Robbery Prevention Tips

What is Robbery?


(Missouri Statute 569.020) 1. A person commits the crime of robbery in the first degree when he forcibly steals property and in the course thereof he, or another participant in the crime, (1) Causes serious physical injury to any person; or (2) Is armed with a deadly weapon; or (3) Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument against any person; or (4) Displays or threatens the use of what appears to be a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.  Robbery in the first degree is a class A felony. 

Robbery Prevention Tips


  • Trust your instincts.  If you sense trouble, get away as soon as possible. 
  • Show confidence.  Walk at a steady pace, keep your head up and avoid carrying lots of packages…It can make you look defenseless. 
  • Don't look like an easy target.  Robbers want someone who will provide the least resistance. If you look like you know where you are going, walk with your head up and eyes alert, you will most likely be left alone. 
  • Be observant. 
  • Remain alert and observe the people around you.  Know who is walking behind and in front of you. Things to watch for include suspicious persons or vehicles, people who are wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather (e.g. a long or heavy coat in warm weather), and people just loitering around. 
  • Walk in well-lit areas. If possible, do not walk alone.  
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you think you are being followed, go to a crowded area.
  • Do not carry large amounts of money.
  • Carry keys in your hand.
If you observe suspicious persons or activities, call the police to investigate.

If you are robbed:


  • Remain calm. 
  • Make personal safety the number one priority.  Money and property can be replaced.  
  • Carefully observe the physical characteristics of the robber.  Be a good witness. Note as much detail about the suspect(s) as possible.  (Age, race, height, facial hair, speech, clothing, odor, etc.)
  • When it is safe, notify the police by calling 911.
  • Police dispatch will ask for the location of the robbery, whether anyone is injured, the exact time the robber(s) left and their direction of travel, the kind of weapon used, description of the vehicle, the robber(s) description, their clothing, appearance or unique features, money or items taken, and other information to assist responding officers.
  • Protect the scene of the crime. Be careful not to touch anything to avoid destroying evidence.  
  • Ask any witnesses to stay until police arrive.  If they cannot stay, get their name, address and phone number.  
  • Write down all suspect information immediately and do not discuss the robbery with others until questioned by the police.  Comparing notes could cause memories to be skewed. 

For businesses - be security conscious


  • Don't be afraid to call the police if you see something suspicious.  Keep law enforcement emergency and non-emergency phone numbers handy.
  • Maintain visibility into your place of business. 
    • Avoid blocking the view into your business by crowding windows with signs or merchandise.
    • Use low display counters and cases to maintain visibility from both inside and outside the business.
  • Keep all entrances, exits, and parking areas well lighted.
  • Secure you cashier operation.
  • Install barriers high enough to keep unauthorized persons out of the area where cash transactions take place. Place the cash register a safe distance from the door, but not so far back that it is not visible from outside.
  • Keep a spare key and phone hidden in the freezer or storeroom.
  • Install a hold-up alarm system, with points through out the business. Periodically test the system with the assistance of the alarm company.
  • Keep cash on premises to a minimum.
    • Make frequent cash drops at varied times of the day or week. Use two or more employees to make cash drops or use a courier service.
  • Keep your safe locked at all times.
  • Review robbery procedures and alarm system operations frequently with your employees.
  • Keep key holder information up to date with law enforcement and the alarm company.
  • Use one or more persons to open and/or close the business. There is better safety in numbers.