How to Survive an Armed Robbery

Basically, this is running on the assumption that you are unarmed, which for most of us, is quite likely. I won't try to make any suggestions as what to do if you are armed.

First and foremost, stay calm, and don't panic. Do what the armed robber tells you to do. Your best chance for survival is to do exactly what the robber tells you to do. If they tell you lie down and admire the floor tile, do it. If they tell you to open the safe, and you can do so, do it. Do only what they tell you to do. Don't volunteer anything. Don't try to negotiate with them. Don't try to be a hero. Don't try to fight them. Don't make eye contact. Don't escalate the situation. Remember, money and property are not as valuable as your life.

Try to remember details about the robber. Height, build, skin color, eye color, any identifying marks and tattoos, limps, speech, etc. A good means of estimating height is to use an object (like a door frame) for comparison. Try to remember what they touch, and then don't touch it yourself if you don't have to. The police can try to get latent fingerprints for identifying the robber or robbers. As soon as the robbers are gone, lock your doors and call the police. Write down any details you can remember about the robbers, any description of the weapon you can make, how the robber got away and the direction they left (were they on foot or in a vehicle? If they left in a vehicle, try to get the license number), which way they left, what they touched, etc. Do not corroborate descriptions with other employees or people, instead let the police do that.

By no means does this guarantee survival, but it will greatly improves your odds.

I garnered this from my personal experience of being robbed at gunpoint at a Bonanza restaurant in 1995 (two weeks after graduating from High School), as well as information from public safety, police, and crime prevention organizations.

I can tell you from my personal experience that when you're staring down the barrel of a gun, it looks about ten times actual size. The urge to panic is quite strong. As they say, there are no atheists in foxholes, and being robbed at gunpoint was certainly a come to Jesus meeting for me. I'm amazed at the fact I survived, and that I didn't need a change of underwear.

Since having written this node, I've received a mental health diagnosis. I was initially diagnosed with depression, but it may also be anxiety or PTSD. My therapist isn't quite sure which one yet. I'm on Paxil and going to therapy weekly. However, it is believed that being a victim of armed robbery is certainly a big source of my problems, which have included sleep problems and excessive "mental preperation" for life-threatening, dangerous, or just flat out bad situations.

If, by some chance, you go through a tramautic experience, seek help! I didn't know that I could get counciling from victim services at the time. Here I am 7 years later, still not gainfully employed, and just now starting to really get my life back. Even if you don't think you need help, it's probably best, after something that traumatic, to let a professional make that determination. I wish I had received thearpy years ago.

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