Security and Crime News
ONE YEAR LATER: Burger King Slayings Update
It's been true for years; and it is even more true today, because hours have been expanded, restaurants are not open about security measures and the industry hasn't done enough to protect its workers, according to one security expert.
"So many of these places are operating like it's 1950, and it's not 1950 anymore. Then they are surprised when someone gets shot," said J.R. Roberts, founder of Security Strategies, a Balsam, NC-based security training and consulting company.
It's hard to tell if security at local fast-food restaurants has increased one year after two Burger King workers were killed in a brutal stabbing that police called a botched robbery. Franchise owners contacted by The Daily Journal declined to talk about security, citing security -- a counter intuitive tactic, according to Roberts.
Roberts said owners should tell the world that high security is in place so people don't even think about making a move. "I'm not suggesting patting down the customers before they get a Quarter Pounder," he said. "But businesses need to send the signal that this isn't a good place to knock off."
Roberts said shopping malls everywhere have security personnel both outside and inside. Ask a mall shopper, Roberts said, about security personnel. "How does (security personnel) make you feel? Safer or less safe?"
The BK response
At the time of the double-murder at the Momence Burger King, there was no security camera. There is now. The business has also stopped using the door at the rear of the restaurant where the killer entered.
In a written response from Burger King Corp. to The Daily Journal's questions, the company stated all its restaurants have day-and-night security. But it would not address specific questions as to security upgrades.
"As a general policy, we do not comment on specific security measures to avoid from compromising these procedures," the statement read.
The increase in crime at such fast-food places as Burger King matches the increased late-night hours. As convenient store owners have stepped up security with more cameras and drop boxes for cash deposits, people seeking easy money have turned to fast food for a quick, easy target.
"Many of these places are not screening their employees properly and they are not training them properly," he said. In fact, he said, many of these restaurants are designed to offer little resistance to crime.
There is money for security
According to Roberts, cost should not be a consideration when it comes to security. The industry is making money.
As of 2004, the industry employed more than 12 million people in 878,000 establishments, Roberts said. The projected earnings for that year were $440 billion. Sales figure for 2007 would easily surpass $500 billion, he said.
Lt. Kevin McGovern of the Kankakee Police Department said if people don't feel safe, they should call the police. "People say they don't want to bother us. I always tell them that that is what we are here for. Police would rather get a call from you before you are a victim rather than after," he said.
McGovern said there are things businesses can do for customer safety. Bushes should be cut low. Tree branches should be trimmed high. Exterior lighting should be uniform. Windows should be uncluttered. Pedestrian traffic onto the property should be limited.
"The last thing criminals want is a bunch of eyes on them. The greater the visibility, the less likely it is that a crime will happen."
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© J. R. Roberts, Security Strategies