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What to do in a mall robbery

Shopping centres and malls are often targets for robberies and other criminal acts. Knowing what to do in the event of a mall robbery could save your life or the life of a loved one.

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.

Hattingh provides the following useful advice.

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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 i.e. what they were wearing, any distinctive clothes, markings, jewelry 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.

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