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Cash Handling Is Serious Business

A robbery is one of the most serious and potentially dangerous crimes committed in the United States today. A robber commits a holdup because he or she believes that their profit will be worth the risk. By minimizing the possible profit and increasing the risk of apprehension potential victims can reduce their chance of becoming a target.

At security is our only business. We have worked with many law enforcement agencies, the FBI, and security consultants to assist in their efforts to apprehend suspects. A separate division of our company designs and installs security systems and equipment to protect financial, commercial, and governmental entities. As a former manufacturer of safes, brings our customers a wealth of knowledge about protecting people and valuables. While we cannot "cure" society from criminal activity, we can adopt common sense guidelines that will help us all deter or prevent becoming another crime statistic.

The following information offers our customer's a general guideline for robbery prevention and deterrence. While this list does not cover all situations, it will give our readers some useful tools to help educate themselves and possibly prevent a disaster. For more information, please see another SafeandVaultStore online guide called Robbery Deterrence Manual.

Today, this is true in every industry that is engaged in the exchange of merchandise or service for cash, checks, or credit cards.

Statistics show that criminal activity is increasing at an alarming rate, especially armed robbery. Each year, thousands of people are victims of this crime. Many are attacked violently.

Past experience has proven that there is no cure for our society's propensity toward criminal acts. However, there are proven techniques and actions that if followed will help minimize the risk of a criminal attack or violence happening to you or at your place of business.

It is natural to feel that "it happens in big cities, or it won't happen to me." So we sometimes let our guard down and the unexpected happens. It is also human nature to resist changes in our normal routine. So, we fail to use good judgment or resist following guidelines for the necessary precautions to help reduce crime. The benefits are real, if we put forth the effort in implementing a robbery deterrence program.

There are many devices to help prevent armed robbery and the loss of cash. A few are Safes, Time Delay Safes, Cash Vending Safes, Deposit Safes, Alarms, Cameras, Bullet Resistive Glass Barriers and more drastic methods like Armed Guards. But a simple and effective form of protection is to make aware the employees and the public that a robbery prevention program is being used.

Management and employees, together have a responsibility to themselves and others to adopt and follow a planned proven program using some of these techniques. By each one sharing in the responsibility it can help ensure a robbery prevention program will be even more effective.

An awareness program specifically designed for your business can be created by contacting your local police department. As a business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to create a safe workplace for your employees. An awareness program is designed to make employees aware of the potential dangers that go along with the handling of cash. It is a constant reminder to be on guard at all times.

An awareness program also helps to establish the responsibility of the custody of cash to key employees. This helps eliminate the mysterious disappearance of cash. By fixing the responsibility, it avoids confusion and erratic conduct by less experienced employees. In many cases employees feel that they will be held accountable for the loss of money during a robbery. This may cause them to resist the demands of the criminal and risk possible harm from the attacker. An awareness program also suggests ways to limit the exposure of large amounts of cash. It alerts the employees of what a would-be robber is looking for when "scouting-out" a possible victim.

Contrary to public opinion, criminals are smarter than we think. They will most always "scout-out" or "case" a victim before they attack. They are trained to look for flaws and weaknesses in the cash handling procedures and security programs.

If a robber gets only a small amount of cash at one location, chances are they won't risk imprisonment for that amount again. But, if they are successful in getting a large amount of cash at one store, that store can make the rest of the sister store or even competitive stores in the area prime targets.

So, each store has a responsibility not only to its own staff, but to the security of all stores in the area. Crime breeds crime… and "copy-cat" crimes are very popular at this time.

Criminals choose their victims based on three things: route of escape, the amount of cash exposed to them, and the amount of time needed to commit the crime. Time is the criminal's greatest enemy. Anything that can be done to slow down or restrict the criminal from easy access to the cash increases the amount of deterrence you have. One of the more unique safes that carries is a cash dispensing safe. These safes have done a wonderful job of timed control and access to cash.

The would-be robber does not just happen to pick you as their victim. They plan a "hit" based on knowledge they receive from observing your operation or from inside information that may have been given innocently by employees. (By the way, this is also the case with home burglaries; a family member or friend tells another friend about their home and its contents). In a very high percentage of armed robbery cases, the robber has received information leading him to his victim.

The most important thing to the criminal is their freedom and secondly, your money. Remembering these two things, we need to get the point across to a criminal "scouting-out" your place of business that your cash is protected by some systematic control and that in order for them to get enough money for their efforts; it may take them more time than they will be willing to risk without being apprehended.

The robber may be asking themselves "is the money in the till, lying on the desk in the office, or hidden in the storeroom?" An awareness program can take the question out of their mind about what you do with the money. For instance, one way to do this is through decals placed in clear public view.

Remember, a criminal attack is very dangerous. You should do all you can to avoid it happening to you. They steal more than just money!

Decals can be purchased through local decal and sign stores. Samples of decal notices:





Above all, we wish for you and your employees a safe and prosperous business operation. Happy and safe employees mean happy and safe customers. We hope that through this learning material that we can be of help in some way to protect your hard earned profits!

Robbery Preventive Measures Checklist

Keep a Clear View from Outside

  • Make sure you and your cash register are clearly visible from outside. Create a "fishbowl" look. Limit use of window signs and floor displays. If you can see out easily, passer-bys and police can see in.
  • Keep cash register money to a minimum
  • Place large bills in a drop safe or other secure device as soon as you get them.
  • Ask customers if they have exact change or smaller bills. This will help you minimize the money in your register.
  • Record the serial number of several bills ("bait money") that are given out only in the event of a robbery.
  • Be certain you have adequate inside and outside lighting. Eliminate any dark areas.
  • Utilize photo sensors to insure lights come on at night.
  • Replace burned out bulbs promptly.
  • Keep your business looking neat and clean
  • A neat and clean environment is great for business but uncomfortable for most robbers.
  • Read about and implement Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
  • When not making a sale, stay away from the register. Most robbers do not like to spend the extra time it takes to bring you back to the sales counter.
  • Keep Alert
  • Know what is happening outside as well as inside your business.
  • Watch for loiterers and politely ask them to leave.
  • Greet everyone who enters your business.
  • Don't be afraid to call police (911) when you see suspicious persons or activity.

If You Are Robbed

  • Cooperate with the Robber
  • Do exactly as you are told. If you don't understand what you are being told to do, ask.
  • Give the robber(s) what they want. Don't argue.
  • Don't move too quickly or reach for anything. Tell the robber(s) what you are doing.
  • The longer the robbery takes the more nervous the robber is.
  • The average robbery takes less than 2 minutes.
  • Don't Resist
  • Don't fight.
  • Don't use weapons.
  • Don't chase the robber(s).
  • Observe the person(s) involved for the purpose of describing clothing and physical features.
  • Observe the person or persons' means of escape, direction of travel and description of vehicle.
  • Call Police ( 9-1-1)After the Robbery is Over
  • Stay on the phone until police tell you to hang up.
  • Record the suspect(s) description on a piece of paper.
  • Don't touch anything. There may be suspect(s) finger prints or other physical evidence crucial to the investigation.

After the Robbery

  • Go to a safe location close to the robbery scene and immediately call the police
  • Ask all witnesses to remain until the officers arrive. If a witness must leave, obtain his/her name, address, and telephone number. Witnesses should write or remember their account of the suspects and their actions.
  • Do not discuss the robbery or compare notes about the robber's appearance with anyone.
  • Protect the crime scene. Try not to touch anything.

Crime Deterrence Review:

  • Do you train employees in crime reduction awareness and procedures?
  • Do all your employees know how to properly operate your security equipment?
  • Do you have an above ground safe?
  • Is your safe bolted to the floor?
  • Is your safe near the register and visible to customers?
  • Are windows blocked by signs, displays or other materials?
  • Is the cashier clearly visible from outside the business?
  • Would the robber also be visible from outside?
  • Are proper trespassing/loitering/parking signed posted?
  • Are there drawer limits for cashiers?
  • Is a drop safe available?
  • Is you change fund secured?
  • Do you perform random till checks or cash audits?
  • Do you use an armored car service?
  • Do you have a secure counting room?
  • Does your counting room have adequate locks, a phone and a door peephole?
  • Do you vary the times of your trips to the bank?
  • Do you vary your route to the bank?
  • Do you disguise your bank deposit bag?
  • Do all exterior lights work properly?
  • Do all interior lights work properly?
  • Are lights turned off or on at appropriate times?
  • Is there adequate lighting inside your business?
  • Is there adequate lighting outside your business including the side and rear areas?
  • Does your store use video surveillance equipment?
  • Does your equipment have a date/time generator?
  • Is there a video monitor placed where a potential robber can see it?
  • Are your VCR and video tapes secured?
  • Do you regularly back up your digital recorder?
  • Have you checked the position of your cameras?
  • Do you regularly clean your camera lenses and VCR head?
  • Do you replace your VRC tapes annually with new tapes?
  • Is the resolution on your video system good?
  • Do you have a panic alarm?
  • Do you have a security alarm?
  • Can all exterior doors be easily locked?

Other issues:

  • Is the telephone readily accessible to the cashier?
  • Do you report all crimes to police?
  • Do you encourage police to visit your store?


This information provided above is a general guideline and is not meant to be all-inclusive of every step that can and should be taken to prevent or deter robbery. does not imply or represent that the statements above will prevent robberies, burglaries, harmful situations, or prevent becoming a victim of a violent crime. For more complete information on what you can do to deter crime, please contact your local Police Department.