Rising inflation is linked to increasing crime rates. Heres how to deter criminals.

After decreasing for decades, violent crime in the U.S. began to tick up in the mid-2010s, according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania. It saw a spike in 2020, and reports also show it continued to rise in 2022. What happened?

Societal trends are complex, of course, and can often be traced back to a number of factors. But many studies have shown a strong relationship between rising crime and rising inflation, and there’s evidence of a link between inflation rates and violent crime, as well. Another study used data spanning 30 years to determine that higher inflation rates are closely tied to homicide, robbery, and burglary rates across several European nations and the U.S. 

Rising inflation has been a hot topic in the foodservice industry this year—the National Restaurant Association’s 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry report found that 90 percent of operators believe inflation poses a significant risk to their restaurant. 

“Inflation can extend to labor costs, particularly if minimum wage laws are adjusted to keep up with rising prices,” says Lenny Evansek, senior vice president of SafePoint business development at Loomis. “Quick-service restaurants, which traditionally employ a significant number of low-wage workers, are facing higher payroll expenses. This can further impact their bottom line, especially if they can’t easily pass these costs onto customers through price increases.”

Another way that restaurants can actively work to prevent inflation is by protecting cash. When cash handling occurs in the open, restaurants are more vulnerable to robberies and burglaries, potentially endangering customers and employees. Since cash is untraceable, there’s also an increased risk of internal theft.

“Automated cash handling can ensure that processes are carried out consistently according to established guidelines, reducing the risk of non-compliance and errors,” Evansek says. “Having controls in place deters robbery and internal theft.”

Restaurants can also ward against robbery by keeping as many employees in the store as possible. Manual cash management means that supervisors or other team members must drive to the bank for daily deposits and change—meaning they are forced to leave the store for anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours each day. This leaves restaurants more vulnerable to crime, and employees on bank runs might also encounter risks outside the restaurant, like car accidents or robberies.

“A balanced approach that leverages automation where it provides clear benefits while valuing human skills is often the most effective strategy,” Evansek says. “By removing tasks of limited value and high risk, resources are conserved, and the optimization of human resources is achieved.”

Solutions like Loomis SafePoint and Cash Exchange eliminate the need for employees to run to the bank, keeping them in the store in greater numbers for safety. These solutions also move cash management out of sight, reducing the risk of robbery and theft. In uncertain inflationary times, it’s as crucial as ever for restaurant brands to take measures to protect their stores and employees.

To learn more about automated cash management, visit the Loomis website.

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