When an Armed Robbery Occurs in Your Community

When an Armed Robbery Occurs in Your Community

So, randomly, earlier in June, a potentially amazing client had inquired about our Robbery Prevention training for front line workers. We decided to update it, which went from a simple refresh (update the slides) to “ok, let’s revamp this ENTIRE Robbery Prevention training” kind of project. For a couple weeks now I have been working with Charlena (our CEO, if you didn’t know) on this course and it is evolving into a really great program – we offer it to different audiences (front line workers and management) – this will be great.

Then around 11am on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, at the Bank of Montreal in Saanich, there’s a deadly bank robbery with hostages and active shooters, that rocked my city. Gunman entered the bank, wearing black clothing from head-to-toe, with armoured vests over their jacket, holding black assault rifles. It resulted in the two suspects dead and six officers injured. There was live(ish) videos on FB, with bullets flying, just blocks from where I lived as a teenager, with police officers running towards those bullets… and this happened in this really great part of town that has everything you need in a 2-4 block radius. There’s a convenience store, 2 (decent) pho restaurants, BC liquor store, McDonalds and A&W, Chinese buffet, grocery store, Tim Horton’s, Pizza Hut, Petro Can, a great pub, 2-3 banks and everything else you could possibly need in your Vancouver Island, Canadian community. All of those businesses were evacuated though for safety reasons. This was real life.

Photo below from CTV News article.

I could go on about the training, because this is my work blog (the training’s really good); but I’m more here to express my feelings on the aftermath – the ripple effects. Yes, I live on an island and my city is not very big, this happens more in the big cities – small world and all… but this has affected people I know. From my friend’s son who pretty much watched it live from his kitchen window, or my daughter’s ex-coworker she ran into today, that happened to be there in the bank (how traumatizing), checking the FB pages of the friends I have in both police forces utilized to make sure they are ok, a childhood friend (now 911 operator) posting about her family in blue and all the civilians that went through this, which must have included so many 911 calls of absolute terrified members of our community… the chaos that ensues during and even after the good guys won the gunfight, will continue on.

The police have protocol. We saw them do exactly what they were expected to do. What they have trained for. I’ll never forget seeing them run into the gunfire like that. The word ‘hero’ gets tossed around a lot, but that level of commitment to your job, your community – that’s military level greatness. Say what you want about the police, but the example set will make the next bank robbers think twice, hopefully even deter some.

Banks have protocol. For sure they do – at one point in history they were #1 for armed robberies. Do all those other businesses have protocol and training programs? I hope so. I hope that protocol and training includes their employee’s mental health after the fact. I’ve known of a few companies/corporations/ that expect the employee that got robbed the night before, to show up for work the next day. Please train YOUR management staff to do better.

With the cost of living rising to unachievable levels, the housing crisis, the gas prices all over the world, expect more desperate measures being taken by desperate people. Crime will rise just as the cost of living will rise. Be ready. Set up a Robbery Prevention Program – both for your bottom line, and for your employees’ well being. Make sure you and your staff receive training, are properly prepared for before (prevention, awareness and customer service), during an armed robbery (co-operate and stay safe) and after with follow-up care and on-going training (mental health concerns for all involved).

Every good loss prevention program involves regular training and mystery shopping. We have clients we have had for a decade now, since the beginning of Sting (SEGI.ca). The thought that they are all vulnerable to the changing levels of what some think are right and wrong right now is scary, to say the least. We look forward to them adding their thoughts into this training program – it shall continue to evolve.

Stay safe.

PS If you have been directly affected by robbery or workplace violence and would like to take our Robbery Prevention course for free – contact us by using the form below.

Lori Solley
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