What to do During an Armed Robbery


Proper employee training of the procedures to follow during a robbery is vital to surviving the confrontation. Conduct documented training and discussion periods so that every employee knows their part and has an opportunity to ask questions. A few minutes of brief review on a regular basis will help to insure the proper reaction in case of a robbery. The overriding consideration in dealing with a robbery is to reduce the possibility of injury.

  • Do not resist the robber. The money is not worth risking a life. Take no action that would jeopardize the safety of personnel or customers. Cooperate with the robber and do not try to become a hero. In most situations, robbers almost never hurt anyone who cooperates.
  • Do not use or encourage the use of weapons against the robber. Introducing another weapon into the situation increases the chances of someone becoming injured during the robbery. No amount of money is worth the risk of endangering a person’s life.
  • Try to inform the robber of any surprises. If someone is expected back soon or if you must reach or move in any way, tell the robber what to expect so they will not be startled. A suspicious move by an employee may trigger a violent reaction endangering the lives of many people.
  • Follow the robber’s commands, but do not volunteer to help. The longer the robbery takes, the more nervous the robber may become and more apt to become violent.
  • If the robber demands a specific amount of money, only give them the amount they demand.
  • Try to include “bait money” along with other cash. This “bait money” could be a bundle of currency with recorded serial numbers (record the denomination, serial number and year of several tens and twenties on a piece of paper kept separate from the register) or concealed dye packs. The silent alarm may be designed to activate by the removal of the bait money.
  • Try to keep customers and employees calm during the robbery.
  •  If the robber displays a firearm or claims to have one, consider it loaded and that they would use it.
  •  Activate the holdup alarm, if possible, only if it can be safely done without being obvious to the robber.
  • Try to alert other employees of the situation by using prearranged signals.
  •  Be observant. Plan to be a good witness. Try to notice as much as possible about the robber. Make mental notes of the following:

– The number of robbers.

– The robber’s physical characteristics, including: race, sex, age, height, weight, facial characteristics (head shape, color of hair, color of eyes, shape of eyes, nose and mouth, etc.) speech patterns (i.e., accents), scars, marks and/or deformities, right or left-handed.

–  The robber’s clothing description

– Any names used by the robbers

– Any peculiarities exhibited by the robber (i.e., smelled of alcohol, appeared to be “high” on drugs, etc.).

– Description of any weapons used. Try to notice barrel length, barrel color, color of grips, whether a pistol is automatic or a revolver.

  • If the robber uses a written note, try to place it out of sight to retain it as evidence.
  • After the robber has the money, offer to have employees and customers lie down instead of waiting for the robber to decide want to do, such as knocking you down or tying you up.

If you’re interested in training for you and your staff in the case of an armed robbery at your location, please call 214.845.6800 or email sales@rslc.net and ask about our free Armed Robbery Awareness Training Program, brought to you by the security experts at Rolland and Sapphire Protection.

Written by: Tony Gallo Senior Director, Sapphire  Protection

Tony Gallo is the Senior Director of Sapphire Protection with over 30 years in the loss prevention, audit, safety, and risk/emergency management fields. Contact Tony at tonyrgallo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @SapphireProtect.


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