The purpose of this circular is to reduce the incidence of theft in the workplace, and to decrease workplace office burglaries, committed by individuals commonly referred to as the “Office Creeper.” The “Office Creeper” is an individual who enters an office building, disguised as a fellow office worker or a stranger posing as a repair, delivery, cleaning or other service personnel. The “Office Creeper” could be male or female dressed in a suit and tie or in the attire that is appropriate for that work environment. This circular contains valuable theft prevention tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of crime. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) believes you can reduce the risk of crime, at the work place, by applying these simple precautions.
If you see someone wandering, or appearing to be lost, in your building, ask if you can help them by asking simple questions such as, “May I help you?” or “Who are you here to see?” If the person has legitimate business in the building, he or she will appreciate your assistance. Escort them to the correct office, or to the “house phone” to call their intended contact. If not, ask the person to leave the building, but only if you feel comfortable doing so. If the person refuses to leave, call the police or building security. Be prepared to describe the person when you call the police. Learn your organization’s safety guidelines and policies. Review them often.
The following are examples of behaviors that could be considered suspicious:
OFFICE WATCH PROGRAM
You and your co-workers may want to establish an Office Watch Program for your building. This can be set up by office, section, or floor to help alert each other of unauthorized visitors or potential criminal activities. This program can follow the same guidelines as introduced in the Neighborhood Watch Circular.
TIPS TO HELP STOP THEFTS
Preventing theft is every employee’s responsibility. Having the “Its not my problem” attitude is not realistic or practical. Everyone must work together, to become the eyes and ears that will help keep the work place crime free.
Use keys, electronic access card and codes properly.
When individuals leave their office(s), most “hide” their purses under their desks or in unlocked file drawers. Many men believe that leaving their wallets in their jacket pockets or briefcases is safe. That is the first place an “office creeper” looks and those few seconds can cause you grief.
Leaving the office unlocked and allowing the telephones to ring is an invitation for the “Office Creeper” to enter.
Exercise caution when a repairperson shows up to work on, replace or remove office equipment.
Keep track of office equipment and furniture.
Keep information secure. Competition within the business world is on the rise, with large corporate takeovers and consolidations. With the help of high-speed computer systems and the World Wide Web, business espionage is at the forefront.
If confronted by a thief, follow your organization’s guidelines. Remember, it is usually best to give a thief what he or she wants. Don’t try to be a hero. Get a good description of the suspect, such as age, height, weight, eye and hair color. Look for distinguishing personal characteristics, such as scars, tattoos, and hairstyle. Observe the suspect’s jewelry clothing colors and style. Call the Los Angeles Police Department immediately, to report the crime, in addition to your organization’s security personnel.
Notifying neighboring offices of the incident is a good neighbor policy. This will alert them to be on the look out. The costs (i.e., time to replace stolen items, disruption of work, and the personal stress) associated with the violation of one’s security, is immeasurable. Everyone must work together to become the eyes and ears that will help keep the work environment crime free.
The Office Creeper crime prevention information included in this circular was compiled from material obtained from the following: