Lately, there has been a surge of criminal activity in the Cannabis Industry. Unfortunately, most of the surge has been in the form of cash and cannabis robberies or late night dispensary and grow location break-ins. Some have been violent, like the tragic death and shooting of several security personnel in multiple states.
“Officer, we’ve been robbed!” are four words that will change your life forever. Armed robberies not only result in substantial financial losses up front, they can also lead to further loss of revenue from bad publicity. Customers are less likely to shop at a location with a high amount of criminal activity.
Unfortunately, robberies happen regardless of the best prevention methods. 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, you should always be prepared for a criminal event.
Here are three basic steps that could help you better respond to an armed robbery.
Step One: Cooperate with the Robber.
Remember, money, merchandise and cannabis can be replaced, but you can’t. 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 him or her. However, if the robber doesn’t ask, then there is no need to tell the robber about the safe under the counter.
Most robberies take just a few minutes. Attempt to get the robber out of the store as quickly as possible. Cooperate, but be efficient in meeting the robber’s demands.
Step Two: Don’t be a Hero.
Try to avoid confrontation with the robber. Most robbers just want the money or merchandise and to get away as soon as possible. Never look directly into the robber’s eyes and try to stand as far away from him or her as possible. Also, even if you have a firearm and know how to use it – DON’T unless you feel your life or the lives of your fellow employees or customers are in physical danger. You may be the best shot in the town, but is it worth taking the risk of not being the fastest draw in the town?
If you want to be a hero, try to remember everything about the robbery so that the police will have some good leads to help catch the robber.
Step Three: Don’t Panic.
There is an expression I have always used during an emergency situation which applies to dealing with a robber – “Never let them see you sweat.” You’ll need to remain calm and focused.
During a robbery you want to make sure there are no surprises to the robber. Don’t make any sudden moves and try an anticipate anything that may surprise the robber like someone in the backroom or the noise the cash register will make when you open it. Make mention of these things to the robber.
After a robbery you could be shaken or nervous. That is normal, so just relax. The hard part is over and there is a good chance the robber will not return. 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 make sure to 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 which 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.