When you own a retail store, a robbery is as bad as it gets. While any type of theft is unpleasant to deal with, robberies can be traumatic for any employees and customers involved because of how dangerous these situations are. With the right preparation, you can make your store a less likely target and have employees who know what to do if a robbery takes place.
Taking Precautions to Prevent a Robbery
The best way to deal with a robbery is to stop it before it starts. Robbers look for the stores presenting the lowest risk and the highest reward, which means robbery prevention is all about making your store an uninviting target without negatively affecting the customer experience.
Aim for a store layout that maximizes visibility, especially from the outside to your checkout counters. Install security cameras and make sure they’re either visible or that you have signs mentioning them. Consider hiring security guards to greet people, patrol your store, and watch for suspicious activity. All these precautions create complications that can deter a robber who wants to get in and out without being recognized.
Since robbers want big scores, don’t keep too much money in your cash registers and put up signs explaining as much. Empty cash registers frequently, but not on a set schedule. Store cash in a time lock safe so that it’s impossible to get the money out until time is up.
Training Employees on What Do During a Robbery
With all the stress a robbery causes, a robbery action plan needs to be as simple as possible for your employees to remember it. The only goal during a robbery is safety. Make sure your employees know that they should do exactly what the robber says and mention any potential surprises. For example, if there’s another employee in the storeroom who may pop out, the robber should know this so he doesn’t get caught off guard and do anything violent.
It’s important for employees to try to stay calm and comply with the robber’s orders just like they were handling a transaction for a customer. Robberies usually last less than two minutes, and a robber is less likely to get agitated or nervous when he’s done quickly. While it’s helpful if employees can remember anything about the robber’s appearance, their focus should be on following orders and getting it over with.
How to Handle the Aftermath
Once your employees are sure a robber is gone, they should call 911 to report the crime and begin writing down everything they remember about what happened. As the store is now a crime scene and contains evidence, employees should lock it down and wait for the police to arrive. Make sure they also know to call you as soon as they can to inform you of what happened.
It’s a good idea to periodically check up on any employees who were involved following the robbery. Let them know they can take some time off if they need it. It’s not an easy situation to experience, and they may recover more quickly by spending time relaxing.
Simple precautions can dramatically reduce the odds of a robbery at your store. Just in case, train your employees so that they know what to do in that kind of situation. Remember that as long as a robbery ends with no one hurt, that’s all that matters.