Look out for Paladin's Security Tips series every Tuesday.
Unfortunately, armed robberies are occurring with alarming frequency in urban centres across the country. Fortunately, most of these do not result in injury to the victims, but this is more often due to good luck than good planning.
It is imperative that anyone in a cash / retail business realize that they are at risk to armed robbery and, having recognized this, prepare a plan for themselves and their employees to ensure they are prepared for any eventuality.
The first rule for surviving an armed robbery is to do what the robber says and co-operate fully with the suspect – they are likely already in an agitated or enraged state, and it is paramount to your safety that an already dangerous situation does not escalate.
The best way to defend yourself is to be observant and to try to gather as much information as possible. It is often the little details that are the greatest help to law enforcement.
Note the racial origin, sex, age, height, weight, hair colour, eye colour, and any other defining characteristics that could be used to identify a suspect (i.e. tattoos, scars.) Observe the disguise used, if there is a weapon, do your best to identify it. If possible, obtain a direction of travel once the suspect leaves the business, and get a vehicle description as well as licence plate number if you can. Above all, remain calm and co-operate.
Most importantly, be aware of the people who come into your business and beware of the individual who spends a lot of time “just looking.” They may have familiarized themselves with the position of surveillance cameras, cash tills and exits, so use your intuition!
It’s alright to be suspicious of people who don’t look right. Chances are they probably aren’t.