Keeping Your Members Safe From Theft
Police in Reno, Nev. have recently reported a string of vehicle burglaries occurring in the parking lots of health clubs. Thefts in parking lots, locker rooms and other areas of clubs, can happen in any community, and often do. So how can you protect your members and their belongings, and where are they the most vulnerable?
According to Mark Stevens, the regional director of Houstonian Health Clubs and Spas, members are most vulnerable to theft within locker rooms and parking lots. To help protect its members from theft, the Houstonian has specific tools it uses to protect its members in each individual area.
For example, in its locker rooms, the Houstonian placed signs on the walls and within each individual locker, to warn members about the possibility of theft. “Part of the signage should include notice to close and lock lockers when not in use, to never give others your locker key or combination, and additionally, to use the personal safety deposit boxes inside of the locker room,” explained Stevens. “Some clubs have even gone to additional steps of adding additional safety boxes inside each locker.”
To protect members in its parking lot, the Houstonian made use of caution signs as well. “Signs like what you would see at hotels, malls or others — providing notice not to leave valuables visible, to protect your personal items, lock doors, etc. — also can help deter any theft,” said Stevens.
Additionally, video surveillance can be of aid. “Video surveillance systems and signage could be installed to help deter thefts or help catch the person(s) committing the crime,” continued Stevens. “In some areas, neighborhood patrols, security companies, or even local police patrols of the area, in visible marked squad cars, also can help deter theft.”
Training staff in theft prevention can be a valued tool in protecting your members as well. “We train our staff diligently on how to spot potential concerns, and what channels to take to help eliminate potential theft situations,” said Stevens. “For example, if our locker room staff is making rounds in the locker room and notices unattended and open lockers, they close the locker and spin the dial on the combination to ensure that it is closed and locked.”
However, no matter what precautions you take, Stevens said that, unfortunately, it’s inevitable that theft will occur at some point. “Thefts will happen no matter how secure a facility or location,” he said.
If and when a theft does occur, notifying your members is a necessary step. “If an issue were to occur within our facility, we would provide members with notification of such events,” said Stevens. “We would do so through electronic communication channels — e-blast to our e-mail distribution lists, place a notice on our member-only website and potentially send out a separate mailer to all members notifying them.”
By Rachel Zabonick