Mitigate the Risk of an Armed Robbery


RISK MITIGATION IS DEFINED as taking steps to reduce adverse effects. One of the many ways you should practice risk mitigation is to have opening and closing procedures for your store.

Criminals know that employees may be more vulnerable when opening or closing a store. The employees may be focused on other tasks or just tired. Often, they are not alert to or aware of their surroundings and are not able to activate the security alarm system. They may have their hands full, carrying paperwork, a laptop computer, supplies, or other items.

Criminals also believe that employees carry extra cash to open the store or for a night deposit.


All employees should review loss prevention procedures and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves when opening or closing the store.

When opening your store, employees should circle the building in their vehicle upon arrival to check and see if anyone is watching. Also, check the exterior of the building to see if it was broken into overnight. Robbers have been known to break the back or side walls of building but not enter the building. The robber then waits in the hole until the alarm system is turned off and enters the building from the hole.

After checking the outside of the building, the employee should unlock the front door, enter, and lock it from inside before turning off the alarm system. The second opening employee (where applicable) should wait safely in their car and watch as the first employee enters the building.

Once the first employee has dis-armed the alarm system, he or she can return to the front door and signal for the waiting employee to come inside. Once inside the store and before opening the safe, the employees should put on their remote panic buttons (where applicable) and walk through the building to ensure there was no overnight entry.

Upon closing the store, a similar procedure should be followed. Employee one should wait in the store while the other closing employee (where applicable) goes to his or her vehicle. Once employee two is safely inside his or her car, employee one can activate the alarm system and exit the building.

In addition to the above procedures, every employee should know the alarm duress code. This is NOT the same code associated with turning on or off the alarm system. The alarm duress code is a series of numbers keyed into the alarm panel that will silently alert the alarm company that you need help.

This code allows an employee to signal the alarm company without alerting the robber. Most duress codes can be obtained by calling your alarm company.

Remember, you can mitigate the risk of a robbery during store openings or closings by being aware of your surroundings and following basic loss prevention procedures. Use good judgment every day, and be aware of suspicious cars or people in and around your store. Do not hesitate to call police about any suspicious situation. Be alert and be safe.

Written by Tony Gallo

Senior Director, Sapphire Protection

Tony Gallo has over

30 years experience in the loss prevention, audit, safety, and risk/emergency management fields.  Contact Tony at and follow him on Twitter at @SapphireProtect.


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