential thieves can’t locate your cash or make a quick getaway, whether at a gas station, dispensary or grocery store, they are less likely to target your business.

Shorten Your Cash Route to Reduce In-Store Cash Exposure

Another key benefit of moving your cash recycler or smart safe to a more discreet location is the ability to strip your tills more frequently, lowering the amount of cash on hand over time. Unlike banks which have vaults to store their cash, retailers rely on their cash recyclers and smart safes to keep cash safe before moving it to a bank. This makes it more important to shorten the route from point-of-sale to the safe in retail settings so that staff can sweep their cash more often and minimize the risk of losses when moving the cash. When there’s low traffic in the store, employees can safely and quickly skim tills and move the cash to their smart safe or cash recycler, reducing the exposure to theft and risk of loss.

Fully Embrace Cash Automation

If you're using a cash recycler or smart safe, you're already familiar with cash automation. Cash automation technology enables retailers to address the challenges associated with managing high volumes of cash. This hardware and software solution makes it easier to accurately count and sort cash, identify counterfeit bills, and secure cash.

Advanced solutions have highly functional software that simplifies reporting and planning by enabling visibility into cash levels. As a result, you gain insights that enable you to more efficiently:

  • Prepare start-funds with the right amount of cash based on the day of the week or time of day

  • Plan bank deposits

  • Manage change orders

  • Monitor cash intakes and outflows

  • Enforce process compliance

  • Report on store cash volumes

Ultimately, advanced systems improve security by providing the intelligence convenience store operators need to reduce cash on hand and control in-store cash exposure.

If your cash automation solution does not have advanced capabilities, you should consider upgrading to a more robust system. If you're still using a conventional safe, why not deploy a smart safe or cash recycler to start benefitting from cash automation technology?

Protect Your Cash!

Security risks aren’t new for retail owners and operators, but the recent uptick in robberies should be a reminder of the importance of anti-theft measures to protect cash and employees. Consider installing your cash recyclers or smart safes in a discreet location not easily seen by customers, securely bolted to the floor and with video surveillance to improve employee safety and mitigate the risk of loss. Additionally, cash automation software can further empower you to strategically manage your cash on hand.

For more information on how to best prep your store, schedule a meeting with one of our retail solutions experts or download our ebook to find out how your c-store can improve security measures with cash automation solutions.

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