If you regularly handle large amounts of cash – in a shop or trade centre for example – you should reduce your vulnerability by following strict security procedures.
If you count cash away from customer areas, ensure that access is not easy for thieves. Use a door entry system or keep the door locked and if possible, avoid counting when you are alone in the building, such as after closing time or before other staff arrive for work.
If you work in a high-risk business such as a post office or building society, ensure that two people are present for opening and closing whenever possible. Look through the windows or glass door when you arrive for work to see if anything looks out of place.
One person should then enter the building while the other stays back. If you realise that someone is hiding inside, try to get back out without causing suspicion.
If that’s not possible, try to activate a silent alarm if there is one. The best idea is to inform your co-worker that you will always return to the door to advise them that it’s safe to enter. That way, if a robber prevents you from leaving, your colleague will know there is something wrong.
Safety on Your Own
Even if you work alone you should have some type of alert system. One common alert is to arrange to call or text a relative within a set time. For example, if you usually go into the building at 8.30am and you haven’t called them by 8.35am, they will know something is wrong.
Of course, you might simply forget to call them so you’ll need to agree a code word that you will use if they ring you to check that everything is okay. For example, to alert them to a problem, you could use a fictitious name when talking to them. A robber may insist you tell the caller that everything is fine, but they won’t know you are raising the alarm if you say “Sorry, I was just about to call you Shirley” (assuming the caller is not called Shirley of course!)
It’s also important to remember that people who handle cash are not only at risk when they have money with them. Robbers sometimes follow employees home to get the keys to a building and the alarm codes.
It is a good investment to have a monitored alarm system that includes a duress code. That way, if you are forced to open a safe, you can enter the duress code. The safe will still open so the robbers won’t realise anything is wrong but entering the duress code will alert the monitoring centre.
If you are responsible for keeping building and/or safe keys, make sure that you vary your route home. Professional criminals usually follow an intended victim to check their movements. If you vary your route regularly, it makes it hard for them to plan a spot where they could stop your car.
Always be aware of the vehicles behind you. If a vehicle follows you for a suspicious length of time, pull over to see if they drive past (but only do this in a busy area, never on a quiet road.). Alternatively, if you are really worried, drive straight to a police station.
When driving, make sure that you keep the doors locked so that no-one can jump in when you stop at traffic lights or in a traffic queue.
Finally, when you are driving, always be suspicious of people who try to flag you down. A common trick is to have someone lying in the road, as if injured, so that you will pull over and get out of the vehicle.
It’s a good idea to carry a mobile phone – that way, you can ring the emergency services without getting out of your car. Hopefully, in a genuine situation, other drivers will stop to give assistance.
When you arrive home, try to park where you would easily see someone approaching the vehicle.