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.”
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.
If you are in a store that is being robbed:
• Cooperate with robbers for your own safety. Listen to their instructions closely and follow their instructions.
• Try to keep as calm as possible. Everyone reacts in a different way but try and breathe deeply until help arrives.
• Do not use your cellphone while the robbery is in progress, as this could agitate the assailants.
• Immediately try to find a sheltered spot and keep low to the ground.
• Take note of the assailants to pass information on to the authorities, i.e., what they were wearing, any distinctive clothes, markings, jewellery, etc. Try to 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.
“Whether you were in the store being robbed, or just witnessed the incident in the centre, you should seek counselling, regardless of how you might feel. It often takes some time to experience and deal with the post-traumatic stress following such robberies,” she concludes.
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