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Robbery prevention

Updated December 23, 2009

Robbery is a crime "against the person" and a frightening experience. It can result in injury or even death to the victim. To protect your business from robbery, it is important to remember to take preventive measures and make it obvious that those measures have been taken.

Methods for discouraging robbery

  • Lock unused doors.
  • Avoid working alone. If you must, turn on a hidden radio or TV so robbers will think there is someone with you.
  • Vary the schedule and route for your bank deposits each day, only keeping necessary cash in the drawer. Then, if you are robbed, you’ll reduce your losses.
  • Make sure your cash register is clearly visible to passers-by. Arrange the counter so that the customer—or robber—is visible from the street.
  • Avoid placing signs or displays near windows which block visibility from the street.
  • Record the serial number of the bottom bill in each bin of the cash drawer, and instruct employees not to use these bills in making change.
  • Keep "bait" money in a spare compartment of cash registers. The bait packet should be separated by face value as other bills. Keep a list of the serial and series year numbers to give to law enforcement officials if you are robbed.
  • If your business runs an exceptionally high risk of robbery, you may want to invest in a bulletproof cashier screen. A screen diminishes the robber’s threat, but other prevention measures may be equally effective at a lower cost.
  • Display signs at entrances and exits indicating that safes require secondary keys not in possession of employees.
  • Advertise your security alarm system with signs in visible locations.
  • Develop a mutual aid system among stores on your block. Agree to keep an eye on each other’s buildings and watch for any suspicious activities. Install "buddy buzzer" alarms so you can signal your neighbor to call the police if you are being robbed.
  • Place colored tape markers at exits, at heights of 5-feet, 6-inches and 6-feet. Then, if you are robbed, you can get an accurate estimate of the suspect’s height as he leaves.
  • A robbery may be over in less than a minute. You need a quick eye to get a good look at the robber. That’s why some stores place hidden cameras behind cash registers.

What to do if a robbery occurs

  • If s omeone points a gun at you and demands your money, give it to him. Never refuse a robber!
  • If you have a silent alarm and can reach it unnoticed, use it. Otherwise, wait until the robber leaves. (Use your alarm with care. Excessive false alarms can cause problems for law enforcement and you.)
  • If possible, signal other employees. Have a prearranged signal for such emergencies. Again, if the robber will see you, wait. Try to avoid sudden moves. Many robbers are just as nervous as you are.
  • The most important thing to do if you’re robbed: OBSERVE. The description of the suspect you give to police may be the only information they have to go on.

Steps to take after a robbery

  • Call the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center at (562) 860-0044 immediately—don’t waste a minute.
  • Write down everything you can remember about the robber and the crime itself: his appearance—height, weight, color of hair and eyes, scars, tattoos, accent, anything unusual—and as much as possible about his clothing, weapon and mannerisms.
  • Try to remember the robber’s exact words and try to observe any vehicle the robber uses to get away.
  • Keep everyone away from surfaces the robber may have touched.
  • Cooperate fully with law enforcement representatives and prosecutors. Your help is crucial, so stick with the case.

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