Keeping Independent Health Clubs Safe From Theft

Much like independent health club owners never know where that flash of brilliance is going to come from for their next big idea, writers never know where inspiration will come from either. 

So, it isn't as big of a surprise as that the spark for this blog came from the police blotters. 

One of the biggest — although least discussed — issues that club owners face from small towns to major cities is theft. It could be a wallet from a locker, a coat on a rack, or even a car from the parking lot. 

Thieves At Fitness Clubs Come In All Shapes And Sizes Make Sure Your Club Has A Plan To Deal With ThemClubs spend money to install cameras, post warnings and even have staff members serve as “guards” during peak times, but still theft happens. And while perhaps legally not responsible for the loss of property, the loss of confidence and referrals from members and prospects can be more costly than even replacing lost property. 

But, what can a club do to reduce thefts? And how much should they do in light of a theft?

A report from WJTV in Jackson, Miss. tells of one gym owner that was so tired of  thefts in the club's parking lot, staff was advised via memo that if they witness a crime on the property to “get in your car to follow them.”  Not-too-shockingly, that policy only lasted three days.

Now, not all thefts can be stopped or even prepared for. Take the recent case in Wheatfield, N.Y., where thieves cut a hole in the wall of a building being built for a Fitness Factory overnight, making off with gym equipment worth $10,000, according to reports.  Sometimes thieves will get what they want regardless of precautions or weight! 

While most club owners, as well as the police in Jackson, might see vigilantism as a bit extreme (and chasing down thieves willing to lug equipment through a hole in the wall is less likely to happen) it is important for there to be set standard operating procedures for handling theft, the same way your club has emergency procedures for fire, injury and more. 

Staff should know who to contact, what facts are important and how to get details of the incident, without alarming other members. 

After speaking with several police officers about ways clubs can help to cut down on theft as much as possible, they offered the following tips. 

8 Ways to Keep Your Members, Guests, and Staff Safe

  1. Ensure that all members check in per club system.
  2. If locks are not provided make sure members are reminded to lock belongings.
  3. Provide “loaner” lock (with key) for members that forget theirs.
  4. Get picture ID of all guests.
  5. Record time in and out of guests to help narrow down who was in building.
  6. Be sure that video cameras are in working order.
  7. Work with staff on noticing “red flags” and procedures of keeping club safe.
  8. When in doubt, call 911.  


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