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Securing the Cash on Your Campus

Automating the cash management process at your institution can reduce the risk of theft, robbery and human error.

College campuses present an unusual set of internal and external challenges related to the handling and managing of cash. The U.S. Department of Education reports that during 2014 alone there were 14,000 burglaries on college campuses across the United States.

With the threat of theft and loss being so prevalent, campus administrators are continuously working to create the most efficient and secure campus environment for cash.

In order to do so, they must be aware of the latest threats and best practices to help prevent cash from being compromised.

The measures necessary to protect cash can differ, depending on the size of the campus, student population and security needs. While universities vary in what they do to protect their cash, the threats they face are similar in nature. Below are three main threats that university administrators must mitigate in order to properly address their cash’s security.

Threat 1: Variety of Cash Points Across Campuses

Cash is handled at a wide variety of points across campuses in university stores, cafeterias, on-campus banks, admissions offices and more.

The quantities of cash and the nature of cash transactions vary widely at each point, from large tuition amounts in admissions offices to small purchases like coffee and snacks in campus convenience stores.

The volume of cash in university shops, such as bookstores, varies by season, and during the start of school or the holidays, the cash flow and foot traffic of the store can increase greatly.

At each of these points of sale it’s critical to secure cash before it reaches a final collection end point, and smart safe technology helps to make that possible.

RELATED: Students’ Cameras Catch School Security Officers Stealing

Smart safes allow employees to take cash directly from their registers and deposit it into one onsite safe where it is then counted automatically, recorded and monitored.

Smart-safe technology works like a sophisticated vending machine for counting and securing cash. Money goes in and is processed and recorded. This technology is used heavily by fast food chains and other retailers where there are multiple points of sale in a single location.

Colleges have many similar environments, such as dining halls and on-campus shops, which pose similar challenges for handling and collecting cash.

The ultimate goal in campus cash processes is for cash to be handled by as few people as possible in order to minimize risk.

Administrators should also consider the frequency of cash collection from traditional or smart safes and points of sale at the various locations on campus. Infrequent collection means registers hold cash for longer periods of time than necessary. This poses a greater threat externally, making registers a more fruitful target for burglars.

It also poses a greater internal threat as dishonest employees may become aware of the large supply of money in cash register drawers, tempting them to pocket the cash because they believe that their actions will go unnoticed.

Threat 2: Internal Handlers

Multiple points of sale mean that many hands touch cash before it reaches a campus vault or is picked up by campus police or an armored car service. The ultimate goal in campus cash processes is for cash to be handled by as few people as possible in order to minimize risk. Often the greatest threats to cash are internal, including forms of shrinkage like employee theft, simple errors and discrepancies.

These internal threats are at the top of mind for businesses. A survey from CSP Magazine found that 57 percent of business leaders listed shrinkage and poor handling as their “most serious” concern.

Universities utilize cash handlers in different ways. Some may rely on their campus police to help them move currency around the campus, while others may simply have employees transport it.

For example, if a university has a cafeteria/dining hall with many different vendors (Starbucks, Mc- Donald, etc.) in one location, they may have their cash picked up at each vendor. Alternately, some campuses may only collect at one point in the building in this situation.

No matter which collection method is used, the greatest threat is still human error from employees. That is why it is crucial to provide proper training when an employee starts a job on campus and ongoing encouragement of best practices during their time of employment. To create a more secure environment, campus administrators need to both enhance their use of automated cash management technologies such as smart safes while simultaneously looking to constantly train employees in best practices in effective cash management.

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Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!

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