Cops share tips for survival during bank robbery

Published: Jun. 29, 2011 at 8:22 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2011 at 11:26 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - For the first time Charleston Police officers host a seminar at the department for bank employees, with safety tips to best survive a bank robbery and keep customers safe.

From 2009 to present, Charleston Police say in the county and cities within there have been 14 robberies in Charleston, 15 in North Charleston, 11 in Mount Pleasant, and 9 in the county.

A weapon, note, mask, bag, and in the boldest of bank robberies, a suspect who jumps on or over the counter, police say these are all common methods of bank robbers in action, and something bank employees, like the people who attended CPD's safety training seminar must know about.

"They have to know the risk is always there," Sgt. Trevor Shelor said.

Nearly 50 people attended the class. Crime prevention officer Sgt. Shelor says there are three main things that bank employees or victims should remember for survival during a robbery.

"The biggest thing is the money is not yours, it's insured by the government. You need to comply with that bank robber's demands, and get him out of the business," Sgt. Shelor said.

During and after a robbery, police say employees and witnesses should stay calm, remember all details about the robber, and don't touch anything the robber touches.

Police tell bank employees to wait until after the robber leaves to lock the doors, and then call 911.

If possible look out windows for a getaway car and to see which way the suspect goes.

"There's a lot of things that can get solved off of fingerprints, off DNA, off video, off of simple observation of a license plate as it leaves the parking lot, and if people didn't get that, then we're paddling uphill," Sgt. Shelor said.

The FBI also took part of the safety seminar. Police say some of the main reasons these criminals strike include the money, thrill, drugs, or desperation.

To lessen the risk to your bank:

-get an alarm and surveillance system

-keep the area well-lit

-limit cash on hand

-and enforce the no hats, hoodies, and sunglasses rule at your bank

©2011 WCSC. All rights reserved.