When you think about a robbery, what’s usually the first thing that comes to mind? Gun-wielding thieves and heart-stopping attacks that have the victim coming out victorious? While that’s usually the case on TV or in movies, it’s rarely what happens in real life.
According to Statista, there were 23, 296 reported robberies last year in Canada, the highest since 2012. While this number consists of both home and business robberies, it is still something retail employees and business owners should be ready for as the number continues to rise.
DURING A ROBBERY PREVENTION IS YOUR BEST DEFENCE
Prevention is a big part of what Paladin Security Training Manager Jason Magallanes teaches new recruits, but he doesn't limit it to just prevention, adding being proactive is also key.
"Think to yourself or your business, is there anything you do that causes any unwanted attention to being rob? Do you think about your safety or that of the businesses? Or more importantly, do you have plans on what you will do if it does happen?" Magallanes said.
Before we get into the steps, let’s first go over the difference between robbery and theft.
According to Section 343 of the Canadian Criminal Code, robbery is when someone steals from another person and uses violence or threats of violence. This can also include assault and being armed with an offensive weapon. Compare that to theft, which is considered anyone who fraudulently takes without the right for themselves or others.
So, what should you do if you are on the receiving end of robbery? We’ve compiled the top tips from Magallanes and Calgary Director of Operations, Shane MacDonald, who has over 27 years of experience in law enforcement, to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
1. STAY CALM
Staying calm is what will help you think clearly under pressure. Take a deep breath and recognize the situation you are in. This is also a good time to acknowledge the demands being made by the robber.
2. DON’T FIGHT BACK
This is especially the case if you are outnumbered or a weapon has been drawn. Despite everything you have ever seen on TV or in movies, now is not the time to be antagonizing the robber or trying to fight back. If the robber appears to have a weapon, consider it real, and ready to be used.
3. ESTABLISH YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Do as directed by the thief. If you are working at a store, place a bundle of cash on the counter and close the drawer. Once you’ve done this, move as far away from the thief as possible and alert your coworkers, if you’re able to do so safely. It's also a chance to check for an escape route.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS
This is a good time to concentrate on the suspect, noting their description, including age, height, weight, accent, words they use, clothing, marks, scars, and tattoos. It is information the police will need in order to potentially find them, along with the items the robber takes, so be mindful of that too.
5. WAIT FOR SUSPECT TO LEAVE
While you may be eager to call the police as soon as possible, do not do so until the robber has left. MacDonald also advises not to chase after them, an otherwise non-violent robber may become aggressive if they feel their ability to escape is being hindered.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A ROBBERY
Call police and security, if you haven’t already been able to alert them. You should also lock down the business’ premises, and don’t let any witnesses leave. MacDonald adds it's a good idea to protect the scene of the crime and save any notes passed by the robber.
"At the end of the day, you have to do what you need to do to be safe," says Magallanes. "Your life is always more important."
If you are interested in more tips on burglary prevention or money handling, click here. Find out how you can protect your business with mobile patrol or professional security officer services from Paladin Security.