Business safety

Being unaware could be costly!

The Gold Coast is recognised internationally as an attractive place to live, work and conduct business. The quality and diversity of our thriving business community is central to this success. Businesses provide vital services to our communities and support our economy.

Each year crime affects nearly half of all Australian small businesses. Levels and types of crime vary across the different business and retail sectors.

The average annual cost to each business affected can be approximately $5000. Direct financial costs, combined with indirect costs can result in significant losses to your business. Indirect losses include forced closure, increase in insurance costs and psychological impacts.

You can help reduce the risk of crime to your business by being aware and using preventative strategies to tighten security and improve safety procedures.

Report crime contact information

Burglary & robbery

Small retail businesses are one of the easiest targets of burglary and robbery. An armed robbery is a serious crime that could have a significant impact on the health, safety and welfare of you, your staff and customers. It is therefore important for businesses to have security and armed robbery procedures in place and for all staff to be familiar with them.

Research shows businesses most at risk are those that:

  • hold large amounts of money on the premises
  • have few employees on-site
  • trade late at night
  • have staff dealing with customers face-to-face
  • stock small, high value items.

How to prevent burglary and robbery

  • Keep as little money as possible on the premises
  • Reduce cash transactions by accepting credit cards and electronic payments
  • Leave the cash register open, empty and visible after closing
  • Bank often but at different times and use varying routes
  • Count cash out of sight
  • Display signs warning that minimal cash is kept on site
  • Encourage staff to keep larger notes out of customer view
  • Restrict customer access to one door at night

Additional information can be found on the Queensland Police website.

Stealing & shoplifting

Stealing takes many forms, from customers switching or removing price tags to thefts by professional groups. Professional shoplifters are more likely to work in pairs or groups, although they will work alone. They often steal to obtain a false refund for the items and have often 'cased out' a store before stealing.

To prevent shoplifting you can:

  • ensure price tags cannot be removed or switched
  • examine the tags and items at point-of-sale for alteration or damage
  • apply a 'no receipt, no refund' policy
  • fit electronic bar codes, shop ID stickers, or ink tags on goods
  • identify the most common stolen goods and locate these items in clear view of staff
  • place highly valuable items behind the counter or in a locked cabinet
  • check shopper's bags if necessary, but staff must not touch customers or their possessions
  • prosecute all shoplifting cases.

Additional information can be found on the Queensland Police website.


Fraud is a major issue for small retail businesses. It's the third most common form of crime. Fraud comes in many forms so awareness, education and training for staff is the best defence.

Employee fraud

Fraud by employees is regularly reported and can include theft of items or cash, as well as false record keeping. Employees who are appreciated and respected are less likely to become a security risk.

You should:

  • select staff carefully and check their references
  • consider rotating staff regularly through different sections
  • encourage staff to confidentially report dishonesty by colleagues
  • maintain control over keys, alarm systems and stock rooms
  • introduce a system to control staff shopping and refunds, charge accounts and discounts
  • ensure they know that preferential pricing for friends is unacceptable
  • encourage open communication between staff and managers to discuss problems and issues.

Refund fraud

This can include presenting stolen goods to obtain a refund, sometimes with a forged receipt.

You should:

  • ask for proof of purchase
  • offer an exchange of goods rather than a refund
  • require identification for exchange or refund
  • advertise the store refund policy so it is clear to everyone.

Design & security

Good workplace design and security measures on your premises can assist in reducing opportunities for common crimes including burglary, robbery, stealing and fraud.

You should:

  • install deadlocks on doors and fit alarm systems
  • install coded locks to restrict public access to staff areas
  • always lock the rear door of your premises
  • make sure in-store lighting is good so that people outside can see into the premises
  • ensure your exterior lighting allows staff to see outside the premises
  • not obstruct windows, for example with advertising material
  • use vandal-resistant fixtures and avoid surfaces and colours likely to attract graffiti
  • reduce nearby hiding places by minimising shrubbery, trees and clutter
  • consider choosing premises that are located in a busy, high-visibility area
  • ensure staff have a clear view across the shop at all times
  • fix convex mirrors to observe areas otherwise out of sight
  • avoid providing areas that enable shoplifters to stash goods, remove or hide tags
  • fit electronic sensors that sound when someone enters or leaves the premises
  • install closed-circuit television or cameras and clearly advertise their presence.
  • consider installing security bars or shutters on windows.

Additional information can be found on the Queensland Police website.

Employee safety

Business owners have a legal duty to provide a safe place to work for employees and should implement policies to promote personal safety. Business owners and staff are advised to:

  • develop safe procedures for the first worker to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night
  • introduce extra protection for staff such as personal alarms and mobile phones, particularly for employees carrying money or working alone at night
  • park in a well-lit area
  • lock all car doors while driving to the bank - do not make stops on the way
  • if involved in an armed robbery, try to stay calm and give the offender what they want.

Additional information can be found on the personal safety page or on the Queensland Police website.

Risk planning

Any number of hazards such as a natural disaster, fire or a terrorist act can threaten your business. Be prepared and assess risks that may arise which are out of your control.

Make risk planning part of your core business plan by following these steps:

  • know your business – how it works and what things are vital to its operation
  • identify any possible risks
  • analyse the likelihood and impact of these risks
  • evaluate the risks and decide what needs to be done to combat them
  • develop an emergency plan to guide responses to any incident
  • develop a continuity plan for what would need to be done to get your business running as normal again.