As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take the steps to avoid becoming a robbery target. The Ottawa Police Service website provides these tips:

  • Keep the interior, front and rear entrances of the business well lit
  • Keep advertising and merchandise out of windows
  • Always keep the rear and side doors locked
  • Maintain a record of decoy or “bait” currency to give to a robber
  • Be sure your alarms work at all times
  • Do not open your business before or after regular business hours
  • Avoid routine activities that could be observed by would-be robbers
  • Call the police if you receive a request to open after regular hours
  • Make sure your video monitoring equipment is operating

Poor money handling can also make you a target. The Ottawa Police Service recommends that you:

  • Keep cash on your premises as low as possible
  • Keep cheques separate from cash
  • Go directly to the bank to make your deposits
  • Do not go to the bank alone
  • Vary the time and routine of your bank trips
  • Consider using a “drop” safe that can only be opened by the owner and/or manager
  • If possible, conceal your money
  • Do not leave deposits or withdrawals unattended in the car
  • If possible, make bank deposits during daylight hours

Preparing your staff

If you are a small business owner, the Ottawa Police Service website suggests that you have a plan for employees to follow in case of a robbery:

  • Teach all employees how to use the alarm system
  • Assign employees different tasks in case of a robbery:
    • one to call the police
    • one to make observations about the robber
    • one to protect the evidence
    • one to detain witnesses

The School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University has compiled a great list of tips for preventing crime at your business. The list focuses on four major areas: routines, handling cash, access and visibility.