Business reacts to increased robberies - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Business reacts to increased robberies

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany police investigated 40 robberies last month. In several of those cases, the suspects admitted targeting businesses with women working alone at night.

Now some businesses are taking extra steps to protect employees and customers.

In the last week, Regions Bank on North Slappey has added bullet resistant glass from the counter to the ceiling around their tellers. Evelyn Mitchell of Regions says it's the number one recommended piece of security equipment from the FBI to deter robberies. Customers are shocked by the addition, but understand why.

"I think it's best to keep the tellers safe, it's sad that it's come to that, but I think keeping them safe is a good thing,"  said Regions Customer Josh Reeves.

At Security Bank's newest branch they want you to know you're being watched so, as soon as you walk through the door you appear on security camera.

"It's just a big deterrent I think whenever you walk in and see your face on that monitor to know that you're there, you're recorded, we know you're here," said Oakland Branch Manager Kim Colby.

The Oakland branch is also well lit at night, and watched by corporate security both inside and out. "Our corporate security, monitors this branch, all of our branches actually 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

Banks aren't the only businesses taking extra steps to protect themselves. The BP on North Slappey has 16 security cameras and they're now staffing at least three people at night, and those clerks are carrying guns.

"All my clerks, they have their security too, they carry guns and stuff, for our security purpose," said BP Manager Nainesh Patel.

Security experts say there are many tips a business can follow including having two people go to the dumpster at night, making sure walk-in freezers have an alternate exit, changing alarm codes when employees leave, and leaving interior lights on at night. Businesses we talked to say it's a matter of staying vigilant and not giving an opportunity to robbers looking for any chance they can get.

Regions Bank says they also ask anyone who enters the bank in sunglasses or a hat to remove them immediately.

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