Protecting yourself during an armed robbery - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Protecting yourself during an armed robbery

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With a dozen armed robberies in the first 40 days of 2014, it's important to know how to protect yourself if you're ever the victim of an armed robbery.

Sioux Falls Police say the most important thing to do is listen and cooperate with the robber; give them what they are asking for instead of putting up a fight.

"We'd rather have property or money get taken and be lost rather than someone have to deal with an injury or a death," said officer Sam Clemens with the Sioux Falls Police Department.

What you can do to help police is pay attention. Look for any details about the robber, the weapon and the get away vehicle.

Even if the robber is wearing a mask, try to asses the person's eye color, hair color, skin color, their approximate height and weight and look for tattoos, scars or other markings that could help police track down the suspect.

Another extremely important thing witnesses can look for is a license plate number or description of the get away vehicle.

With the help of witness descriptions, Sioux Falls Police officers have been able to apprehend many armed robbery suspects.

"The chances are if you commit a robbery in Sioux Falls you're going to get caught...it may not be within a day or two. It may take a couple of weeks or even a couple of months, but the detectives that we have working these cases are very good at what they do and they are able to track down people who are responsible for committing the robberies," said Clemens.

The Sioux Falls Police department has a 60 to 70 percent clearance rate for armed robberies, which is well above the national average. Clemens says the clearance rate is likely even higher as many suspects charged for one or two armed robberies may actually be responsible for others where there wasn't enough evidence to file charges.

As for the rate of robberies Sioux Falls has seen this year, Clemens said the numbers aren't any higher than previous years. In fact, Sioux Falls still has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, but a string of armed robberies happening around the same time can cause concern.

"Once we have one or two robberies there will be several. We could be looking at a period of a week or two weeks or even a month...you look at the number of robberies and when they've happened, there is usually a cluster of them and then things will die off for a little bit and then at some point in time they will start springing up back again. There is really no rime or reason to when they happen like what time of year if its winter or summer it doesn't seem to matter," said Clemens.

Sioux Falls Police also say there's really nothing a business owner or customer can do to try and prevent an armed robbery. Increased surveillance can be a good deterrence, but its not a guarantee.

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