By SERGEANT NATHALIE RANGER
By observing basic precautionary measures, chances of becoming a robbery victim are greatly reduced. Here are some general rules to follow:
• Travel in well-lit streets.
• Avoid dark corners, alleys and entrances to buildings.
• Always try to walk on the side of the street facing oncoming traffic.
• If you must travel at night regularly, do not carry more than you can afford to lose.
• If possible, walk with a companion, either male or female. An armed robber is less likely to confront two or more, than a lone individual.
• When waiting for a bus, try to select a well-lit area. Aim for a busy stop where many people will be coming and going.
• Do not hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.
• Avoid taking shortcuts through deserted areas such as parks, playgrounds, vacant lots, etc.
• Be cautious entering your car as someone may be hiding inside. Or, when leaving your car, someone may be waiting. Park in well-lit areas.
• Never carry weapons that can be used against you.
• If someone asks directions, keep it polite but maintain a safe distance.
• If you are alone and think you are being followed, head for an occupied building such as a bar, restaurant, gas station, fire station, etc. If none is available, cross the street in the middle of the block. If there is street vehicular traffic, try to stop a car for help.
If you are confronted do not resist. Cooperate. Give the criminal whatever he asks for: wallet, keys, jewellery, credit cards etc. Your life is more valuable than replaceable possessions.
• Do not make any sudden, unexpected moves. A nervous criminal may think you are reaching for a concealed weapon.
• If the suspect claims he has a gun, knife, razor or anything that can harm you in his pocket, never try to force his bluff.
• Never try to be a hero and apprehend the criminal yourself.
• Notify police as soon as possible.
• If you arrive at your home or business and feel that it has been burglarised, DO NOT ENTER, but go to another location and call the police. Let the police search the property to make sure that no suspect is still present. Upon entering your home or business, do not touch things unnecessarily as you may disturb or destroy fingerprint and other evidence. Inform the police of anything that have been moved from its original position so that it can be checked for prints. Notify the police if you find anything that is not yours that may have been left behind by the burglar such as tools, clothing, etc. Be prepared to provide the police with serial numbers and a complete description of all missing property. Tell the police if you have engraved any of the items with your driver’s license or other personalised number.
• You have heard it before and now here it is again: Never resist if you are the victim of a robbery. Do exactly as you are told to do in order to minimise your chances of being injured and to speed the departure of your assailant before he gets other ideas.
The assailant, in most cases, does not want to hang around much longer than you want him to. Your money and other valuables can hopefully be replaced. If they cannot be replaced do not let that thought cause you to hesitate. YOU certainly cannot be replaced.
Try to obtain a good description of the suspect(s) and the direction and mode (on foot, vehicle) of escape. It is always a good idea to have a second bill fold with a few dollars and a few important looking cards in it to give to an attacker should the need arise. Keep your real cash and cards in an interior pocket not easily accessible by the robber. However, do not resist any attempt the attacker may make to search your pockets or belongings.