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Beware imposters and impersonators

Don't attempt to prevent the robbers' escape. A trapped robber is a desperate robber whom you shouldn't share a space with.

Fidelity ADT has issued a warning to business owners as criminals’ ramp up their efforts to gain from every opportunity they can find.

Posing as customers is an old trick. Small businesses are especially vulnerable because even if they do have a security door and buzzer, for example, when a “customer” arrives you have to open for them.

Charnel Hattingh, Group Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity ADT says “We are seeing an increase in business robberies, particularly at retail outlets like clothing stores and garage shops, which are easily accessible. Business owners need to be vigilant, make sure their CCTV is working and remain vigilant for any suspicious activity.

We recommend at least two staff members must always carry hidden panic buttons. Visitors to these outlets must also be especially vigilant. Generally, the suspects are after the till money and not out to rob the customers, but it is still a high alert situation”

“It’s important to emphasise that the chances of a robbery becoming needlessly violent can be reduced by the behaviour of both staff and customers,” says Charnel Hattingh, Group Head of Marketing & Communications of Fidelity Services Group

Take note of the following:

  • Don’t resist.  Do exactly as you are told. The robbers are in control of the situation because they are armed. It serves no purpose to resist their instructions as you will only be placing your life and others at risk.
  • Relax.  Regulate your breathing with long, slow, deliberate breaths. This slows your heart rate and improves concentration, even in the most adverse situation.
  • Speak slowly. Don’t shout or raise your voice to the robbers. They are probably more nervous than you and therefore, more prone to losing any self-control they may have.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements. When you want to do anything – even if it is an instruction from the robber – tell him what you are doing. For example, “I am going to take the keys out of my pocket now”, then slowly do what you said.
  • Don’t set off a siren. Activate the alarm only if you can do so secretly or the alarm is silent. Many armed robberies have turned violent (with hostages taken) due to sirens putting the robbers into a panic. Don’t look the robber directly in the face. The robber may believe that you are trying to memorise his features for later identification.
  • Give the robbers time to leave. Don’t shout or do anything else until the robbers have left the premises. Don’t try to be a hero. Don’t attempt to prevent the robbers’ escape. A trapped robber is a desperate robber whom you shouldn’t share a space with.

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