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Mistakes to Avoid During a Robbery

Many employees will never experience a robbery. But those who do

will fnd that it can be a very traumatic experience. Approximately 80
percent of bank robberies involve a lone robber who holds up a lone
teller. The robber may hand the teller a note and may or may not
display a weapon. The robbers !oal is to appear simply as a customer
conductin! a transaction. "e doesnt want to be noticed and counts on
only one witness # the teller.
Take%over robberies have been increasin! in the last few years and
can be extremely dan!erous. These robbers& who usually travel in
!roups& will enter the branch with !uns drawn and be very
intimidatin!& creatin! a volatile situation. The robbers may 'ump the
teller counter and force tellers down to the (oor.
The Bank )rotection Act re*uires that all employees and o+icers be
trained annually on proper procedures for robberies& larcenies and
bur!laries. Most fnancial institutions will train their tellers but fail to
reco!ni,e the importance of trainin! all employees and o+icers
re!ardin! their responsibilities under the protection act.
-nfortunately& this lack of trainin! has resulted in some very
dan!erous actions taken by employees.
Annual security trainin! of employees will meet the re*uirements of
the Bank )rotection Act but annually is not su+icient. Bank .ecurity
/+icers should constantly be remindin! tellers of proper procedures
they should follow durin! a robbery throu!hout the year. This can be
accomplished by sendin! out memos& distributin! newspaper stories
or security articles about robberies& which is a form of continuin!
1. Do not treat the holdup note as a joke or a prank. There have
been several instances in which a teller has been handed a holdup
Mistakes to Avoid During a Robbery has been adapted from the work of Mr. Tony Brissette !resident
Brissettee "onsu#ting $ervi%es.
Tool 3: Employee Training and Education
note and believes the customer is 'okin!. 0f the teller does not
believe the note is serious& the robber may feel forced to display a
weapon& escalatin! the likelihood of harm.
2. Do not create any surprises for the robber. 0n some cases&
tellers have abandoned their teller station if they dont observe a
weapon. /thers have been advised to pretend to faint. These
actions may be successful in thwartin! the robber& who may simply
run out of the branch. But if the robber is really desperate& the
tellers actions may cause the robber to display a weapon and
possibly !rab a customer in the lobby. 1o exactly what the robber
tells you to do.
3. Do not carry excess cash in your cash drawer. 2obbers can
potentially come back if theyre !iven lar!e amounts of cash.
Tellers should adhere to their institution3s cash limits for both top
drawer and teller station. 0f a teller accepts a lar!e cash deposit&
excess cash should be transferred to the head teller immediately.
4. Do not ofer to rob the entire institution for the robber. /nly
!ive to the robber the money demanded. 1ont ask if the robber
wants the cash in your second drawer.
5. Do not attempt to brin attention to the robbery.
.tatistically& employees who follow the robbers instructions are
seldom in'ured in the course of a robbery. "andle the robber as you
would a re!ular customer. The most important role you have in this
robbery is to ensure the safety of all employees and customers in
the branch. Brin!in! attention to the robber could compromise the
safety of all.
!. Do not arue with the robber or attempt to talk him or her
out of the robbery. Ar!uin!& confrontin! or attemptin! to talk the
robber out of the crime will increase the likelihood that others will
become aware a robbery is in pro!ress and escalate the level of
". Do not tell customers that you ha#e just been robbed. After
one robbery& 'ust as the robber reached the front door& the teller
yelled out 4!rab him& he 'ust robbed me.4 This was an extremely
dan!erous action that places the safety of employees and
customers in dan!er. 5hat if a customer did attempt to !rab the
robber and a stru!!le took place in which a weapon was used and
either a customer or employee was in'ured or killed6 /n occasion&
customers& believin! they are actin! as !ood .amaritans& have
2003 American Bankers Association, Washington, D.C.
confronted or chased robbers and increased the likelihood of
dan!er to themselves and others.
$. Do not e#er lea#e the bank after a robbery. 0n numerous cases
after the robber left the branch& an employee will either exit the
branch to see if they can observe the robbers !etaway or % worse %
actually pursue the robber in a chase. This type of action not only
places the employee in dan!er but also poses a threat to others. 0f
durin! such a chase or attempt to observe a robber that someone is
in'ured& the institution will have potential liability in a possible civil
action. 8et the police pursue the robber. 0f you are taken hosta!e&
also attempt to fnd ways to not leave the branch.
%. &n a take'o#er robbery( do not make sudden mo#ements. 1o
not attempt to activate hold up alarms& run out of the branch& or
attempt to call the police. Take%over robberies are extremely
dan!erous because the robbers are most likely displayin! weapons.
0f you are on the telephone when a take%over robbery occurs han!
the telephone up and do not answer any in%comin! calls unless
instructed to by the robbers. Attemptin! to activate an alarm can
also be very dan!erous if the robbers observe you durin! your
attempt. 1o not try to escape the robbery& as robbers will be
closely watchin! for this activity.
2003 American Bankers Association, Washington, D.C.
1). Do not e#er attempt to enae the robber*s+ in a strule.
Althou!h most of us would never ima!ine en!a!in! a robber in a
physical confrontation& there have been cases in which bank
security !uards& branch mana!ers and other employees have
physically confronted bank robbers. 2emember this type of
response to a robber increases the level of dan!er to all employees
and customers in the branch.
2003 American Bankers Association, Washington, D.C.