WASHINGTON - After a number of gas station and convenience store robberies, the Prince George's County Police Department is out with tips to prevent others and some advice for witnesses.
The police department's new safety video is tied to a new county law that takes effect Jan. 1. The law requires convenience stores to have higher quality security cameras looking at the registers, a plan to keep large amounts of cash out of the registers and signs to warn would-be robbers of the security systems.
Should a worker or customer witness a robbery, the police department says it's important to comply with the robber's demands while taking note of any of the robber's identifying features.
If possible, police say workers should try to activate a silent alarm, and all witnesses should try to remember any details about how the robber or robbers got away. That includes any information about a getaway car, including its make, model, color, license plate information and which direction the robbers fled.
Specifically, police say witnesses should take note of the height, hair color, race, clothing, tattoos or other identifying marks on the robber or robbers, and anything else that might stand out, such as a unique accent or chipped tooth.
After a robbery, police say the store workers should lock the door to prevent the robbers from returning. Police say customers should stay inside until police arrive to talk to them. Store workers or other witnesses may want to write down what they saw right away while it's fresh.
To help deter robberies, police suggest that a drop safe, which only allows employees to put money in but not remove it, should be placed close to the cash registers. Other cash should be kept out of sight, and only counted in back rooms. Stores should make regular deposits at the bank, but vary the time of day the cash is taken from the store so that criminals cannot predict it.
The warning signs and security cameras can also remind robbers that their crimes may not pay off in the end.
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