Retail Robbery Prevention

Police officer speaking a convenience store clerk about crime prevention.


Many robberies occur because the businesses make it convenient for the robber. Poor cash handling, housekeeping and a general lack of planning can make you an easy target for a robbery.

Retail Robbery Prevention Tips & Information

General protective measures

  • Keep the interior, front and rear entrances well lighted
  • Keep advertising and merchandise out of windows as much as possible
  • Always keep the rear and side doors locked
  • Maintain a record of decoy or "bait" currency to be given to a robber
  • Be sure your alarms are in good working order at all times
  • Do not open your place of business before or after regular business hours
  • Avoid routine procedures which can be observed and used to the advantage of would-be robbers
  • Call the police if a request is received to open after regular hours

Making your bank deposits

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

Plan with your employees in case of a robbery

  • Instruct all employees in use of the alarm systemOfficers speaking to a Pharmacist about robbery prevention.

  • 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 at the scene of the crime
    • one to detain witnesses

Know what to do when a robbery occurs

  • Remain calm, robbers are usually very excited and may be easily provoked or under the influence of drugs

  • Take no action that would jeopardize the safety of you, your employees or customers

  • Obey the robber's instructions

  • Keep the holdup note if one is used by the robber

  • Take a good look at the suspect and immediately note any details that may be useful to police

Know what to do immediately after a robbery

  • Call the police as soon as robbers leave the premises

  • Protect the scene of the crime and stop others from disturbing the scene

  • Do not touch any articles that may have been touched or left by the robbers

  • Hold all witnesses until the police arrive

  • Lock the doors and allow no-one in except the police

  • Do not trust memory, jot down all information immediately

Know how to identify a robber to the police

  • Practice identification with co-workersHeight tape

  • Install a height stip on the door frame of the entrance. These are available by contacting your local Community Police Centre.
  • Try to notice abnormalities, speech problems or scars

  • Notice type of build, or estimate weight

  • Notice type and colour of clothing worn

  • Observe direction in which suspects leave and try to get a description of the vehicle from any witnesses and write down the licence number

  • Be able to describe the size, type and colour of guns or any other weapons used in the robbery

Surveillance and Security Cameras (aka Digital Video Recordings DVR)

We highly recommend that all retail businesses use a digital video recording (DVR) system to monitor and record customers. The use of video and photographs of suspects are highly useful in investigations are a proven deterrent. While we cannot recommend a specific type or supplier the following is information that can assist you in making your purchasing decisions and for its set up.

Contact your local Community Police Centre (CPC) to l earn more about Camera Surveillance,  Video Storage, and Delivery .