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A robbery can be a frightening experience with serious consequences. To protect yourself and your business, take preventive measures and make it obvious that those measures have been taken.


Ways to Discourage Robbery

  • Lock unused doors.
  • Avoid working alone. If you must, turn on a hidden radio or TV so robbers will think there's someone with you.
  • Vary the schedule and route for your bank deposits so a robber never knows when or where to expect you. Make several deposits each day so that you only keep necessary cash in the cash drawer.
  • Make sure your cash register is clearly visible to passers-by.  Arrange the counter so that any person near it is visible from the street.
  • Avoid placing signs or displays near windows which may block visibility from the street.
  • 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.
  • 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 and series year numbers to give to law enforcement officials if you're robbed.
  • If your business runs an exceptionally high risk of robbery, you may want to invest in a bulletproof cashier screen. A screen "defuses" the robber's 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 police if you're being robbed.
  • Place multi-colored height markers at exits. If you are robbed, you can get an accurate estimate of the suspect's height as they leave.
  • A robbery may be over in less than a minute. You need a quick eye to get a good look at the robber and your memory might be faulty under duress or post-incident shock. That's why stores in some cities are placing hidden cameras behind cash registers.

If a Robbery Happens

  • If someone points a gun or weapon at you and demands your money, always give it to them. Never put your personal safety at risk by refusing an armed 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 until it is safe. 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 police immediately and share all the details you observed.
  • Write down everything you can remember about the robber and the crime itself:
    • physical details about the robber's appearance such as height, weight, skin color, color of hair and eyes, scars, tattoos, clothing, shoes
    • other observable details such as accent, weapon(s), or mannerisms
    • the robber's exact words
    • details about any vehicle the robber uses to get away
  • Keep everyone away from surfaces the robber may have touched.
  • Cooperate fully with law enforcement and prosecutors. Your help is crucial, so stick with the case.