PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CARJACKING
• Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up while driving.
• When approaching a stop, always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. This will provide you an escape route if needed.
• Never give rides to strangers. Criminals are con-artists and will say or do anything to get you to trust them. Be cautious!
• When filling your vehicle with gasoline, take your keys out of the ignition, particularly if you have children with you.
• If your vehicle breaks down on the road, attempt to move it to a safe location out of traffic. Raise the hood and activate the emergency flashers. Get back in your vehicle and lock the doors until assistance arrives.
• If you are involved in a minor traffic accident and suspect foul play, motion for the other driver to follow you to a public place to exchange information.
Robbery is a violent crime against a person or business which can be a terrifying experience. It is important to remember that in order to protect yourself and your business, you must take preventative steps to make it known that you are prepared.
PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS
Your safety and the safety of your employees is of great priority. If you are confronted by an armed robber, DON’T RESIST! Give them what they want and call “911.” Your safety is most important and your life cannot be replaced. The police will do everything they can to recover your property.
Robbery alarms can be a quick way to summon the police in the event of a robbery. Be sure to seek training on the proper use of the alarm system. Train your employees accordingly.
INSTALL VIDEO CAMERAS
Video cameras should cover your cash register and doorways which lead in and out of your business. The video image captured on film is extremely valuable to law enforcement. Most criminals who commit robbery are “career criminals,” meaning that they have a history of criminal behavior. These persons are usually known to law enforcement officers and state parole agents. Images taken from surveillance video are used daily, by law enforcement officers across the nation, in their efforts to apprehend dangerous criminals. Surveillance video also provides valuable evidence which aids in the prosecution of the offender. The presence of video cameras can also be a deterrent for some would-be robbers.
• Walk with confidence. Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your head up and continuously “scan” the area around you.
• Travel in well lit and populated areas. Carry a flashlight and sounding device, such as a whistle, after dark.
• Walk facing traffic so you can see approaching cars.
• Avoid walking in alleyways. Stay on the more “well-traveled” streets.
• Pre-plan what you will do if confronted and know your strengths and limitations.
• Be especially cautious when using ATMs. Beware of persons loitering nearby, and never use an ATM after dark.
If your business runs a high risk of robbery, you may want to invest in a bulletproof cashier screen. These security screens can aid in protecting employees and preventing robberies. Be sure to lock this “safe” area where the cashier is working.
KEEP YOUR WINDOWS CLEAR
Make sure your cash register is clearly visible to passers-by. Arrange your counter so that the customers (or robber) are visible from the street or sidewalk. Do not block the view with signs or displays. UTILIZE “BAIT” MONEY
“Bait” money is money which can be used to track and identify criminals who commit robberies. Keep a record of the series year and serial numbers of the bait money. Keep this money separate from other cash in your register. Instruct your employees to give this bait money to a robber. Provide the serial number information of the bait money to the police if you are robbed.
DEVELOP A “MUTUAL AID” SYSTEM
Get to know your neighbors and fellow merchants. Agree to keep an eye out for each other and report any suspicious activity to the police right away. If your first impression tells you that something isn’t right, call “911.” Be prepared to describe the suspicious activity as well as the persons and vehicles involved. Be sure to note the license numbers of the vehicles.
FILE A POLICE REPORT!
Every month, numerous crimes occur and go unreported. This includes some of the more serious crimes, such as assaults and robberies. Even if you don’t think there is anything the police can do to catch the suspects, you need to report it. The suspects may be responsible for other crimes in your area. Fingerprints or other evidence may also help in identifying the perpetrator. Report ALL criminal acts to the police, even if it is only an attempted crime.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the
Thousand Oaks Police Department’s Crime Prevention Bureau at (805) 371-8362.