CHICAGO — Google the terms “dry cleaner” and “robbed” and you’re likely to find several news reports of incidents that have occurred in the last month or so. Yes, dry cleaners’ cash business can be an attraction for robbers, and minimally staffed drop stores can be targeted.
In this month’s AmericanDrycleaner.com Wire survey, members of the trade audience were asked if any of their stores had ever been victimized by criminals. Nearly 43% of respondents said their businesses had been victimized in the past.
Of those incidents, 83.3% involved an “in-person robbery of cash or merchandise” and 66.7% involved a “property crime such as burglary or vandalism.” One-third of respondents also said someone in their store had been involved in a “physical assault or serious violent crime” or “another type of crime,” including receiving counterfeit bills. Just 16.7% said they had been victimized by a “fraud or confidence game that cheated the business.”
Approximately 64% of dry cleaners who took the survey said their employees receive training specific to how they should respond in the event a crime is committed in their store.
How do dry cleaners deter crime? Among respondents, 64.3% use video cameras and 50% use alarm systems. Equal shares of 14.3% have firearms or other weapons, or use “another deterrent,” such as posting warning signs or keeping only small amounts of cash in the cash drawer.
Nearly a quarter of respondents—21.4%—don’t have a crime deterrent.
While the Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.
Subscribers to Wire e-mails—delivered twice weekly—are invited to take a brief industry survey anonymously online each month. All dry cleaners are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define opinions and industry trends.