HOW TO SURVIVE AN ARMED ROBBERY
How to Survive a Bank Robbery
A bank robbery can be a scary and traumatic experience. Unlike the depictions of bank robberies in movies and TV, however, robberies are rare and the chances of getting hurt are slim. If you correctly interact with the robbers and manage your emotions, you can stay safe while the bank robbery occurs.
Behaving Safely During a Robbery
Stay calm.When the robbery starts, it’s likely to be chaotic and confusing. Breathe deeply and try to stay calm. Being in a heightened emotional state may cause you to do things that you normally wouldn’t do, so it’s important that you try to relax as much as possible throughout the duration of the robbery.
- Fear may temporarily immobilize you, so try to keep a clear head so you can react appropriately to the robbery.
- Read how to Stay Calm During a Robbery.
- If someone else is panicking you can calm them down by saying things like "We will get through this" or "It's scary but if we stay calm, we won't get hurt."
Comply with the robber's instructions.Listen to the bank robber’s instructions and follow them exactly as they give them. If they ask you to get down on the ground, comply as fast as possible. Give up any valuables or money that they request of you and don’t talk back to them or give them an attitude.
- If the bank robber didn't give you direct instructions or you can't understand their instructions, just lie down and put your hands behind your head.
Don’t make eye contact or stare at the robbers.Bank robbers are likely to be extremely nervous and paranoid during the robbery. For this reason, it’s important that you don’t draw any attention to yourself or make it obvious that you’re trying to see what they look like. Avoid making direct eye contact with them, and don’t stare at them for more than 1 or 2 seconds at a time.
- Be aware of your surroundings. You may be able to notice what the bank robbers look like before the bank robbery occurs.
Don’t try to intervene in the robbery.Don’t try to fight the robbers or stop the robbery because you’ll likely get hurt or killed if you do so. The money in the bank is insured, so the bank isn't losing anything in the end. Instead of trying to stop an active robbery, you can help by giving accurate descriptions of the robbers to the police after the robbery occurs and the bank robbers have left.
- Try to remember things like their hair color or what they are wearing so that you can give a description to the police.
- If you have medical training, you can try to help the wounded after the robbers leave.
- You can call the police after the robbery has ended.
Bring up a health condition you have to avoid being taken hostage.In very rare circumstances, the robbers may want to take hostages. If you are in perfect health, make up a story about medication that you need or health problems that you have. If you do have a health problem, explain that taking you hostage is a risk to your life. The robbers won't want any additional stress and it can prevent them from taking you hostage.
Managing Your Emotions After the Robbery
Go home and take the next day off if you feel drained.There's a chance the robbery won't be as scary as you originally thought. If this is the case, you can just go on with your day as usual. After a robbery, however, there's a chance you’ll be emotionally and physically drained. Take the next day off from work or school if the robbery affected you so that you can give yourself time to process the emotions you had during and after the robbery.
Avoid obsessing over fearful thoughts of the future.It’s possible that after the robbery, you’ll develop a fear of it happening again in the future. Realize that bank robberies are a fairly uncommon occurrence. Don’t let your fear prevent you from going outside or going to the bank, and don’t obsess over thoughts of the future. It may help to write out the situation in a journal.
- You can try to face your fears by going back to the bank that was robbed. The more that you go back to the source of your fear, the less it will affect your life.
- If your fear is preventing you from going to school or work, you should see a professional therapist or counselor.
Speak to a counselor.Try going to a crisis counselor 12-24 hours after the robbery to make sure that you are managing your emotions in a healthy way. Usually, the bank or police department will provide the counselors for free. They may suggest seeing a therapist for a period of time if you’re having problems processing the robbery in your mind.
- If your crisis counselor says everything is okay, it’s possible that fearful or anxiety-filled emotions may occur weeks or months after the robbery. In this case, you should consider seeing a therapist or psychiatrist.
QuestionWould I get in trouble if I helped the robbers and took a cut of the money even if I wasn't initially involved?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you would be an accessory after the fact and you would definitely face charges.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the robber speaks in a foreign language? How would you fill out your statement?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you know what language the robber was speaking, you can add that information to the report. It doesn't necessarily matter what the robber said as it might not be an identifying factor.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if the robber used me as a human shield against the cops?Jeffrey LouieCommunity AnswerThe cops would not shoot unless you were out of the way. Keep calm. If the robber's grip is weak, try to get away. If the grip is firm, stay calm also. The robber would not shoot, he knows that that will be trouble.Thanks!
QuestionIf I am a customer of the bank, and the robber injures me, who pays my medical bill?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you were injured and your insurance does not cover the cost of your treatment, it is likely the bank would be liable to pay but you may have to sue them to get your money.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the robber has a gun to my head?Top AnswererFollow their instructions and do not move or try to be the hero - it will not work. Keep in mind that they may kill people to prove they're serious, so don't count on getting out.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I have a gun with me when the bank is being robbed?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDo not pull out the gun, as if the police show up at the wrong time, they might take you for the robber and shoot you. Make sure the robber does not see the gun.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I survive a shop robbery?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerRemind yourself to stay relaxed, quiet and in control of yourself. You need to keep calm to clearly see the robber's traits, so you can describe him to the police after. Tell yourself that you are brave and will be able to make it through the robbery. Try thinking something like “I'm okay. I will survive this. I am brave enough to make it through this.”Thanks!
QuestionWhy don't robbers take hostages often?Top AnswererIt's too messy. Most bank robbers are after money, which is of course why they'd choose a bank. Taking hostages makes them even more hunted, and most of them don't see a need to after all the cash is emptied.Thanks!
QuestionDo bank robbers kill people during robberies?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on the specific robbers. Sometimes they do end up killing people, but it is usually an accident when they do. Their primary focus is on obtaining money.Thanks!
Video: 44 Minutes  - Bank robbery
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