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Insight: Tis The Season - To Be On Your Guard

By Sgt Natalie Ranger

ARMED robbery is one of the most serious and potentially dangerous crimes committed today. Robbery usually occurs quickly and can be very violent. Plan ahead and reduce the dangers and the potential losses.

Here are some tips On How to Protect Yourself from armed robbery.

At home

  1. Never admit a stranger.

  2. Always lock all doors and windows.

  3. Listen for strange noises.

  4. Do not advertise that you live alone.

  5. Never give an unknown caller information. Report nuisance calls to police.

  6. When you move to a new home, change the locks.

  7. Chain locks are not strong enough to keep out an intruder. Keep doors locked until you know who is there.

  8. Always pull shades after dark.

  9. Do not leave notes on door about when you will be home.

Precautions to take on the road

  1. While driving, watch out at intersections and stop lights. Keep car in gear, doors locked and windows rolled up.

  2. Park in areas that will be well lit when you return. When you return, look to be sure no one is hiding in a car nearby, beneath or in your car.

  3. If you have a stalled car, stay inside the car with doors locked and windows rolled up. If you have a cellular phone call for help.

  4. If you are being followed, do not drive home or get out. Drive to the nearest police station or an open store or service station for help. Note the licence number and car description and report to the police at once.

If you are held up at work:

  1. Try to stay calm. Do not make any sudden movements to upset the robber. Remember, the robber is usually as scared as you are.

  2. Be sure to follow the robber’s directions. Do not try to escape or set off an alarm in front of the robber.

  3. Tell the robber what you are doing, for example, getting a money bag.

  4. Try to get a good look at the robber so that you can give a full description to the police.

  5. Do not be heroic. Do not take any unwise chances. The robber may become violent. It is better to lose your money than your life.

Tips to prevent business armed robbery.

The following measures should be followed by all businesses to enhance the safety of employees, customers, members of the public and law enforcement:

  1. Light all entrances. Maintain good exterior lighting. Keep windows clear of signs that block the view from the street.

  2. Do not open to strangers before or after regular business hours.

  3. Lock rear and side doors during evening hours.

  4. Use signs to indicate you have an alarm system.

  5. Instruct all employees on the use of an alarm system.

  6. Devise a system whereby employees can alert each other of a robbery in progress.

  7. Do not allow people to linger in your business.

  8. Have several employees present when opening and closing the business. Inspect the business for forcible entry before entering the premises.

  9. At closing, make sure no one is hiding inside.

  10. All employees should follow good cash handling practices i.e. minimum cash on hand, use a safe and take precautions when making bank deposits.

  11. Try not to open the cash safe too often.

  12. Always keep money out of reach of customers.

  13. Mark the edge of the doorway at varying heights to identify the height of a robber.

  14. Storage rooms should have a lock that can be opened from the inside.

  15. Use surveillance camera equipment, convex mirrors and place cash registers in an area clearly visible from the outside.

  16. Report all suspicious activity to the police.

  17. Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers.

  18. Trim all shrubbery and trees that a criminal could use to hide.

  19. Greet all customers and ask for identification as needed.

  20. An effort should be made to always have two employees on duty.

  21. Be aware of the alarm verification and robbery procedures with police.

  22. Do not activate the alarm unless it can be done safely.

If an armed robbery does take place, stay calm and do the following:

  1. Cooperate with the robber.

  2. Avoid surprises.

  3. Try to give them the marked money in your register.

  4. Be observant.

  5. Call the police immediately after the incident.

  6. Preserve the evidence.

In the aftermath of a robbery

When the robber leaves, staff should not attempt to follow after them. Instead, they should immediately lock all the doors and call the police. Even if you have already activated an alarm, you should still call the police.

Have everyone move to the back of the building and wait for the police to arrive making sure to leave everything just as it is. Do not try to clean up or touch anything the robber has touched. You may smudge a fingerprint.

While you wait for the police, take time to document what just occurred, including the time the robbery took place, what was stolen and a description of the robber. Write down everything you can think of while it is still fresh in your mind, including the robber’s speech and mannerisms.

If there are any witnesses, ask them to write down their account of the robbery, including suspect information. Do not compare notes. People observe things in different ways, so what you might notice, another person may not and vice versa. Comparing notes could cause memories to be skewed.

Ask witnesses to stay until an officer arrives. If unable to do so, write down their names, addresses, and phone numbers.

 These robbery prevention tips, in addition to partnering with a local, expert alarm company, is a powerful strategy for protecting your business from robberies.

Please visit the Royal Bahamas Police Force Website at www.royalbahamaspolice.org or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rbpforce for Latest News, Daily Crime Reports and additional Crime Prevention Tips

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