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Are you safe at work? Protect yourself from Brazen Business Burglars

by | Aug 3, 2020 | Blue Security Blog

Over the past week, Blue has noted a new crime trend emerge in which armed robbers are brazenly targeting businesses whilst owners and employees are on the premises. In our latest report from last week, two victims from separate incidents were violently assaulted by suspects during business armed robberies in the Overport and Durban CBD areas.
A total of 73 business related-incidents were reported to our control centre during the month of July. Many of these incidents (80%) occurred during the earlier part of the week and tapered off as the weekend approached. The most common day for business incidents was Wednesday and the peak time was between 5:00am and 6:00am.
Given the brazen manner in which burglars are confronting staff, Blue advises that both employees and business owners take the following precautions to prevent falling victim to criminals and to stay out of harm’s way, should you come face-to-face with an armed robber.

Reducing the chances of a Business Armed Robbery

1. Take note of peak times
In July, many of the business related-incidents reported to Blue occurred during the early hours of the morning when many businesses are opening for the day. Take special precautionary measures and ensure there are at least two people present during opening and closing times.
2. Keep lines of observation open
Eliminate blind spots and improve visibility by keeping the premises well lit, both internally and externally, at all times. Installing motion sensors, that flood an area with light when motion is detected, can deter criminals who lurk in dark areas such as parking lots.
3. Report any security risks
As an employee, make sure you report any security risks such as broken or flickering lights, dimly lit areas, broken windows, and doors that don’t lock properly.
4. Set up solid security procedures
Set up CCTV surveillance cameras strategically and implement some form of entrance and exit control, ensuring that you are able to clearly identify individuals who enter your premises.
5. Know where panic buttons are situated
As an employee, ensure that you are aware of the security plan the business has in place and where the panic buttons are situated, should you need to raise the alarm in an emergency.
6. Develop discreet cash control protocol
Avoid keeping large sums of money on the premises and be discreet when you are counting large amounts of cash or preparing a bank deposit. Vary the times that you visit the bank to avoid becoming predictable to observant criminals and avoid depositing at night, if possible.

What to do during an armed robbery

1Blue Security - Are you safe at work? Protect yourself from Brazen Business Burglars - Panic activation. Stay calm and cooperative
Although it may seem near impossible to stay calm in such a situation, it is vital that you keep level headed and cooperate with the robbers’ requests. Try taking long, slow deliberate breaths as this slows your heart rate and helps you relax. It’s important to note that the robbers are most likely just as nervous – make sure you speak slowly and avoid any sudden movements that may cause them to react impulsively.
2. Activate the alarm discreetly
Pressing the panic button should be your first instinct, but make sure that if you do so it is done without the robbers knowing as this will only put them into a panic that may cause them to respond violently.
3. Remain observant throughout the incident
Although you must never look a suspect directly in the face, discreetly taking note of certain identifying details can assist SAPS during the investigation. The following are details to take note of:
• Height
• Age
• Gender
• Build
• Race
• Hair and eye colour
• Identifying characteristics such as scars or tattoos
• Disguise and weapons used
• Vehicle used (Make, model, year, colour, license plate, and any noticeable features)
Comparing them to yourself may be useful in the observation process i.e. Are they taller, older and/or heavier, etc.?
When the robbers leave, immediately lock all doors and call the police if they have not already been notified. Make sure to leave everything as is – do not try to clean up or touch anything as you may damage important evidence. Once the investigation is completed the crime scene may require cleaning. Our response officers can assist victims by contacting our control centre to organise a crime scene clean up crew, through our trusted external service provider.
Remember, that falling victim to crime can be a traumatising experience and counselling can help victims come to terms with the feelings they experience during or after an event. If you or any other victims require help, our armed response officers can once again assist by putting you in contact with a reputable trauma counselor.

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