Criminals target business premises such as a financial institutions, pharmacies or variety stores, when they believe the profit outweighs their risk of apprehension. By decreasing the possible profit and increasing the risk of apprehension, potential victims can greatly reduce their chance of becoming a target of a robbery.

Personal safety is always the most important consideration when planning on how to prevent or react to a robbery. It is also important that all business employees be trained in robbery prevention techniques, and what to do, should a robbery occur in their establishment.

In a business environment it is important to ensure that employees have specific tasks assigned to them, should a robbery occur. It should be decided in advance:

  • which employee will call 911,
  • who is to lock the doors,
  • who is to obtain suspect details, and so forth.

Do not assume these jobs will be done automatically.

Commercial RobberyGeneral Measures

  • Ensure that all alarms are in working order. Consider installing a hold-up alarm.
  • Use a video surveillance system and should be prominently displayed both inside and outside of the premises. Employers should ensure that cameras are checked regularly and are in good working order, capable of capturing quality, un-obscured images.
  • Keep the interior, front and rear entrances well illuminated.
  • Keep a marked quantity of “bait money” in the register. Record the denomination, serial number and the year of several tens or twenties on a piece of paper kept separate from the till. Try to include this in the money given to the robber.
  • Do not keep large amounts of money on hand.
  • Consider using a “drop safe” that can only be accessed by the owner/designate.
  • Vary the time of your bank trips.
  • Businesses should ensure that several employees are on hand when opening and closing the premises. Also, bank deposits should be made during daylight hours with at least two persons present.
  • Keep the register/customer service counter at the front of the store near a window that is not cluttered with signs or displays.

What To Do If You Are Robbed

You will be able to give police a better description. Most robbers do not harm their victims.

Co-operate with the robber but do not volunteer or do anything other than what they ask. They may be armed and may harm you or others if you do not co-operate, especially if under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Listen carefully to the robber and pay attention to their appearance and demeanor. What you see and hear can assist the police in obtaining a description from you.

Do this only if you can do so without letting the robber know what you are doing. (The bait money must be within reach of the till). Any overt movement to retrieve the bait money from a different location may alert the robber to your intentions.

Note the direction of travel when the robber leaves and try to obtain a vehicle description. While robbers may act alone they often operate in larger groups depending on the size of the store/business.

Call police immediately once the robber has left by dialing 9-1-1. Call the police BEFORE you call anyone else, such as the store manager/owner. The few minutes following a robbery are crucial in assisting police in the apprehension of these criminals.

Stay on the phone with the call-taker and do not hang up unless told to do so. Remain calm while on the phone and listen very carefully to the questions asked of you. The police call-taker will control the conversation with specific questions.

 Police may be able to get fingerprints or obtain other physical evidence from several different areas of the premises. Ask all witnesses to remain at the scene. Lock the doors and do not allow anyone in or out until police respond. Tell everyone to remain quite, and ensure witnesses do not discuss the event amongst themselves. It is imperative that witnesses be able to provide their own independent observations to police.

Further Tips

  • Employees should be trained to watch for suspicious persons both inside and outside the business premise. Call the Police if something or someone doesn't seem right.
  • Publicize the fact that the business uses cash protection techniques and good protection/surveillance equipment.
  • Train employees to be good witnesses by making mental notes of the robber's physical description including clothing, type of weapon seen or mentioned, demeanor, etc.
  • Always keep money out of the reach of customers

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Commercial Robbery Prevention (254 KB)