The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has developed the following information to help you ensure you know what to do during a robbery and to what to do after one has occurred. Additionally, the HRPS recommends that your business adopts additional measures to help minimize the risk of a commercial robbery.

In the Event of a Robbery

  • Do not do anything to provoke the suspect.
  • Call 9-1-1 as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Lock the door and close the business immediately after the suspect leaves.
  • Do not let people walk over the area where the suspect travelled.
  • Do not touch or clean up anything that was disturbed.
  • Remain calm and try to remember what the suspect touched, whether they were wearing gloves, and which direction they fled.

Upon Discovery of a Break-In

  • Call police immediately and avoid entering the premises.
  • Wait for police to clear the premises for possible remaining suspects.
  • Do not open for business.
  • If you must enter, avoid walking over the path that suspects may have taken. Walk close to the edge of walls. Even if you can't see footwear impressions, they may still be present and visualized by Forensic Officers.
  • Do not touch anything. Suspect fingerprints may be smudged or overlapped.
  • Avoid cleaning up evidence until a Forensic Officer has completed their examination.

Minimize the risk of a commercial robbery

Store Setup

  • Install a high quality video alarm system. Clean and inspect your system regularly. Retain several days of saved video surveillance. It is likely someone connected to the crime has attended the store prior to an incident.
  • Angle cameras to record the cash area and all doors and windows.
  • Position cash registers so they can be easily viewed by someone outside.
  • Ensure that inventory lists are accurate and up-to-date. If items stolen during an incident are equipped with serial numbers, provide them as soon as possible to responding officers.
  • Maintain your store's external environment. Ensure mature trees and shrubbery are trimmed to improve sight lines from access points.
  • Maintain bright lighting both inside and out.
  • Install window stickers, height markers, and cash handling stickers.
  • Keep police emergency numbers by the telephone at all times.
  • Keep side and service doors locked at all times. Do not use the back door.
  • Clean all glass surfaces and create a log of when cleaning was completed. This can assist police during an investigation with fingerprints if a robbery occurs.
  • Keep floors clean to minimize the number of footwear impressions.
  • Move interior and exterior displays, or signage, that obscure sight-lines which could provide a potential hiding spot for a robber from store windows.

Attentiveness and Interactions

  • Keep active and alert in the store. Do not be caught off-guard.
  • Note possible hiding spots and escape routes around your business.
  • Greet each customer as they enter the store. If a person appears to be loitering, ask them if they need assistance.
  • Watch for loiterers inside or outside, in car, or on foot. If you become suspicious about a person or vehicle, note the description, licence plate number, and contact the police immediately.
  • Have deliveries made during evenings and night hours of operation to promote increased activity. Use the front door only.
  • If possible, encourage police vehicles and taxis to use your business parking lot.


  • Keep cash floats at a minimum. Use a drop safe so as not to keep large amounts of cash in the till.
  • Record the serial numbers and denominations of a small number of bills. Place some in the register(s) as well as in bank deposit bags. In the event of a robbery, these bills should be passed to the robber.
  • Do not count cash or open the safe in public view.
  • Make regular bank deposits at irregular times. Do not establish a pattern for a robber.
  • When possible, make bank deposits during banking hours. Use unmarked packages to transport the money.