Preventing robbery

Robbery is a crime “against the person” and a frightening experience. It can result in injury or even death to the victim.
A store being robbed

In protecting your business from robbery, it is important to remember to take preventative measures and make it obvious that those measures have been taken.

How to discourage robbery:

  • 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. Keep only 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.
  • If your business runs an exceptionally high risk of robbery, you may want to invest in a bullet- proof cashier screen. A screen “defuses” the robber’s threat, but other prevention measures may be equally effective at lower cost.
  • Display signs at entrances and exits indicating that safes require secondary keys not in the possession of employees.
  • Advertise your security alarm system with signs in visible locations. Make sure your employees know how to operate a panic button if one is included in your alarm system.
  • 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 law enforcement if you are being robbed.

More tips:

  • 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.
  • Place colored tape markers at exits, at heights of 5 feet and 6 feet. If you are robbed, you can then get an accurate estimate of the suspect’s height as he or she leaves.
  • 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 numbers to give to law enforcement officials if you are robbed.

If a robbery happens:

Someone points a gun at you and demands your money. What do you do? 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 for 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 law enforcement may be the only information they have to go on.

After a robbery:

  1. Call 9-1-1.
  2. Write down everything you can remember about the robber and the crime itself: the robber’s appearance (height, weight, color of hair and eyes, scars, tattoos, accent, anything unusual) and as much as possible about his clothing, weapons and mannerisms. Try to remember the robber’s exact words and try to observe any vehicle the robber uses to get away and the direction of travel.
  3. Keep everyone away from the surfaces or objects the robber may have touched.
  4. Cooperate fully with the law enforcement and prosecutors. Your help is crucial.

For more information about crime prevention, contact our District Offices staff:

 Sergeant Julian Cosgriff
Sergeant Julian Cosgriff
South District Office
677 W. Tennyson Road
Hayward, CA 94544
(510) 293-7096