The chances of a robbery happening in your place of business is likely if you accept cash and don't practice some of the techniques mentioned below. To simplify these suggestions, they have been categorized in the three different sections:
1. How to prevent a robbery from occurring.
2. What to do during a robbery if it occurs.
3. What to do after a robbery has occurred.
1. How to prevent a robbery from occurring:
· Always be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings.
· Any actions concerning cash should be done strategically.
· Use codes words or phrases with your employees such as "Code 1" as opposed to "I need change of a $100 bill."
· Be alert of ALL customers or shall I say "non-customers" who seem to be loitering or glancing around your store while appearing to shop or browse through a magazine or newspaper.
· Watch for suspicious persons outside your business - especially in parked cars and around telephone booths/vending machines.
· If you see someone who is acting suspicious inside or outside your location, notify the police immediately.
· Keep the front doors and windows clear of signs and posters to allow good, two way visibility. You and your employees can see suspicious persons outside. Passers-by and police can see you, your employees and customers inside.
· Keep the outside of your business well lit at night and any trees or bushes should be trimmed to allow clear visibility.
· At opening time, one person should enter the store and check to see if it has been disturbed.
· Before closing, one person should check the office, back rooms and rest rooms to ensure no one is hiding inside.
· Keep a minimal amount of cash on hand that is visible in the tills. Using a drop box or securing in a drop safe compartment could assist with this procedure.
· Only keep a minimal amount of $10's, $5's and $1's in the till, either dropping all $100's and $50's while keeping $20's under the change till out of sight.
· Securing deposits in a safe that is equipped with a 5-10 minute delay.
· Training ALL of your employees and ensuring that your cash policies are being followed.
· Hiring an armored car service or an armed escort while going to the bank to make a deposit and/or obtain change. Also, having an armed uniformed security officer at the entrance of your location greeting all customers and observing activity, is an overall great deterrent. (CLICK HERE to learn more about security)
· Having a CCTV system with a Public View Monitor showing everyone who enters the business.
· Obtain panic buttons from your alarm company to activate safely during a robbery.
· If using a safe, there have been less reported robberies in locations where the safe is in the front of the store where everyone can see it as opposed to in an office with a locking door and no camera present.
· Use the staggered exit technique with your employees while exiting the building. This is where one person exits and enters their vehicle while the other employee safely observes them from within the building. Then the employee who has made it to their car safely, should observe the employee who is exiting the building to ensure that they make it to their vehicle safely as well.
2. What to do during a robbery if it occurs:
· Remain calm. The perpetrator is nervous as well so don't do ANYTHING that will increase his/her emotions.
· Keep your hands visible and your fingers spread in a submissive position up and in front of your body.
· Narrate your actions so that the perpetrator knows exactly what you are doing. ("I am opening the register, I am taking out the cash, I am handing you the cash".....etc)
· Don't lie. If the perpetrator asks you to open the safe, DO NOT tell him/her that you don't have a key or the combination. They may have visited the location earlier in the day and witnessed you open the safe proving that you have access.
· Eliminate surprises. If someone went to the back of the store to use the bathroom, inform the perpetrator that someone may be coming out from the back so he/she isn't startled.
· Cooperate. Cooperate. Cooperate.....Give the perpetrator exactly what they ask for. There is NO amount of money worth losing your life or causing the injury of another person.
· If the perpetrator states that he/she has a firearm or a knife but hasn't brandished one, assume that they have a weapon.
· Attempt to obtain the best description of the perpetrator as you possibly can (height, weight, color of skin, markings, scars, tattoos, piercings, eye color, color of clothing and footwear, certain phrases used, facial hair, left handed or right handed, kind of weapon, etc.... Vehicle description, make model, year, color, dents, scratches, no/missing hubcaps. license plate number, etc....)
3. What to do after a robbery has occurred:
· LOCK THE DOOR. If the perpetrator hears a siren and returns to your location, you no longer have a robbery situation, you now have a hostage situation.
· Activate panic buttons and/or call 911.
· Ask all of employees and customers to stay within the location and move back from the doors. If anyone decides to leave the location, try to obtain that person's name and contact information for the police.
· Obtain descriptions of the perpetrator from all persons present. Ensure that everyone gives their own description and that they are not sharing the details with one another.
· Do not touch anything that the perpetrator may have touched. Block off all areas where he/she was located to ensure that the crime scene isn't contaminated.
· Cooperate with the police by answering all questions and providing any video evidence that you may have obtained.
· Wanted posters offering a cash reward can be helpful but please refer to the police on this matter.
Your comments, experiences and suggestions are always welcome. Please let me know what you think about the aforementioned robbery prevention techniques and what else could be done in order to deter, detect and/or detain the perpetrators.
Please CLICK HERE to learn more about implementing a proactive security program at your location or call 713-936-CSS1 (2771).
"If you have a security issue, we have a credible solution!"
The author of this article is J. Abiona who is the Founder and CEO of Credible Security Solutions, which is a Houston, TX based security consultation, private investigation and personal protection agency licensed by the TXDPS Private Security Board - License # C16911. Please feel free to contact Mr. Abiona in order to schedule a training session with your employees today to raise their level of awareness regarding robberies.
The views and opinions provided within this article have been documented in order to build awareness regarding robbery prevention techniques and in no way imply that these suggestions will eliminate robberies from happening and/or ensure the public's safety. This article was submitted in order to suggest and recommend some ideas that may assist with deterring robberies from occurring in retail establishments. The reader will not hold the author accountable or liable for any actions that occur due to the reader applying and/or adhering to any of the information provided within this article.