Provided by the Anne Arundel County Guardian Shield
• Robbers want one thing – your money or property – and they want it quickly.
• Robbery is a risky business and robbers are usually nervous. You do not want to delay a robbery in any way and increase the potential for violence. Give the robber what he or she wants and do it quickly. Do not risk your life, or another person’s life, for property.
• Robberies occur at predictable times. Opening and closing periods are particularly vulnerable times due to low staffing and large amounts of cash on hand. Lunch hours are primary times for the same reasons. Robberies increase during the holiday season due to the increased cash volume and the presence of large crowds that distract and preoccupy store and company personnel.
• Report suspicious activity. If you observe an individual, or occupied vehicle, lingering around your business for a time, or in a manner that makes you suspicious or uncomfortable, write down the license number, color of the car and description of the individual(s) and call the police. Be sure to inform other employees of your suspicion.
• Good visibility allows employees to be aware of suspicious activities outside the store. It also increases the chance passerbys will observe robberies taking place inside the store.
• Keep doors and windows clear. Post any necessary signs to the side, top or bottom of the display windows to allow maximum visibility into and out of the store. This will help customers see your merchandise too.
• Locate the cash register in a central place. Keep it in clear view of the door, with the customer’s back to the entrance. The register should be visible from the outside.
• Keep counter displays low. This allows employees to see over the top. You can also rearrange displays to allow surveillance up and down both sides of each aisle.
• Place wide-angle mirrors in strategic locations. This will assist with visibility in blind areas of the store. • Make sure interior lighting provide good visibility in the store at all times. Outdoor lighting should be even and directed toward the sides of the building, not outward where glare can create hiding places for robbers.
• Do not keep unnecessary amounts of money in the till. Keep only the amount you will need to conduct normal business, and transfer the rest to the bank or a safe. Provide an anchored drop-vault for employees and do not provide them with the key to the safe. Post the fact that you use a drop-vault and, therefore, cannot make change for large denominations.
• Drop all checks and food stamps. Allow customers to see you do this and explain why. Ask customers for exact change or the smallest bills possible. • During the evening, take even greater precautions. Check to see that outside lights are on and working. In money order sales, collect money and make your drop before printing the money order. Open unused register drawers and tip them for display.
• Make trips to the bank often, varying travel times and routes to reduce predictability. Carry money in a disguised container and have someone accompany you when possible. Do not transport money at the same time every day and do not use the same route every time. If you are making a night deposit, do not approach the deposit unless it is clear of other people. For high risk areas, or when transferring considerable amounts of cash, consider employing an armored car service.
• List some serial numbers from larger bills before going to the bank. Be aware of any suspicious persons lingering near the store. Call 9-1-1 if necessary.
• Drive or walk directly to an open business, police precinct or fire station, if you feel you are being followed while transporting money.
• Prepare marked money. Record non-consecutive serial numbers and series dates of five and ten-dollar bills. Do not use these bills in normal transactions; rather place the money in a till to be included in the money given to the robber. Keep the record of the marked bills in a secure location other than the till or the safe.
• Post store policy that no more than some pre-determined amount (often $25 to $50) is kept in the register at one time and that the store will accept no larger than $20 denominations. When the clerk receives the $20 bill it should be dropped immediately. Never place large bills in the drawer under the tray. Robbers know this practice.
• Greet each customer. Establish eye contact and remember their general appearance. Good customer service discourages hesitant robbers as well as other thieves. This attention to detail conveys control and puts people on notice they have been observed and can be identified later.
• Place height markings along the vertical frame at the entrance. This allows employees the ability to tell how tall the robber is at a glance so employees can tell at a chance how tall the robber is.
• Consider installing a quality video camera and recorder kept high on the wall but visible. Don’t use fake cameras. Robbers know the difference. Have several cameras connected to the system, some visible, some not. Only the managers should have access to the tape.
We highly recommend that when closing you have two employees present. One employee should leave the store and go directly to their vehicle while the other remains in the locked store. Once the first employee has been able to survey the area for any suspicious activity and signal an all safe, the second employee should leave and go directly to their vehicle. Both employees then depart the area.