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Security works: scrambled security.

In retail outlets, it is a common practice for the employees to leave the lock set on the last digit of the combination so they can easily access the safe throughout the day without redialing the lock. But day locking, as this practice is called, is not only convenient for employees, it is convenient for thieves.

Eckerd Drug Company, which is headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, wanted to make the safes in its stores harder to access. Two years ago, the drugstore chain started installing safes equipped with the Scrambler lock into all its new stores. Approximately seventy of the chain's 1,650 stores are now equipped with the locks, and Michael Carter, the company's director of loss prevention, says they have helped reduce theft. "The likelihood of an unknown [person] just going into the safe is nonexistant," he adds.

The Scrambler, made by Sargent & Greenleaf, Inc., of Nicholasville, Kentucky is different than ordinary mechanical, three-wheel combination locks because it automatically repositions, or scrambles, the lock's wheels the instant the lock's bolt is retracted. This means that when the safe door is closed, it cannot be reopened unless the combination is completely redialed. "It takes away the shortcuts that could compromise your safe," Carter explains.

The decision to use the Scrambler was an easy one for Carter. The company was already using Sargent & Greenleaf locks in its safes when the vendor approached him with the upgraded lock. Carter has also looked at digital locks and is currently testing their use in one of the stores, but he says he wants to give the electronic market more time to mature and has not found any digital product that performs better than the Scrambler.

The change to the new locks has been smooth because they are built into the safe by the safe manufacturer - no retrofitting is involved. Carter also says that these new scrambling locks have few maintenance problems.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Addis, Karen; Arbetter, Lisa; Murphy, Joan
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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