Hee..ll..oo! He-ll-oo! Is that the Police? Robbery attack at my residence pl-ease…, Police: Give us the location Sir? House no. 12A, Black Berry Street, Lashibi….! Please it’s a green storey building,… right after the Lashibi roundabout, directly opposite the wooden ..…..! Phone line truncated. Police: Hello….. Hello ….. Sir! Sir! Sorry!
Very unfortunate! This was a scenario of a distress call received in the police control room one fateful Tuesday, around 2:10 am. It was the voice of a fifteen-year old boy who overheard loud command voices from his parents’ room and suspecting robbery, quickly called the police hotline for help. Unfortunately, he could not give detailed and accurate direction to the house before he was also spotted by the robbers.
Many people have become victims of robbery in diverse ways, either on the street, work place, in a vehicle, residence, at the beach, among other places. This experience sometimes leaves the victim in perpetual fear and trauma and may require psychological assistance.
The Criminal Offences Act, (Act 29/60), Section 150, defines robbery as stealing a thing with the use of force. It further stipulates that stealing with the use of threat or criminal assault or harm to any other person with the intent to prevent or overcome the likely resistance from the victim.
In any robbery situation, there should be an element of threat or force used against your person than your property. The emphasis is on the threat of harm used by the suspect against you the individual in an attempt to possess your property. If you are not confronted with force or threat, it cannot be considered as robbery. For example, if someone breaks into your home or work place in your absence, it is burglary because the suspect was after your property and not you the person. In this case, he could not have used threats or threat of harm in your absence.
Robbery is always done in haste because perpetrators know it is a very dangerous and risky business to venture so they employ quick but dreadful ways to dispossess you of your money or property. Since time is never on their side, any delay from your end will increase the potential for violence.
Robbery can occur anytime in the day or night. What matters to your attackers is to carefully monitor your movements and know when to strike. In as much as some are inevitable, you must always be on the alert for these miscreants. Records show that activities of robbers are more rampant during holiday seasons due to the large crowd and increased volumes of money associated with such periods.
This requires adequate security consciousness and visibility on the part of the individual so as to create a hostile atmosphere for suspicious characters to operate and take advantage of least security gaps.
A person may come under attack in spite of all the security measures adopted to fortify oneself or property. In any robbery attack, it is always perfect to avoid challenging, struggling or resisting your aggressor if you are not in a position to overcome him. He may be armed but you are not. Any degree of resistance suspected may infuriate the suspect into harming you. They may be after your property and not you as a person, so surrender what they desire and spare your life.
In as much as it may be sometimes difficult to comply with the demand of an aggressor, general comportment at this moment is necessary. Raising an alarm where you may not receive the needed help is not advisable.
Unlike before, robbers in recent times gain access into buildings without alarming neighbours. They use sophisticated and noiseless-making equipment to force doors to open. Attention of patrons or others who may attempt to foil the attack is prevented. This may sometimes call for security alarms that will make the noise the robbers seek to avoid.
Given the scenario cited in the introduction, a family was in distress and called the police for help. Before that life-saving assistance arrives, it is recommended that in any robbery attack the victim observes the following
In the process of attack
Remain calm. Most often than not, it is not the wish of robbers to harm their victims, especially when they are not their main targets. They are only interested in getting money or property. Being cooperative reduces the possibility of making the robber more agitated or dangerous. Again, you stand a better chance of getting a more accurate description of the robber, which is needed in investigations and probable apprehension.
Avoid making calls: It is usual for anyone to call for help when under a robbery attack, but making a call when the robber has entered the apartment is dangerous. If it becomes convenient to call, be extremely careful. Sometimes attempts to recall police emergency numbers when terrified may be impossible. Boldly paste police numbers everywhere in the house for anyone to make that life-saving call.
Observe the robber carefully: Take a good mental note of people who attack you, their gestures, voices, heights, tribal marks, etc. to enable you to identify them when arrested. The trepidation of the scene may not permit you to observe critically but note as many details as possible.
Avoid argument and struggle with the robber: The robber has already taken a major risk by entering your apartment and is as frightened as you are. Due to this, any additional provocation from your end is likely to worsen the case. You are left with no other option than to give the robber exactly what he wants and do it quickly.
Avoid identifying a robber: You will be signing your death warrant the moment you recognize and call the robber by his name. Knowing that you might expose them, any member of the gang could eliminate you before you expose them.
Avoid pulling a weapon whilst under attack: This is a very dangerous thing to do. No matter how charged you may be, playing smart to pull a weapon whist under attack could end your life. The weapon they may be possessing may not even be real or functioning and you stand the risk of being harmed with your own weapon. You can resort to the weapon when you sense a robbery attack where the robbers have not gained entry into your apartment, but not when you are already under attack.
Note the weapon used. Observation is always essential in every aspect of a robbery attack. Try to take a fleeting look at the type of weapon being used enough to identify it.
Note the vehicle used by the robbers: It is always important to observe the vehicle if any, used to commit the crime. Pay more attention to the colour, model, make, type and any other relevant information.
After the Robbery incident:
Call the police immediately: Avoid entertaining delays after any robbery attack and call the police instantly; this may hasten the suspect’s arrest. If your phones have been taken by the robbers, seek help from a neighbour to make the call on your behalf.
Prevent neighbours from the crime scene: If the police have not yet arrived, stop sympathizers and witnesses from perambulating the crime scene. Important evidential materials may be distorted or tampered with. Witnesses may be asked to remain on the premises until the police arrive.
Do not touch or discuss the incident: As much as possible, avoid narrating the incident to people. Safe your breath and strength for the right authority. You will have ample time when the crime scene experts arrive. Handling objects already touched by the robbers may interfere or destroy fingerprint samples.
Give some thought to the points enumerated above and always stay safe.
For any information on crime and police assistance, call National Crimefighters Numbers
0302 773695 0302 773906
MTN & Vodafone Toll Free: 18555
191(Vodafone/Expresso/Airtel & TiGO)