Let us start by saying that we hope that you never need to use these tips. In the event your business is one day targeted for a robbery though, we would rest easier knowing you and your team are prepared for what to do to prevent bodily harm and help the police to apprehend the criminals.
With that in mind, below are some tips for how to handle the actual robbery followed by the steps to take once the robbers have left your premise.
During The Robbery
- Remain calm. Most importantly, remain calm and do not resist. This is not the time to be a hero either. We recommend you do not take any action that would jeopardize your own safety.
- Activate the alarm. If you have an alarm, activate the alarm only if it is safe to do so without being detected.
- Follow instructions. Follow the instructions of the robber – but do not volunteer more information than she asks for.
- If you must make any unusual steps to fulfill the demands of the robber, let him know and assure him of your full cooperation.
- Establish special signals. Establish special signals that only your employees will recognize to alert one another to a robbery in progress. This way, the employee being robbed can safely alert others to the robbery so they can take appropriate action/cover.
- Save the note. If the robber hands you a note, make your best effort to save it and handle the note as little as possible. The note is very useful information for police in their investigation – especially if the robber is unidentified prior to leaving your premise — and they may be able to glean fingerprints from it.
- Mental notes. Make a mental note of the robber’s race, age, height, sex, hair color, eye color, clothing, complexion, etc. Also make note of any tattoos or scars, anything that would make the person stand out in a line up to help identify him. It’s also critical that you note how many accomplices were there and identifying information about the getaway car – make and model, color and the license plate number. Finally, make note of the weapon. What kind of gun is it for example? You may not know brands but you can remember details such as size or distinguishing characteristics. Finally, make note of anything the robber touches. The police department may be able to lift her fingerprints off objects the robber touches to help in prosecution.
After the Robbery
- Call the police. This may seem obvious but calling the police first thing is critical and may be easy to forget in the aftershock and confusion. Choose someone to call the police who will be able to stay on the phone with the dispatcher if needed.
- Lock the doors. Lock the doors to your store and ask all witnesses to remain until the officers arrive. Their input will be invaluable in the investigation. If a witness must leave, obtain his or her name, address and telephone number.
- Don’t compare notes. All witnesses should write down a description of the suspects and it’s best to protect the integrity of the case if witnesses don’t talk about the robber’s appearance with each other. The police will be able to trust eyewitness accounts better if witnesses have not compared notes with each other.
- Protect the crime scene. Don’t touch anything. It’s important that the crime scene remain intact to help with investigation.
- Handle with care. If you were given a note by the robber, handle it carefully and only by the edges. This is so if there are any fingerprints on the note they will not be smeared. Put the note in a safe place and give it to the police when they arrive.
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