Robbery Prevention

Robbery Prevention

What is robbery? Basically it is the act of stealing something through the use or threat of violence.
The Criminal Code defines 'robbery' as follows; Any person who steals anything, and, at or immediately before or immediately after the time of stealing it, uses or threatens to use actual violence to any person or to any property in the presence of any person, in order to obtain or retain the thing stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to its being stolen,or restrained, is guilty of an offence which is called robbery.

It is not necessary for the criminal to be armed in order to commit the offence of robbery. The courts do however view 'armed robbery' as a more serious crime and the punishment for those convicted of such an offence can be more severe.

The Robber and His Objectives  
Opening and Closing
Alarm Systems
Height Scale
In The Event of a Robbery
After The Robbery
Further Reading  
Important Telephone Numbers  

The Robber and His Objectives

In order to carry out a robbery, the criminal must have the ability, intention and opportunity to commit the offence. Opportunity is the 'key'. We can do little to remove the criminal's ability or intention to rob, but we can certainly take steps to reduce the opportunities to him or her to steal.

Preventing Robberies

Opening and Closing

It is recommended that two male members of staff should be responsible for opening your business each day and for checking to ensure that nobody has concealed themselves on the property overnight. Once the check has been completed, the other members of staff can be allowed to enter the premises.

Likewise, at the close of business, two male employees should be responsible for checking the property and for locking up.


Staff vigilance and strict adherence to rules are amongst your greatest deterrents. Encourage staff members to watch for customers acting suspiciously and to alert management of their actions. Procedures giving access to restricted areas should be rigidly enforced.

Always check the photographic identification of callers, service technicians, repairmen and trade representative.
Ensure that the premises are physically secure. Fit the proper locks on doors and windows. Install security glass where necessary and fit bars in storeroom windows. Various types of safes are available in Bermuda from large free standing ones to small floor safes complete with drop chutes.

Alarm Systems

Consider an audible (local) or silent alarm system to back up your physical security. The most sophisticated systems available in Bermuda can effectively divide your premises into separate zones which can be armed or disarmed independently. Detection devices include motion and heat detectors, panic buttons, magnetic door and window contacts, pressure sensitive pads and window vibration detectors. Such systems can also incorporate a fire alarm system.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is another sophisticated security option which utilizes commercial video recording equipment. The date and time is usually imprinted on the tape to enable the viewer to determine the exact time at which an event took place.

Security Bars fitted into masonry

Passive infra-red security lighting system

Double Cylinder Deadbolt Lock

Free Standing Safe Floor safe with chute & cover

Height Scale


To help staff members to gauge the height of people entering and leaving the establishment (and whom they might be required to describe afterwards). It is a useful idea to show a scale on the inside of the main exit door. The scale need not be obvious; for example it could take the form of a design so as not to alert customers to its purpose.




Ideally male employees only should be responsible for making bank deposits. They should avoid using the same route to the bank every day and should vary the time of day at which their deposits are made.
Deposits should be concealed in various disguises; for example inside a rolled up newspaper, in a briefcase, inside a grocery bag or in a lunch box. Staff should neverwalk down the street with a bank deposit bag visible for everyone to see.
As an alternative to using staff members, consider hiring a security firm to collect and bank your deposits on a regular basis.


When closed for business, leave cash register drawers open and keep the float on the premises to the absolute minimum. Ideally floats and company cheque books should be placed in a safe for overnight security*.
*You may wish to consider buying a floor safe with safety chute for this purpose. Such safes, it should be noted, must be set into a solid floor.
Leave selected interior and exterior lights switched on during the hours of darkness to discourage would-be thieves.

In the Event of a Robbery

Try to remain calm and be observant. Every situation is different and only you can decide what course of action to take in the circumstances.
If there is more than one robber or if the lone robber is armed, it would probably be wiser not to take physical action You should never take unnecessary chances to be a hero.
Instead, try to pay special attention to the actions of the robbers and their demands.
Comply with their instructions where practicable and make a mental note of the following:

(a) the time the robbery began
(b) the number of robbers involved
(c) whether or not they carried weapons
(d) what they said and did
(e) at what time the robbery was over

Observe the robbers' behaviour and try to determine what is different about them from other people - even small details might be important to the investigation afterwards. Look for differences in their physical appearances, clothing, mannerisms, accents and actual words spoken.

(1) what did the robbers look like?
(2) did they have light or dark complexions?
(3) were they left or right handed?
(4) can you describe their weapons?
(5) did the robbers leave on foot or by motor vehicle?
(6) what were the vehicle licence numbers?
(7) can you describe their vehicle?
(8) in which direction were their vehicles heading when last seen?

After The Robbery

The owner or manager, or 'designated' person-in-charge should immediately:

(a) instruct a supervisor or senior staff member to telephone the Police on 911 and inform them of what has taken place.
NB The caller should remain on the line since the Duty Officer receiving the call may have some additional questions to ask the informant.
(b) advise other staff members toclose the premises.
(c) determine whether or not anyone is injuredand summon medical assistance if necessary
(d) encourage both staff and customers to remain inside the property until the Police arrive to question them
(e) ask those present not to touch anything - especially anything which the robber or robbers may have handled.

While awaiting the arrival of the Police, both staff and customers should be asked to write down on a piece of paper everything they can remember about the robbery. People should write down their recollections 'independently' and should not confer with one another prior to being interviewed by Police.


A robbery can be a traumatic experience for the victims and the witnesses, be they staff members or customers. It might be prudent of Management to consider arranging special staff counselling in the event that a robbery does take place.

Further Reading

The Police Crime & Drug Prevention Unit publish over a dozen advisory brochures, all of which are available free of charge from Police Stations and Public Libraries. Amongst the subjects covered are the following: 'Business Security', 'Cheque Forging', 'Counterfeit Currency', 'Internal Theft', 'Shoplifting Prevention' and advice to the 'Victims and Witnesses of Crime'.

Important Telephone Numbers

Police (Emergency)
Police General Enquiries
C.I.D. (Hamilton)
C.I.D. (Somerset)
C.I.D. (Southside)

The recommendations contained in this web page are those of the Bermuda Police Service.