Over the past few weeks, a spate of robberies has seen jewellery, watch and cellphone stores being hit by armed robbers across the greater Durban are and parts of Gauteng. The suspects are operating in groups of four to six and are gaining entry into the stores by smashing through the front doors and stealing high valued items in the display cases.
In most cases it appears as if the stores have been visited in advance of the attack as the suspects appear to be well acquainted with the whereabouts of the highest valued items. Although we cannot guarantee this from happening, Excellerate Security Head of Investigations Nico Potgieter offers the following safety advice that can help minimise you store from being targeted.
Here are a few tips to protect your stores:
- Remove all high valued items from display cases
- Lock all valued items as securely as possible at the close of business on a daily basis
- Ensure that your store is well lit in order to increase visibility
- Remain alert and watchful of suspicious activity throughout the working day and report any suspicious activity to your security company immediately
- Take particular precautions during the opening and closing of business. Including being aware of anyone near your store during those times
- Make sure to try and stay alert even when your store is very busy or if a large crowd comes in once
- If you have panic buttons installed in your store, make sure to have have them tested reguraly
- Keep all doors and windows clear of signs and posters that can hinder visibility
- Install panic buttons around the premises and ensure that all staff members are familiar with their locations. You can also purchase mobile panic buttons that staff members can carry on their persons and access immediately.
- Display clear signs around your store that your premises are guarded by CCTV cameras and that you have an alarm system.
Should you find yourself in a store during a robbery, do the following:
- Remain calm and do not resist
- Comply with all demands made by the robbers and do not make eye-contact
- Assure the robber(s) of your cooperation and make slow, steady movements. Should you need to make any unusual movements, communicate this to them calmly so that they are not threatened by what you are doing
- Try to take note of as much detail as you can, such as accents and language