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Your reaction can save your life in an armed robbery

Being prepared and knowing how to react are two things which can save lives in the event of an emergency, especially if you are caught in a dangerous situation.

According to Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications for Fidelity ADT, armed robberies happen daily – in private homes, at businesses and in shopping environments. And, because there is always the propensity for violence when weapons are involved, it is important to know what to do if you are caught in an armed robbery.

She says the majority of residential robberies are as the result of staff giving criminals inside information.

“We know from experience that at least eight out of 10 residential robberies are committed using information from domestic workers, gardeners and former employees. Home and business owners need to be aware of the importance of vetting all staff carefully, preferably through a specialist placement agency that can do all the necessary background checks.”

There is a definite modus operandi in planning and executing an armed robbery. For example, the robbers will watch the target for up to two weeks beforehand.

“Also, most attacks occur in homes between 7pm and midnight, when people are relaxed, watching TV or cooking and when their security beams or alarm systems are not yet activated. It is not uncommon for robberies to occur up to 4am,” says Hattingh.

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“An important other trademark of robbers is that on average 30% have either committed murder or will not hesitate to commit murder.

“This is why it is critical to react in the right way when confronted by an armed robber. The first thing to bear in mind is that they are in control of the situation because they have the gun.”

Tips on how to react in an armed robbery:

  • Obey orders. Do exactly as you are told as resisting instructions can place your life in danger.
  • Stay calm. Regulating your breathing slows your heart rate and improves concentration, even in the most adverse situation.
  • Speak slowly. Don’t shout or raise your voice to the robbers.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements. When carrying out instructions, tell them what you are doing and then slowly do what you said.
  • Don’t set off a siren. Activate the alarm only if you can do so secretly or the alarm is silent.
  • Don’t look the robber directly in the face. The robber may believe that you are trying to memorise his features for later identification.
  • Give the robbers time to leave. Don’t shout when they leave or try to prevent their escape.

While reaction to an armed robbery is key to keeping you and your love ones safe, the best defence is proper security to deter criminals from targeting your home.

Hattingh says good deterrents are electric fences, detection beams and CCTV, as are small dogs inside the home.

“Importantly, how secure your neighbourhood is also a meaningful factor. If robbers are scouting around they will view regular security company patrols and a strong neighbourhood watch system as a good reason to move on.”

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