The safety of your clientele, technicians and employees should be an important consideration when selecting a site for your salon.
All too often security is overlooked in planning. If you presently own a salon or are thinking about opening one, plan now to give the best security possible. It is your responsibility as the owner to protect those who patronize your salon or work there. Your local law enforcement agency is limited in how much protection it can provide. You must provide the first line of defense, to protect against criminal activity, and to protect yourself from any civil lawsuit involving security negligence.
You as the owner of a business have an obligation to protect guests, invitees, employees and others from any criminal action that is foreseeable. Nothing causes more disruption in business and employee morale than news that someone was criminally attacked on the premises. The premises can be the interior of the salon or the parking lot. Be aware that you should give as much consideration to the parking area as you do the interior of your business.
You may feel that you cannot possibly be responsible for the criminal actions of third parties against someone on your premises. Despite your arguments, there are courts which have ruled that a business owner does have that responsibility. You would be well advised to seek legal advice from your attorney regarding the laws of your state concerning security negligence. Do it now, not after an incident has already occurred and you have been named as a defendant in a legal action where the question of adequate security is raised.
There is no mysticism involved in security. You do not have to be a street cop to establish a security program. You need a few guidelines to follow and the ability to work with your local law enforcement agency.
If you presently own a salon or have a location in mind, you should contact the police or sheriff’s department where the business site is located. Obtain information regarding any past criminal activity at this location and the surrounding area. An area of approximately one mile in all directions would be a reasonable distance to review crime data for the past two years.
You should be interested in the reported crimes against people and property. If the police department advises you that there has been an increase in assaults, robberies, automobile thefts, and more violent types of crimes over the past two years, it is reasonable to believe that a similar type of crime is foreseeable at your location. You may be one of the lucky ones, never touched by crime, but those odds are not really in your favour.
Don’t be the salon owner who ignores crime statistics or fails to communicate with your law enforcement agency. It is not the responsibility of the police department to come to you with this information, it is your responsibility. Ignorance is not a very good defense when sued in a court of law.
At the very minimum you should check on the crime rate for your area every six months. It could be as simple as requesting that this information be mailed to you by the police department. If they do not provide that service, schedule the time to go to their location. If nothing else, you will be opening up the lines of communication with them.
One more hint is to invite the local patrol car officers into your salon. Get to know these officers and get their input about any problems in the area and their suggestions for crime prevention. They deal with it on a daily basis and are experts on what is happening in your neighbourhood.
Conducting Your Security Survey
Enroute to your salon while driving or walking, take time to inspect the neighbourhood that your clients and others must pass through to get to your business. You may have a beautiful salon with the finest furniture and expert technicians, however, if it is located in the middle of a high crime area, you may not see much foot traffic, unless it is a potential customer running past your window with a mugger in hot pursuit. Clients do not want to drive through a potentially dangerous area to reach your location.
See how you feel during your drive or walk through the neighbourhood. Trust your feelings about your own security and translate that to how your clients will feel. Do this both during the day and at right, depending on the hours you are open for business. If you have any doubts regarding how safe the area is, check on other possible sites for your salon.
Lighting and Parking
Criminals like it where they can hide in the shadows. Check your exterior lights to make sure they provide enough illumination to prevent dark corners or shadows. Ideally, your front window will allow you and your staff to observe any activity outside your salon.
If you have a parking lot or area where your employees, clients and others park their vehicles, check to make sure the lighting is adequate there too. One rule to check the adequacy of lighting is to see if you can read a newspaper in the glow cast by the lights. The parking lights should not allow for dark areas surrounding parked vehicles to prevent any vandalism, car theft and attack on the people entering or leaving their cars.
If your salon has underground parking or a parking structure, drive through it to check the lighting in the parking spaces and walkways. Also check the stairwells to ensure that there is plenty of lighting to deny anyone a hiding place. Remember that it may be you who is making that trip on a daily basis, during the day and evening hours.
During your inspection of the parking structure, check to see if entry can be made by anyone off the street without being observed by security or parking personnel. Determine if there are regular security tours of the facility to protect vehicles and people.
Look for closed circuit television cameras monitoring activities in the parking structure. Locate any emergency panic alarms that may be in place for medical emergencies or to prevent criminal assault. Emergency telephones should be well lighted and in working order. Pick up the telephone and see how long it takes someone to answer it. Tell them that you are inspecting the parking structure and wanted to check on their response to your telephone call.
If security officers are supposed to be present, they should be visible as a deterrent. Security guards that are not visible and within immediate contact are not of much value. Employing one security guard to cover an extremely large area is of limited value.
Check the outdoor parking area for any overgrown shrubbery that could provide a hideout for a criminal laying in wait for a victim. Inspect the fence surrounding the parking area and look for holes that may have been cut, or a portion of the fence that may have been cut, or a portion of the fence that may have been knocked down and not replaced. A damaged fence does not provide the protection intended. It will allow for undetected entry and exiting.
Bring the lack of security to the attention of your proposed landlord, leasing representative or seller. Have them make the necessary improvements prior to your moving in. If you own the property, make the improvements yourself. The safety of your clientele, technicians and employees should be paramount.
Graffiti has been described as artwork of the street people, but it may also be providing notice of gang activity in the area. Gangs use graffiti to mark their boundaries and announce to all that this is their turf. Some of this graffiti is very colourful, skilful, and took elaborate planning, but it can also be a warning.
Take time to check your building and surrounding walls and buildings for graffiti. If you see an abnormal amount of graffiti, it is an indication that there is no security or law enforcement presence to prevent it.
If you are being shown a proposed site by a real estate agent, the leasing agent or owner of the property, ask about their knowledge of any past criminal incidents at the site that you are inspecting and the area itself. Tell them you are concerned about the safety of your clientele and technicians. If they advise you that there have been no problems associated with this site, shopping center, mall or neighbourhood, ask them to put that in writing on your lease or escrow papers.
Where there are other shop owners in the vicinity, stop in and ask them about the area. They are an excellent source of information. They can tell you if there have been any criminal incidents or security problems associated with this location.
If you have an established business already, keep in touch with the management company, property owner and your neighbours regarding any information concerning recent incidents. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
For those of you who have negotiated leases in shopping centers, malls, office buildings or commercial centers, determine what security is provided by management. They may provide uniformed security guards, patrol vehicles for the parking areas, alarms and other types of services. Make sure this service is identified in your lease agreement and will continue, and be improved as necessary, as long as you are a tenant. If it is discontinued without your being notified or without your approval, seek immediate legal advice for your protection. You may be paying for a service that is not being provided as per contract.
Also ask your attorney to check your lease before your sign it to determine your liability, if any, in case the center where your salon is located is sued over the issue of adequate security.
When we read something we tend to believe it, unless we have information to contradict it. The same is true in posted security signs. We have all seen signs in parking lots warning that there is a
As a business owner you must document any changes that you make to improve the security after a criminal assault or damage to property. Once you have established a security program do not discontinue it for financial reasons alone. Security should be considered a cost of being in business. The cost of having security may appear to be expensive, but in the long run it may prove to be the best insurance that you could ever buy. An insurance policy will pay after a loss, a good security program may prevent the loss from taking place
In real estate the key words are location, location and location. Keep that in mind when you are looking for a salon to start your business. And part of your consideration should be the security of the area. We all work better when we feel safe and secure in our environment.
There isn’t a criminal lurking behind every tree and corner. You must not get paranoid and worry every minute that you will become the next victim. Use common sense in selecting a salon site and communicate with the local police department for their advice.
Security must be considered in your location decision and then given periodic review. It’s part of your responsibility as a business owner. Protect your clientele and staff from any foreseeable crime problems, just as you would protect your own home and family. Without them, you have no nail business.