View Full Version : How to stop internal theft at your haunt

06-22-2010, 07:37 PM
Every year more items come up missing some from coustomers others from employees one year a foot chase even insued because some people were carrying things out . How can we stop it thanks .

06-22-2010, 09:27 PM
One way might be to set up a security camera system at all entrances and exits hooked up to a DVR. Then if a theft happens, you've got it recorded. A four camera DVR system will only run you about $400. If you post that you've got the system as well, it may detour thefts if they know they'll be recorded.

06-22-2010, 09:38 PM
We had some problems with the guests stealing from the show. We posted one of our off duty police officers at the exit door. If the guest had something they shouldn't we just wouldn't let them out till they gave it back. If they damaged something on purpose we had the actor in the scene radio us and they were stopped at the exit. They were given a choice to either pay to replace the item or we would prosecute. Usually mom and dad were called and we got at least some of the money to replace what was damaged. We did continue to lose a few smaller things that I assume the guest had hid in their shirt or in a pocket book but not much you can do about that.
We never really had a problem with an actor stealing other than losing a couple masks.

Mike Goff
06-23-2010, 08:24 AM
This may not apply, in a big market, where you get tons of new customers every year.
In our case, we are in a small - medium market where we get the same people year after year, and really week after week.
It takes quite a few years, to get there, but if you keep people entertained during the duration of their visit, they seem to show quite a bit more respect for the place. If you have someone that goes around and talks to people while they are waiting in line, it personalizes your place. What I mean by that is, when some one thinks that it might be funny to rip a skeleton off of the wall on their way out, they might think twice, because they are doing something very uncool to that nice guy who talked to them before they went in. It's very important to have friendly ticket takers.
Last but certainly not least, do not put up with any BS whatsoever. When we catch someone doing something stupid, I kick out the entire group. If they protest, I flat out tell them, birds of a feather flock together, you came here with a jack ass, so odds are you are probably a jack ass too. If you are mad about getting kicked out, then take it out on this guy on your way home. If I see any of you here again, I will consider it to be criminal trespassing.
At that point all conversation ceases, and they leave, one way or another.
After a while, the word gets out, and incidents become fewer, and further in between.
We have always worried about a group coming back after closing time, and vandelizing, but to date that has not happened. If I had to guess, there was probably at least one reasonable person in the group that was highly embarrassed and gave the perpetrator an ear full on the way home. Make sure that you call it like it is, If they walked off with a prop, they are a thief. Sometimes one word, can make someone rethink their life.
Cameras, alarms, and dogs give us peace of mind after hours. WiLife cameras are really cool, when they detect motion, they send a picture to your phone.

Twin Locusts
06-23-2010, 09:04 AM
There are some good posts on this, search - theft loss prevention steal - for the entire post not title.

Drywall screws is a place to start. If you can't screw it down find something to serve the purpose that you can screw down.

06-23-2010, 09:41 AM
One way might be to set up a security camera system at all entrances and exits hooked up to a DVR. Then if a theft happens, you've got it recorded. A four camera DVR system will only run you about $400. If you post that you've got the system as well, it may detour thefts if they know they'll be recorded.

We installed 16 cameras last year and purchased another 16 for this year. I did notice that the guest didn't mess with things because they were on camera. and for safety I could see everything going on, also the Fire Marshal loved them being installed.

Jim Warfield
06-23-2010, 12:38 PM
I lost alot of little things but they were things I had made myself and some of them took many hours of MY TIME to make, I was mad!
Then later I looked around and realised I had never made that much income in one month before in my entire life so I guess it was just part of the true cost of doing buisness. (Since I was a one-man operation and could not possiblly watch all the customers.)
Then after I had been open a few more years I seemed to notice customers were taking things because they were fans. I suppose they were erecting little shrines to my house? So enter "The Dirt Bag".
Free little sandwich bags with a sample of Ravens Grin dirt from the crawlspace here under the house. (I was digging out and needed a place to get rid of the dirt anyhow!)
The house is haunted and several people taking things from here have suffered some car wrecks , house burning down and bad luck from after the moment they decided to steal things from me. I was told by their friends after the car wreck, house burning, ex cetra after they had warned then not to steal but they did anyway.
Cold weather in October puts coats on customers giving them a good place to hide a mask of yours. We used to have an open window upstairs and I am pretty sure some of my things were thrown out the window to be picked up later.
I t would have been fun to walk in as they were pitching my masks from the window . I would run over to them and say something like, "I'll help you get that mask of mine on right now!"
As I throw them out the window! (It's a tall old 2-story house)

06-23-2010, 01:13 PM
There are a few asset tracking systems out there, that you can sign in and sign out your equipment, masks, etc. I think clearcut operations from the show has one, but we're going to move that direction later. For now, we have each actor sign in, and out their mask. The masks are kept under lock and key, and are personally handed to each actor at the beginning of the night. Before they are returned, they're to be cleaned and reported of any damage to them. The actors are told they are held responsible for their mask or anything they sign out from us, and usually... they take good care of it.

Other than masks, you need to be prepared to lose anything that you don't screw down (and often times these items still seem to walk). If you have something that is more valuable, try to use square head bits or star key bits, and they might be a little harder to steal for some people.

In the end, if someone wants something bad enough, they will find a way to take it. For example, a friend of mine works in a hospital... they have tracking chips and alarms on every t.v., monitor, computer, etc. in the entire hospital... and some people still seem to get around the system. They even caught a guy with "what looked like a t.v." under his jacket on video, and they couldn't prosecute him because the evidence wasn't conclusive enough.

Going back to asset tracking.... often times, even if you aren't monitoring your assets... the appearance of tracking them can make them think twice before taking something. Goes back to the old saying... power perceived is power achieved.