So you’ve managed to grow your business with consistent revenue, a good name in the community, and a trustworthy, friendly staff. All of this is helping to bring more customers in the door, and everything is going great. But then one day, some deadbeat looking for a fast track to cash decides they are going to rob your business, putting not just yourself, but potentially your employees and customers in harm’s way.
Your Location Being A Potential Target
A recent report from the FBI shows that retail stores such as convenience stores and gas stations are common targets for robberies. While most companies have some sort of robbery response plan in place, there are always additional best practices that could be installed for further prevention and protection.
With most armed robberies, the robbers commit the crimes because the risk/reward analysis they’ve completed shows that there’s a strong chance they can get in and get out with the cash or objects with minimal struggle. So if you as a business owner stack the deck upfront with various systems, procedures, and other protocols, this will help increase the risk and reduce the probability of easy reward for would-be thieves of your established business. Here are some good practices to follow if your small business is robbed.
Keep Up On Local Crime Stats
You should always have current data on crime within your neighborhood. You can discuss the stats with your local police officials and conduct various forms of research yourself, such as using Best Places. With Best Places, you can break down crime stats to a local neighborhood, examining property crime, violent crime, and other types of crime within a particular zip code. Knowing about the propensity of crime surrounding the location of your business is important because it keeps you aware of potential perpetrators along with the need to safeguard your business and employees.
Setup Various Security Protocols
Surveillance cameras (open and hidden), alarm systems, deadbolt locks, proper lighting, and other similar security systems along with various signs stating that said systems are in place are basic protocols to help keep your location secure. There are a variety of security solutions available on the market to fit your budget requirements.
In addition, it might be recommended to have any alarm systems setup to notify local police first, before notifying the owners of the shop, should an active robbery occur.
Do Not Keep Cash Sitting In The Store (Use Armored Carriers)
Leaving too much cash on hand in your stores is dangerous, especially if you are operating within a higher crime area.
As a result, if you are very cash intensive, you could look at employing the services of an armored carrier to come pick up your cash along with drop off change fund orders (so your employees aren’t carrying money to and from the bank). The armored carrier can also deploy a smart-safe technology for your location, which allows your employees to make daily deposits, have those deposits insured by the armored carrier against robberies, and your local bank will can daily credit deposits that correlate with amounts fed into the smart-safe the prior business day, based on your bank’s relationship with the armored carrier. In addition, the armored carrier can provide a variety of stickers to put on your windows showing that the location is secured by said carrier, which can help deter robbers due to the lower probability of a lot of cash being accessible for theft.
Hire Security Personnel
One of the best ways to deter a potential perpetrator is to have live security personnel on site. Having quality security personnel on site is an excellent way to avoid your business from being the next victim of a robbery. However, this option can be a very expensive one and a full-fledged cost analysis would need to be completed before investing in the additional labor.
Employee Robbery Response
If the above preventive procedures don’t deter a robber and it still takes place, the following best practices are what every employee should follow to handle the situation during and after the incident:
During the Robbery
- Try to pull the alarm
- Always remain calm and follow the robber’s commands
- Don’t attempt to fight the robber or be a “hero”
- Do not make any sudden movements
- Take note of the actual weapon used and assume all guns are loaded
- Try to get a good look at the robber to remember important details about their height, weight, skin color, clothing, speech patterns, if they have an accent, tattoo, if they had a limp, if they had a particular “smell”, etc.
After the Robbery
- Immediately call the police and then call store management or ownership
- Try to get a good look at the getaway car and/or the direction the robber ran or drive off.
- Keep customers away from the store, try to avoid touching areas where the robbery took place, and lock the doors until the police arrive
The Final Word
There are a number of reasons why individuals turn to the “profession” of robbery. Sometimes it’s a bad economy, a lost job, a sick child, a divorce, a bad upbringing, mental illness, or just flat out greed that provides the motivation. Nevertheless, you should always deploy practices that keep your employees, customers, managers, and yourself safe from a potential robbery and especially during the actual instance of a robbery. My hope is that the tips provided in this article offer a great start to your own customized robbery prevention and response mechanisms. Stay safe!
This article was originally written on October 17, 2018 and updated on January 27, 2021.