The Louisville Metro Police Department Robbery Unit investigates business robberies in which the perpetrator is armed or indicates that he is armed. Many of these tips are for businesses and employees of those businesses, but can easily relate to individuals as well. The LMPD is committed to not only solving crimes that have already been committed, but to preventing those that have not. These tips are meant to help make you and/or your business less attractive to robbers, and also tells you what to do in the event you become a victim of a robbery.
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ROBBERY REDUCTION TIPS FOR BUSINESSES
- Always keep your store clean and neat. This should include office areas and stockrooms.
- Keep parking lots and rear entrances well lighted.
- Install peepholes or small windows in doors.
- Always keep all doors other than the main entrance locked.
- Periodically test video surveillance equipment to verify it is in proper working order.
- Install height markers on main entrance doorways.
- Keep register areas uncluttered and free of displays. Place them in an area that is visible from the street so that police and passersby can see inside.
- Remove unnecessary posters and displays from the windows.
- Install wide register counters and limit access by a high door to register area. This helps to prevent robbers from attempting to grab money from registers and keeps them from coming behind the counter.
- Mount a video surveillance camera that records the front door. This helps in identifying robbers as they enter the store.
- If at all possible, always have two employees working at all times.
- Train each employee on the use of the store's security system. Show them how to use the holdup alarm and instruct them on what to do if they become a victim of a robbery.
- Post phone numbers for store and district managers in the office area by the time clock so that employees can reach them in the event of a robbery.
- Train all managers on the use of the video surveillance equipment. If using a VHS system, verify that the tapes are changed daily and keep them for at least one week. Tapes can be re-used, but should be replaced every three months. Old tapes usually do not provide identifiable photos of robbers. If utilizing a digital video system, keep blank CD's in the store for the recording of robberies. Train all managers how to retrieve images and how to burn copies of the video onto discs.
- Remember that camera placement is as important as the cameras themselves. Place cameras at such an angle that they record the robber's face and body. A good shot of the front door is one of the best camera angles, as every potential robber must use it in order to enter and leave the store. A good close-up of a register has never helped solved a robbery.
- Limit the amount of money that employees keep in the register. Install safes for employees to drop money into.
- When counting money in the morning, do so from a secure office. Verify the identity of anyone trying to enter before unlocking the office door.
- Develop partnerships with area police officers and commanders, and encourage employees to develop friendships with them as well. Encourage police to stop in store and ask employees to be cooperative in all police investigations. Many robbers case a business before committing the robbery, and a marked police cruiser riding through the parking lot is many times enough to discourage them.
ROBBERY REDUCTION TIPS FOR EMPLOYEES:
- Keep alert at all times. Watch for suspicious people milling around store or occupied vehicles on the lot. Be aware of people who are wearing clothing that does not match the weather i.e. coats in the summer.
- If a suspicious person does not leave after a few minutes, call the police.
- Greet each customer and look them in the eye. Remember that customers like attention and robbers do not.
- Keep current on your store's policies and procedures. Make cash drops on time and know how to operate the holdup alarm system.
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially when opening and closing the business. If possible, never leave by yourself. Verify that rear doors are locked and secured and carefully scan the parking lot for anyone who may be hiding before using them.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BEING ROBBED:
- Remember: robbers seldom hurt people who cooperate with them.
- Stay calm and obey the robber's orders.
- Do not escalate a situation by attempting to fight with the robber or use a weapon against him.
- If someone is in a back room or is expected shortly, tell the robber.
- If you must reach for something or move in any way, tell the robber first.
- Try to look at the robber in his face. Remember facial features and clothing that the robber is wearing. Look for any identifying jewelry or marks (such as scars, tattoos, etc.) Try to remember what the robber says to you. Pay attention to if the robber is wearing gloves.
- Activate the holdup alarm as soon as it is safe to do so.
- As the robber is leaving, look at height markers by the door to estimate the robbers height.
- Do not chase or follow the robber. Immediately lock the front doors after a robbery and watch the robber's escape route from inside the store for as long as possible.
- Call the police immediately before calling anyone else. After notifying police, write down all identifying information you can remember about the robber and what he said to you during the robbery. If possible, give this information to the police dispatcher when you call.
- Do not touch any areas that the robber may have touched, including the front door except to lock it.
- Discontinue business until police have arrived.
- Ask any witnesses to remain at the scene until police can interview them, but do not discuss the robbery with other until you have been questioned by the police.