Empowering our Employees
Did you know that during the last two years, Ukiah has averaged more than 20 robberies a year? And based on the number of armed robberies that have already occurred in Ukiah at the beginning of this year, this trend is continuing.
It’s important to know that a robbery is different from a burglary or theft. A burglary or theft is the taking of something of value, while a robbery is the taking of something of value through force or fear—that’s what makes robberies scary.
I’m proud of our officers; they have done a fantastic job arresting those who commit these violent crimes. And, I think it’s important that we do all we can to protect victims by preventing future robberies from occurring.
I can’t imagine too many things more frightening than having a gun pointed at you while someone demands money or other valuables. What do you do? How should you act? Could you have prevented this from occurring? Can you diffuse the situation? And, is my business a target for a robbery?
If you know the answers to these questions, you’re prepared should you become a victim of a robbery. If not, I want to make sure we do all we can to help you–and your employees–be better prepared to handle a robbery.
Although any business can be robbed, not all businesses face the same risk. Businesses that are often open late, have limited staff, or sell valuable merchandise are desirable targets for robbers: convenience stores, service stations, liquor stores, jewelry stores, supermarkets—or most recently, a hair salon that’s open during the evening.
Robbers are looking for opportunities like these:
Late Hours: If a business is open after regular business hours, there is a wider range of time during which it could be robbed. Late at night fewer people are around, so a robber has a smaller chance of being identified or caught.
One Clerk: Businesses with only one clerk are at a greater risk for robbery, especially at night.
Cash or Valuable Merchandise: The most desirable target for a robber is cash. A business with large amounts of cash is a desirable target. If the business sells products that are valuable and can easily be resold, it is also a likely target.
As I mentioned, a robbery involves some physical force or threat of force, whether it is with a weapon or not. Unlike other crimes that affect businesses, robbery can cause physical harm to individual employees. Since robberies occur quickly, having a pre-established plan for store employees is especially helpful—it can reduce the risk of violence, throw off the robber, and help law enforcement apprehend the suspect afterwards.
If you own or work within a business, you can use this plan as a template:
Robbery Reaction Plan:
Cooperate with the robber and do not jeopardize personal safety.
Try to alert other employees, possibly through a predetermined signal.
Clearly identifying a robber can help police apprehend him or her later, so try to remain calm and make note of physical characteristics:
Height (markers at the door can help)
Build (stocky, slight, etc.)
Method of operation - weapon used, escape route, accomplices
Because of the stress involved, it will help to write down details immediately after the event.
Notify the police immediately.
Do not discuss the events with anyone until the police arrive, so the information is not confused.
If you’re interested, we’d like to help you review ways to make your business safer, or train your staff in robbery procedures. Our Crime Prevention Specialist Nancy Sawyer (707-467-5708) is trained to review the security of your building inside and out, as well as provide safety training for your staff. Please call us anytime to get started.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
By: Chris Dewey - Chief of Police