Make Robbery Risky
It is a crime “against the person” and a frightening experience. It can result in injury or even death to the victim. It is important to remember, in protecting your business from robbery, to take preventive measures and make it obvious that those measures have been taken.
How to discourage robbery
- Lock unused doors.
- Avoid working alone.
- If you must, turn on a hidden radio or TV so robbers will think there is someone with you.
- Vary the schedule and route for your bank deposits each day.
- Keep only necessary cash in the drawer. Then, if you are robbed, you’ll reduce your losses.
- Make sure your cash register is clearly visible to passers-by.
- Arrange the counter so that the customer or robber is visible from the street.
- Avoid placing signs or displays near windows which block visibility from the street.
- If your business runs an exceptionally high risk of robbery, you may want to invest in a bullet-proof cashier screen. A screen “defuses” the robbers threat, but other prevention measures may be equally effective at lower cost.
- Display signs at entrances and exits indicating that safes require secondary keys not in the possession of employees.
- Advertise your security alarm system with signs in visible locations.
- Develop a mutual aid system among stores on your block.
- Agree to keep an eye on each other’s buildings and watch for any suspicious activities. Install “buddy buzzer” alarms so you can signal your neighbor to call the police if you are being robbed.
- Record the serial number of the bottom bill in each bin of the cash drawer, and instruct employees not to use these bills in making change.
- Place colored tape markers at exits, at heights of 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet. If you are robbed, you can then get an accurate estimate of the suspect’s height as he or she leaves.
- Keep “bait” money in a spare compartment of cash registers.
- The bait packet should be separated by face value as other bills. Keep a list of the serial numbers to give to law enforcement officials if you are robbed.
If a robbery happens
Someone points a gun at you and demands your money. What do you do? Give it to him. Never refuse a robber!
If you have a silent alarm and can reach it unnoticed, use it. Otherwise, wait until the
robber leaves. (Use your alarm with care. Excessive false alarms can cause problems
for law enforcement and for you).
If possible, signal other employees. Have a prearranged signal for such emergencies.
Again, if the robber will see you, wait. Try to avoid sudden moves. Many robbers are just
as nervous as you are.
The most important thing to do if you’re robbed: observe. The description of the suspect
you give to police may be the only information they have to go on.
After a robbery
- Call the police immediately.
- Write down everything you can remember about the robber and the crime itself: Describe Suspect and Vehicle The robber’s appearance (height, weight, color of hair and eyes, scars, tattoos, accent, anything unusual) and as much as possible about his clothing, weapon and mannerisms. Try to remember the robber’s exact words and try to observe any vehicle the robber uses to get away.
- Keep everyone away from the surfaces or objects the robber may have touched.
- Cooperate fully with the law enforcement and prosecutors. Your help is crucial, so stick with the case.
Daniel E. Lungren
Crime and Violence Prevention Center
California Attorney General’s Office