After an alert was issued this May by the U.S.-based Numismatic Crime Information Center (NCIC) showing images of the armed robbery at Fort Worth Coin Company in Texas, the NCIC released a basic armed robbery policy and procedure.
“The incident illustrates the risk of operating a brick-and-mortar business. It is imperative that shop owners have robbery policy and procedures in place to reduce the risk of violence against employees and customers,” wrote NCIC founder and President Doug Davis, who added the policy is only one part of an overall risk assessment of business operations that should be updated and reviewed with employees periodically.
To reduce the risk of armed robbery, employers should also review and evaluate other operational issues, including opening and closing procedures, cash control, physical security and device measures as well as identifying suspicious persons and activity.
“The Numismatic Crime Information Center is providing this information as a basic guide in developing policy and procedures in the event of a robbery. Any such policy or procedure should be reviewed on an annual basis as part of an overall business risk assessment and analysis,” wrote NCIC founder and President Doug Davis. “I hope the information provided will assist you in the development of an overall security plan for your business.”
ROBBERY POLICY, PROCEDURES
An armed robbery is a serious crime that could have a significant impact on the health, safety and welfare of employers, employees and customers, so it’s important for your business to have security and armed robbery procedures in place and for all staff to be familiar with them.
It is important to remember two things:
- Robbers want 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.
Develop a checklist for employee responsibilities after an incident. Identify who will call the police, who will secure evidence, who will lock the doors and who will advise employees not to share the experience with co-workers or customers so they can provide an independent account of the event.
- Be a good witness. Stay calm, alert, and aware of your surroundings. If possible, write down everything you remember. The more accurate the description, the more chance the police have to apprehend the criminal. Pay attention to the type and colour of clothing as well as unique characteristics such as scars, tattoos, birthmarks, and mannerisms. Note the direction of travel in which the robbers fled. If they flee in a vehicle, be aware of the type and colour and the license plate number if possible.
- Always consider the individual armed and dangerous as well as possibly being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Give the robber exactly what he or she wants. A robber will rarely hurt you unless you resist or provoke them.
- The object is to get the robber out of your place of business as soon as possible.
- Don’t fight or chase the robber. Nothing is worth your life.
- Always tell the robber about surprises. They may resort to violence should they be startled.
- Let the robber make the first move. Keep your hands in plain sight. Never make sudden or unexpected movements. Never argue or play games.
- If you can’t or don’t know how to comply with their command, give the robber a clear and convincing reason. Example: “I don’t have the combination to the safe.”
Money and material items can always be replaced—your health and safety cannot.
AFTER A ROBBERY
- As soon as the robber leaves, lock the doors immediately. Make sure you have an employee assigned to lock the doors, call 911, tell the call taker of the situation and any injuries. Do not go outside until asked by the operator to meet with the police.
- When you call 911, never hang up the phone until you are instructed to do so by the operator.
- Do not touch anything the robber may have touched.
Do not discuss what happened with any other witnesses until you have talked with authorities.