It is important to remain calm if you find yourself in the midst of an armed robbery. The advice comes from armed response company Fidelity ADT, following two recent armed robberies at restaurants in the Claremont area.
According to media reports, there was an incident at Oblivion Bar & Kitchen in Chichester Road on Monday night, 26 April, in which armed suspects robbed the venue and its customers of cash and personal belongings.
Another restaurant in the area, The Village Bicycle in 2nd Avenue, was robbed in a similar incident on Sunday 11 April.
Jade Hanning, the general manager (Western Cape) for Fidelity ADT, says it is absolutely crucial to never antagonise any armed robber.
“Do not resist, and assure the assailants that you will cooperate. They must see that you will not take any action that will jeopardise your safety, and that you are not planning any quick or unexpected movements,” he says.
Another piece of advice to remember, is to follow the instructions of the armed assailants.
“Do not argue with them, as they are in control. If they instruct you to take something out of your pockets such as a wallet or phone, tell them what you are doing and why you are doing it,” says Hanning.
Most shops and restaurants have panic alarm buttons, and it is important that staff know where these buttons are and how to use them.
“These buttons are programmed to trigger a silent alarm, so as not to potentially scare or antagonise any robber. Our officers are also trained to carefully assess the situation when they respond to a panic alarm, to make sure that they act in a way that protects the safety of anyone that might be caught in the middle of an armed robbery,” Hanning explains.
Police will later need detailed reports and every bit of available information, as part of their investigation. This, says Hanning, is why it is important to make mental notes of the robber’s appearance.
“Be as detailed as you can. Look out for tattoos, jewellery, and colour of their eyes, the clothing they wore, their height, age and weight. Also listen out for anything they say to one another. We have found that it is often very helpful if police are given a description of the shoes worn by the suspects, especially if they dump the shirts or jackets they were wearing at the time.”
To support victims post-robbery, trauma counselling is something that should be considered, Hanning adds..
“It is very scary to be the victim of an incident where you are faced with a suspect carrying a gun or another dangerous weapon. We recommend talking to someone about what happened, to help deal with the trauma of what you experienced.”