Robbery response strategies require planning and coordination between employees and management. Give some thought to how you might react in a robbery situation and discuss your concerns with co-workers and employers. Common sense, caution and adherence to established policies and procedures can reduce the amount of money stolen and minimize the chance for injury and loss of life.
- Keep your establishment in order and ask your employees to store their personal effects in a safe location.
- Watch your customers. Greet them on entry and on exit. Without insisting too much, offer to help them while they look at the merchandise.
- Be wary of suspicious individuals. Develop your sense of observation to spot any suspicious behavior. Contact the police if aggressive or threatening individuals refuse to leave the store upon your request.
- Keep emergency telephone numbers close at hand. Install an emergency call button (panic button). Ensure that all your employees know how to use it.
- Have more than one employee on duty evenings and nights, if possible. If an employee must work alone at night, ensure his/her safety by means of a glass enclosure or a door which he can control, unlocking only when a customer appears.
WHAT TO DO DURING AN ARMED ROBBERY
Observe the robber attentively and attempt to remember the following elements:
Steps to take during robbery:
- Remain calm and obey the robber. Do only what the robber demands. Breathe deeply. Control your fear. Concentrate on what must be done so that the theft ends quickly and without further misfortune.
- Raise your hands and don’t move. If you must move, tell the robber what you are going to do. Ensure that he can always see your hands.
- Don’t have a discussion with him. Don’t try to change the robber’s mind. Speak only if spoken to. Answer in a confident voice and with short sentences.
- Keep him informed. Make sure there are no surprises. If there is someone else on the premises or if you are expecting someone, tell the robber.
- Give the robber what he/she demands. Be honest about the amount of money which you can give the robber.
- Attempt to memorize what the robber touches. This will assist the police to lift fingerprints.
- Do not give chase. Note the direction of the robber’s get away and a description of the vehicle, if applicable (license number, make and color of vehicle). Next, activate the alarm system and call the police.
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ARMED ROBBERY
- Lock the entry door and other access points. Other than the police and your employer, do not allow any other person to enter.
- Call the police immediately, even if the robber threatened you. Respond attentively to the questions of the operator on duty. Realize that during the conversation, police officers are already en-route towards your establishment.
- Help the victims. If there are victims, give them assistance. Reassure them by informing them that help will soon be there.
- Preserve evidence. Keep the crime scene intact. Avoid touching places where the robber(s) may have left fingerprints, footprints or other evidence.
- Ask witnesses to remain on the premises. See to it that they do not touch anything. If they must leave, get their name, address and phone numbers.
- Take notes. While awaiting the arrival of the police, write down the following: description of the thief, type of weapon, direction of flight, type of vehicle, objects touched, etc.
- Follow the instructions of the police officers. Upon the arrival of the police, follow their instructions and their recommendations.
- Do not divulge information about the theft. Remember that the amount of the theft and all other details are confidential; they are of concern only to the employer and the police.
- Don’t be afraid to testify. If you must go to court, you will not be obliged to reveal your address and phone numbers.
AID TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS A VICTIM OF A ROBBERY
Armed robbery sometimes proves to be traumatizing. The following reactions may arise a few days, weeks or even months after the aggression:
- Suspicion of strangers, customers
- Anxiety, feelings of insecurity
- Feelings of guilt or frustration
- Loss of self-confidence
- Insomnia, loss of appetite, depression
If one of these reactions presents itself, do not hesitate to consult a health-care professional or community resources in your area.
Remember that comprehension from co-workers and management also goes a long way to assist a victim to regain their health.