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Caught In The Act

Guidelines for preventing instances of internal crime

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This story appears in the June 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

In cartoons, you can immediately spot the bad guy--his slick, black hair and droopy mustache give him away. In real life, though, it's not as easy to tell who might be a criminal.

Rather than waste your time suspecting everyone of evil intent, it's easier, cheaper and healthier to take some simple steps to prevent crime from happening in the first place. There are ways to make your business less vulnerable, notes Mike Coffey, CPCU, assistant vice president of Citizens Insurance in Howell, Michigan. Employee theft accounts for 50 to 70 percent of all workplace crime, Coffey says. Staffers comprise as much as 40 percent of that number, while support staff-including cleaning staff, contractors and others-round out the rest.

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