Norfolk police issue safety tips after uptick in commercial robberies

Norfolk police say this is the month they see an uptick in commercial robberies.

The holiday season can bring out the best in people, but it can also bring out the worst.

Norfolk police say this is the month they see an uptick in commercial robberies.

“It’s Christmas time so they’re trying to find some easy money to buy those Christmas presents for their families or their kids,” said Norfolk Police’s Daniel Hudson.

Police say robbers often target stores open late — like convenience stores or gas stations.

“It is a concerning time. A robbery to a business is probably one of the scariest times for a business owner, manager, or even a clerk,” Hudson said.

But NPD has some tips to keep businesses, and those who work inside, safe this season.

First, focus on prevention. That means knowing what makes you a target, and making some simple changes, like improving lighting or removing signage from windows.

“If you have the advertisement signs removed from the window you can see them coming in first, so if you see anyone who is suspicious, make sure you hit the panic button,” Hudson said. “We’d rather respond to 1,000 false calls than one real call.”

If your business is robbed, Hudson says to always comply with the demands.

“In a lot of the cases that we have with these commercial robberies, these suspects just want the money. So if you give them what they want, they can leave the store, and then call us.”

And stay calm, it will help you be a good witness.

“Try to remember everything that they said,” Hudson added. “Try to remember every distinguishing characteristic they have — any scars, marks, or tattoos. What they’re wearing from head to toe.”

If you want some extra help, NPD can come to your business and look for any vulnerabilities, to help you set yourself up to stay safe.

Vulnerabilities are made of poor lighting, bad location of security cameras, or you know those signs in front of the window where you cant see in and out, those are some vulnerabilities that a suspect can exploit,” Hudson said.