PHILIPSBURG:— The Police Force of Sint Maarten is doing it’s utmost to protect you from all kinds of criminal activities. Unfortunately, armed robberies do occur in our community. They are criminal acts that have a serious impact on victims as well as the public. Because it’s better to be safe than sorry, the Sint Maarten Police Force has some precautions listed for you. They may help you prevent a robbery.
- Always bear in mind to observe your environment. You, of course, know best what’s ‘normal’ in your own surroundings, so if you see any suspicious people or vehicles, don’t hesitate to call the police (911). Give them a good description of the people or vehicle that seems suspicious to you. Good observation only can take place when your business and surrounding areas are well lit, so repair broken lights or install new ones.
- Make sure you have as little money as possible in your store. Take your money to safer places regularly, for instance a bank. In case your store does get robbed, the robbers don’t have a big gain.
- Make sure your shop closes at the hour that’s on your permit. Don’t let your last latecoming customer be the one who takes all the money you’ve earned that entire day.
- If you have the opportunity; buy some camera’s that record whoever comes into your store. The images recorded on the camera’s can really help the police in their investigation.
When, in spite of all the taken precautions, a robbery still does take place, the Sint Maarten Police Force has got the following do’s and dont’s for you:
When the robbery is taking place
- Stay calm, because you are a better observer when you are calm.
- Watch out for your own safety.
- Let the robber(s) know you intend to cooperate, this will keep the robber calm as well. You certainly don’t want him to panic.
- Try to follow their orders precisely and calmly.
- If you must move or reach for something, inform the robber first so they’ll know what to expect.
- Hit the alarm when it is safe to do so.
- If you can, call security even if you have activated the alarm. Think of a right time to alarm possible bystanders too. They can help you by, for example, calling the police or taking a good look at the suspect. Two pairs of eyes see more than one.
- Don’t focus on the weapon, but try to observe the surrounding area. Observe every detail about the robber and note the means and direction of the escape (if you can). This information is very important for forensics and further investigation.
- Try not to resist
- Never outwardly panic.
- When you scream gesture or do anything to call attention to the situation, first think of the right time to do so.
- Never assume that a gun is not real, not loaded, or that a young and innocent looking robber will not shoot you.
- Do not offer or volunteer more than is demanded.
- Make no sudden movements that may anger the robber or cause them to panic.
After the robbery has occurred:
- Call the police as soon as you can and secure the scene to preserve any evidence. Lock the doors, keep people away from the areas that the robbers were in and secure any and all evidence that may have been left behind by the suspects. Also don’t touch anything the robber has touched. These measures are extremely important for the forensic investigation.
- Immediately write down information about the incident and robbers specifically.
- Write down exactly what you saw, and have anyone who had seen the event do the same. Ask witnesses to stay with you until the police has arrived.
- Only record factual information. Do not guess at anything you are unsure of and do not compare your own information with witnesses. The more factual information we have got, the better it is for our investigation.
- Get as much information about the escape without going after them:
a. What means did they use?
b. What direction did they go?
c. Were there any accomplices
d. If they used a car, what are the make, model, and colour or tag number?
- If people, who saw what happened cannot stay, get their name, address and telephone number for the police. They might be important witnesses who can help us catch whoever committed the robbery.
What to tell 911?
- We have been robbed.
- Identify yourself, make very clear where you are.
- Stay on the line and answer the questions the police employee asks you.
KPSM Press Release
Source: St. Martin News Network http://www.smn-news.com/st-maarten-st-martin-news/27493-safety-tips-in-the-event-of-an-armed-robbery.html