Follow proper security procedures
Common-sense safety procedures can help prevent credit union robberies. The “Robbery Prevention and Preparation” manual used in CUNA’s Staff Training and Recognition Program advises credit unions to take these precautions:
• Observe confidentiality. Sometimes even a tidbit of information—“We’re shorthanded because of vacations”—can tip off a potential robber to an opportunity. Employees should never discuss credit union or member business with others, not even their own families.
You can’t tell what information might be passed along to someone who might use it to hurt the credit union.
• Have two employees open the credit union each morning. While one employee remains in his or her vehicle, the other should check the perimeter of the building to make sure no one is lurking nearby and to look for signs of forced entry.
Then the first employee should unlock the building and make sure no one is hiding inside. If no one is present, the employee gives a predetermined “all clear” signal, such as opening or closing a shade or blind, turning on a light, putting a sign in the window, or giving a hand signal.
• Restrict keys. In general, employees should not have keys to the credit union. Exceptions include the security administrator and employees responsible for opening and closing the credit union.
All others arriving in the morning should be admitted by one of the opening employees.
• Be wary of deliveries. If a delivery person, police officer, repair person, or other individual claiming to have business with the credit union arrives prior to normal business hours, verify the person’s identity before admitting him or her.
• Be attentive as the business day winds to a close. Robbers may enter a credit union a few minutes before closing and hide in the restroom or other area.
Pay particular attention to the last people in line, or those lingering in the lobby.
For more information, consult CUNA’s training resources.
LIBBY VERTZ is an intern in CUNA’s business-to-business publishing department. Contact her at 608-231-4096.