Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 5:48 pm | Mostly Cloudy 51º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Keep an Armed Robbery From Becoming a Tragedy

Business owners advised that cooperation and observation during a holdup are often the best ways to help police afterward.

“Give me your money. Now!”

The thought of hearing those words spoken by a person holding a weapon is enough to send chills down the spine of any small business owner. All those tricks used to foil robberies in countless movies and TV shows are just that — tricks. Armed robbers mean business, and this is no time to risk the lives of your customers, your employees or yourself.

In the event of an armed robbery, police advise victims to cooperate with thieves rather than resist them. During a holdup, the business owner should be concerned with personal and employee safety, while discretely gathering information that might be helpful to police. Try to observe characteristics like sex, age, height, weight, race and color of skin and eyes. In addition, remember identifying characteristics such as scars, tattoos, limps and speech.

Law enforcement officers suggest two easy ways to estimate height: Compare the robber with a familiar structure in the store or mark the doorframe with various heights. There is also training available to help you and your employees spot and remember distinguishing traits about thieves.  Accurate descriptions of the weapon can also be a big help. Try to notice whether the criminal touches anything: counter edges, door handles, cash register keys, etc. Don’t touch those areas until police arrive, then tell officers what the robber might have touched.


Santa Barbara SCORE meets every Wednesday, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., at 402 E. Gutierrez St., Santa Barbara. No appointment is necessary. For more information, call 805.563.0084, visit www.santabarbarascore.org or register for counseling online.

The Santa Barbara SCORE Chapter publishes a great tool for aspiring entrepreneurs, How to Start a Business in Santa Barbara County.

After the robbery, don’t take the law into your own hands by retaliating. Call the police immediately.  Police officers are trained to handle incidents such as these. Let them do their job and pursue the robber. You can help them by noting how the robber escapes. If on foot, in what direction? If in a vehicle, try to get the license plate number.

By complying with the robber and paying attention to every detail, you can be a strong witness for the police when the perpetrator is apprehended.  Your testimony may be the only evidence in a robbery case, unless identifiable money from the crime is found in possession of the suspect. Some police departments recommend that retailers maintain a stack of “bait money” for just this purpose. Keep such money within easy reach of the register; never give this money out as change to your customers. The serial number and series year of each bill are recorded and stored in a safe place, so you can relay the information to police.

You can plug into a wealth of business know-how by contacting your Santa Barbara chapter of SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE counselors offer free, confidential advice about every aspect of starting, running and growing a successful business, even mentoring.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >