Police arm business owners with information

Oak Bay seminar will advise merchants on methods to reduce their risk of robbery

In the wake of a series of robberies this winter

In the wake of a series of robberies this winter

Robbery is, by definition, to take property from a person or place by force or threat of force.

While it’s a rarity in Oak Bay, they do happen and three businesses within the municipal boundaries were hit in December.

“All the merchants did quite well,” said Const. Rick Anthony, community liaison officer. Bear spray was dispersed in two incidents but no other injuries were reported.

In response, Oak Bay Police Department hopes to arm business owners and employees with knowledge and awareness for that just in case. Anthony will lead a free robbery prevention and awareness seminar Saturday at Monterey Recreation Centre.

“What we’re going to try and teach people is to be a good witness. The best thing to do is comply,” said Anthony. “We don’t want people to act out. Life is more important than money or your cellphone. I’m always surprised how calm people can be in a robbery.”

Composure is key and can lead to memory recall, which is also critical.

“We want to teach people to pay attention to things people can’t change,” Anthony said. Absolutes such as scars, tattoos or eye colour can’t be pulled off like a hoody or ball cap and discarded.

“People need to trust their instincts,” Anthony added. “We all have the ability to do it when we have to.”

The seminar will also cover issues such as positioning of items such as the cash register or surveillance equipment.

“There’s many templates for robbery prevention and many carry over into theft prevention,” he added.

The Oak Bay Police Department’s free robbery prevention and awareness seminar is Feb. 21 at 1442 Monterey Ave. from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Garry Oak Room.

“There’s lots of value in learning a little bit you didn’t know,” Anthony said. “The likelihood of being robbed is pretty slim but if it does happen. We want you to be prepared.”