This week I will be speaking at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in Denver. My seminar will be on “Preventing and Surviving an Armed Robbery.”
Almost every day we learn about a cannabis location being robbed. The cost to owners and insurance companies is substantial in financial losses, and that’s not even counting the loss to business revenues that may occur from adverse publicity. More alarming is the growing trend in violence during these robberies, which in some cases, has led to employees and customers being seriously injured and even killed. The Portland Oregonian just wrote an article last week on whether legal marijuana in Oregon will set off a surge in robberies – http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/06/will_robberies_surge_as_more_o.html
Unfortunately, robberies do happen regardless of the best prevention methods. Even more unfortunate is that most incidents are not solved by the police. Although your goal should always be to prevent these incidents from ever happening, following these three basic steps could help you better respond to an armed robbery.
Step One: Cooperate with the robber.
Remember, money and merchandise can be replaced — but you can’t. Most robberies take just a few minutes. Attempt to get the robber out of the store as quickly as possible. Cooperate with the robber’s demands but only do what is asked and no more. If the robber wants the money from the cash drawer, give it to them. However, if the robber doesn’t ask then there is no need to tell them about the safe under the counter. Cooperate, but be efficient in meeting the robber’s demands.
Step Two: Don’t be a hero.
Try to avoid confrontation with the robber. All the robber wants is the money or merchandise and to get away. Don’t look directly into his or her eyes and try to stand as far away from him or her as possible. If you want to be a hero, then try to remember everything about the robber so that the police will have some good leads to help catch them.
Step Three: Don’t panic.
There is an expression I have always used during an emergency that applies to dealing with a robber – “Never let them see you sweat.” During a robbery, you want to make sure there are no surprises for the robber. Don’t make any sudden moves and try an anticipate anything that might surprise the robber, like someone in the backroom or the noise the cash register will make when you open it. Make sure you mention these things to the robber.
After a robbery, you could be shaken or nervous. That is normal, so just relax because the hard part is over and there is a good chance the robber will not return. Now call 911 and lock the main door until the police arrive. Check that all of the people involved in the robbery are safe and well. Look out for any fragile people who may have a health issue. If you are in any doubt about any person’s health, call an ambulance. Don’t discuss the robbery with other witnesses and preserve the crime scene for the police.
Recovering from an armed robbery is not going to happen overnight. It is important that you seek help either from friends or professionals during the recovery process. Most people are in some form of shock after a robbery, and that can last a few hours to a few days. This is normal after a traumatic event. You should allow yourself to feel that emotion. Remember, if you need help after a robbery – get it ! Most companies have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which can help you during this time.
Remember “The 1-2-3 of Surviving an Armed Robbery” and be safe:
- Cooperate with the robber.
- Don’t be a hero.
- Don’t panic.