Special to the Register
Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock offers the following tips to merchants and their employees on how to handle a robbery threat:
• Keep your front doors and windows clear of signs and posters to allow good, two-way visibility. Employees can see suspicious persons outside. Passers-by and police can see inside.
• Make sure the building is well-lit on all sides, including the rear.
• Make sure your cash register area is clearly visible to outside observers.
• Make sure installed video systems are functioning properly and aimed in a fashion to best record the entrance/exit and cashier areas.
• Make sure exterior cameras are functioning properly, well-aimed, and can be monitored by employees on duty.
• Keep a minimal amount of cash in the register and advertise that you keep a minimal amount of cash there.
• Minimize the number of access points and use one entrance/exit door if possible.
• Always have at least two clerks working at night if possible.
• Be alert for suspicious activity and/or people who seem to be overly interested in how the business operates. Watch for suspicious people outside the business, especially in parked cars. Report suspicious activity to the police promptly.
• Follow the robber’s directions, but do not volunteer more than he asks for. Remain calm.
• If you have to move, tell the robber what you are doing and why. Don’t surprise the robber.
• Try to get a good look at the robber so that you can describe him later. Make mental notes of race, age, sex, height, weight, hair and eye color, build and clothing. Note anything unusual about the robber, such as scars, tattoos, strange mannerisms or speech patterns.
• Place markers at the main entrance that employees can use to help gauge the height of a robber as he leaves.
• Try to get a description of the vehicle ONLY if you can do so without putting yourself in harm’s way.
• Call 9-1-1 immediately and provide as much information as possible concerning the suspect. Do not touch anything the robber has touched.
• Write down everything you can think of while it is still fresh in your mind, including the robber’s speech and mannerisms.
• If there are any witnesses, ask them to remain until the police arrive. If they are unable to stay, get their name, address and phone number.