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Convenience store safety tips

Despite being labeled as some of the most dangerous jobs in the retail industry by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are plenty of proactive steps convenience store and check cashing clerks can take to prevent violent crime. Here are a few tips:

• Minimize the reward: Stores should keep a minimal amount of cash on hand. Using safe deposit boxes and routine armored car pickups can eliminate large amounts of cash in the store at one time.

• Maximize the risk: Clerks should make sure windows and store aisles are easily visible. Window signs should be cleared so it's easy to see in and out of the store. Merchandise racks should be kept short so clerks have sight lines to monitor the entire store. Fencing the property boundaries also is a good idea to force would-be robbers to use a prominent entrance and exit.

• Protect yourself: The use of bulletproof partitions, audio-video surveillance and other security equipment helps deter crime. If thieves know they'll be caught on tape or are unable to threaten the clerk, they'll consider other targets.

-- Sources: National Association of Convenience Stores; Jack Flynn, president of Financial Service Centers of South Carolina; OSHA.

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