As we approach the busy retail festive season, the risk of mall robberies unfortunately increases. Knowing what to do in the event of a mall robbery could save your life.
This is the view of Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity Services Group. “The golden rule if you ever are caught in the middle of a heist is to stay calm,” says Hattingh.
Customers need to remain vigilant at all times and should always be on the lookout for any suspicious activities and be aware of the people around them.
Fidelity provides the following useful advice:
If you are in the store that is being robbed:
- Co-operate with robbers for your own safety. Listen to their instructions closely and follow their instructions
- Try and keep as calm as possible. Everyone reacts in a different way but try and breathe deeply until help arrives
- Do not use your cell phone whilst the robbery is in process, this could agitate the assailants
- Immediately try and find a sheltered spot and keep low on the ground
- Take note of the assailants to pass information on to the authorities ie what they were wearing, any distinctive clothes, markings, jewellery etc. Try and remember what they look like i.e. height, weight, etc.
- Ensure your children are kept close to you at all times. Do not let children wander off while you are shopping.
- Do not shop with large amounts of cash or valuables.
If you are not in the store being robbed:
Speak with the store personnel to firstly close the roller shutter doors. This is also standard operating procedures in many malls and move to the back of the store, out of sight
Try and find a store closest to you and secure yourself as described above
Do not try and exit via the standard entry and exit points as these are the same points the robbers will be using. Many malls now have standard operating procedures to lock down the mall.
Hattingh says crime is becoming more sophisticated, with inside information playing an increasingly prominent role.
“Whether you were in the store being robbed, or just witnessed the incident in the Centre, you should seek counselling, regardless of how you might feel. It often takes some time to experience and deal with the post-traumatic stress following such robberies,” she concludes.