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Armed Robbery

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What to do during an armed robbery?
What to do after an armed robbery?
Is your money safe?

Armed robbery includes:
  • armed robbery, commonly called hold-up;
  • theft with violence, threats or use of a weapon.

In this section, we will use armed robbery as an example. Few people know that it lasts, on average, less than two minutes! We will first deal with prevention and the behaviour to adopt if you are victim of an armed robbery. In the second part, you will find suggestions on how to protect your money.


Before committing his crime, the thief will visit your establishment. Will you have discouraged him? Follow this simple advice and train your staff accordingly.

Keep your establishment in order and ask your employees to store their personal effects in a safe location.

Watch your customers. Greet them on entry and on exit. Without insisting too much, offer to help them while they look at the merchandise.

Be wary of suspicious individuals. Develop your sense of observation to spot any suspicious behaviour. Contact the police if aggressive or threatening individuals refuse to leave the store upon your request.

Keep emergency telephone numbers close at hand.

Install an emergency call button (panic button). Ensure that all your employees know how to use it.

Have more than one employee on duty evenings and nights, if possible. If an employee must work alone at night, ensure his safety by means of a glass enclosure or a door which he can control, unlocking only when a customer appears.

What to do during an armed robbery?

Remain calm and obey the robber. Do only what he demands. Breathe deeply. Control your fear. Concentrate on what must be done in order that the theft ends quickly and without mishap.

Raise your hands and don't move. If you must move, tell him what you are going to do. Ensure that he can always see your hands.

Don't have a discussion with him. Don't try to change his mind. Speak only if spoken to. Answer in a confident voice and with short sentences.

Keep him informed. Make sure there are no surprises. If there is someone else on the premises or if you are expecting someone, tell him.

Give him what he demands. Be honest about the amount of money which you can give him.

Observe him attentively and attempt to remember the following elements:

  • age
  • sex
  • race
  • height
  • weight
  • colour of eyes and hair
  • clothing
  • weapon (size, type, etc.)
  • other distinctive signs (scars, tattoos, accent) or specific odours (alcohol, tobacco)

Attempt to memorize what he touches. This will assist the police to lift fingerprints.

Do not give chase. Note the direction of his get away and a description of his vehicle, if applicable (license number, make and colour of vehicle). Next, activate the alarm system and call the police.

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What to do after an armed robbery?

Lock the entry door and other access points. Other than the police and your employer, do not allow any other person to enter.

Call the police immediately, even if the robber threatened you. Respond attentively to the questions of the operator on duty. Realize that during the conversation, police officers are already enroute towards your establishment.

Help the victims. If there are victims, give them assistance. Reassure them by informing them that help will soon be there.

Preserve evidence. Keep the crime scene intact. Avoid touching places where the robbers may have left fingerprints, footprints or other evidence.

Ask witnesses to remain on the premises. See to it that they do not touch anything. If they must leave, get their name, address and phone numbers.

Take notes. While awaiting the arrival of the police, write down the following: description of the thief, type of weapon, direction of flight, type of vehicle, objects touched, etc.

Follow the instructions of the police officers. Upon the arrival of the police, follow their instructions and their recommendations.

Do not divulge information about the theft. Remember that the amount of the theft and all other details are confidential; they are of concern only to the employer and the police.

Don't be afraid to testify. If you must go to court, you will not be obliged to reveal your address and phone numbers.


Armed robbery sometimes proves to be traumatizing. The following reactions may arise a few days, weeks or even months after the aggression:

  • suspicion of strangers, customers;
  • anxiety, feelings of insecurity;
  • feelings of guilt or frustration;
  • loss of self-confidence;
  • insomnia, loss of appetite, depression.

If one of these reactions presents itself, do not hesitate to consult a health-care professional or community resources in your area.

Remember that comprehension from co-workers and management also goes a long way to assist a victim to regain their health.

Did you know?

In Quebec, approximately 80% of armed robberies lead to imprisonment of 6 to 10 years.

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Is your money safe?

Are you really doing everything necessary to protect your money? Here is an easy method to prove it. Check the box if you are already following the tip. Those boxes remaining empty will indicate how to keep a better eye on your money!

The cash register

  • Close the cash drawer once a transaction is completed.
  • Keep only sufficient cash in the register to adequately handle transactions.
  • Place stickers in plain view, indicating that only small amounts of money are kept in the register.
  • See that there are at least two employees during opening or closing or when you are transferring money in the premises.
  • Count the cash in a secure location, ideally after closing, when the doors are locked.
  • Encourage payment by debit or credit card in order to handle less cash.
  • Inform customers that you only open the cash register for transactions and that you do not give change.
  • Install a small safe under the cash register to transfer large bills, out of sight by customers.
  • Place a larger safe in a well-lit location elsewhere, shielded from public view, to deposit large sums, expensive products, card readers, etc. Anchor it to the floor to prevent thieves from removing it.
  • Affix stickers on the safes, indicating that employees are unable to open them.
  • Change the combinations of the safes regularly.


  • Have someone accompany you to the bank for deposits.
  • Conceal your deposit bag.
  • Vary your time and your route.
  • Avoid being picked out by clothing or uniform identifying your company.
  • Make regular deposits. Do not keep cash in your establishment.
  • If possible, avoid having the same individual make the deposits.
  • Drive to the bank rather than on foot.
  • If necessary, do not hesitate to use a firm which specializes in transporting cash.

Some additional tips on prevention …

Develop a network of prevention with the merchants of your area. Keep an eye open for any suspicious activity. Establish codes in case of danger, to indicate to other network members that you are in difficulty.

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