Do you know what loitering is? It happens when individuals gather in or around businesses without the intent to patronize these establishments. Teenagers, the homeless and panhandlers often compose these groups. But do you understand why loitering is bad for business?
What Makes Loitering Bad for Business?
Loitering can affect crime, public perception and cause serious problems for business owners. Plus, state and federal laws limit what property owners can do to protect their businesses from loiterers. However, knowing the problems loitering causes can help you develop solutions. The commercial security experts at Integrated Access Security want to help you find these answers. Here is a list of issues loitering causes for business owners, and some solutions that may help.
1. Alienating Customers
The profitability of a business usually depends on the customers that use its services. But customers can become scarce when loiterers prevent them from entering an establishment. Even the appearance of loiterers can turn off customers. Especially if loiterers become boisterous or beg for money, customers may even avoid the area.
2. Property Damage
Keeping your business and its surroundings clean is another way to draw in customers. But keeping the area clean when loiterers are around can be time-consuming and costly. Groups hanging around your business may leave trash and other waste that leaves your business unattractive and smelly. If these groups graffiti or damage other property features, cleaning expenses can be extensive. Did you know the average cost to fix vandalism can be as much as $3,370?
Though vandalism is a major concern when it comes to loitering, it is not the only crime that should worry you. Loiterers who clash near your premises can start fights and cause injuries. Some individuals may even try to steal from passersby or sell drugs. Another concern is loiterers that enter your store and shoplift. These issues threaten both the financial health of your business and the physical health of customers and employees.
How to Prevent Loitering
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court banned certain vagrancy laws. This meant that states could not pass laws allowing the removal of persons who were doing nothing on public property. Some cities have ordinances banning panhandling, but these laws do not help business owners unless loiterers are begging for money. Many business establishments post signs to deter loitering, but signs are not always effective. Now business owners have found more inventive ways to keep loiterers moving and customers coming in.
1. Sonic Deterrents
Many neighborhoods have a problem with youth congregating and causing problems for business. To solve this issue, some companies have developed speakers that emit a sound only young people can hear. This disturbing sound plays on a frequency that only people under the age of 30 can hear. This sound subsequently discourages young people from hanging around in particular areas.
2. Refuges for the Homeless
In an effort to reduce the number of homeless individuals hanging around businesses, some communities have set up refuges. These locations are usually close enough to businesses to attract individuals who do not have a place to stay. It provides a safe environment where the homeless can seek shelter, food and bathing facilities. Businesses often sponsor and help communities start these centers to prevent loitering.
3. Visible Security Measures
Sometimes setting up visible security measures are enough to make loiterers disperse. Security cameras let vagrants know that someone could be watching or they may be on tape. Security sensor gates also provide similar deterrence. Gates indicate that the merchandise in your store has security tags. Since these tags make theft harder, shoplifters may choose to avoid your store.
Are There Other Methods for Stopping Loitering?
These are just a few of the methods business owners use to prevent loitering. However, new methods are being developed every day. To learn more about your options, contact a retail security company. At Integrated Access Security, we help commercial businesses develop security strategies that fit their needs. Whether they need access control, security integration or security cameras, we can help. If your business needs security solutions in the Palo Alto or Redwood City Areas, give us a call at (650) 332-6667.