New statistics show that armed robberies remain a major threat to hotels. Moyra Kemp-McCarrison, Aon’s Hospitality National Practice Manager, outlines the precautions hoteliers can take to minimise the risk of such an attack.

The Australian Institute of Criminology’s recently published National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program Annual Report shows that the characteristics of these incidents have changed since its last study.

According to the report, during the study period, there were over 330 incidents of armed robbery recorded in licensed venues in Australia.

Relative to other armed robberies, incidents at licensed premises tend to be committed:

  • Using a firearm as the weapon. Figures suggest that firearms were three times more likely to be used in a licensed premise when compared with all other locations.
  • By lone offenders. Nineteen percent of incidents were committed by a lone offender and only three percent were committed by three or more offenders. This is in contrast to the previous year, where 10 percent were committed by groups of four or more.

Tips for managing the risks

Assess your premises and your everyday operations and identify aspects that make your hotel an attractive target for criminals. Here are some tips:

Cash handling

  • Keep money out of sight.
  • Train all staff in the handling of cash.
  • Limit the amount of cash held at the business to the minimal required.
  • Avoid following the same routine every time you transport cash.

Visibility into your hotel

  • Ensure the outside of your business is well lit at night and that the front doors and windows allow good, two-way visibility.
  • Install video camera surveillance and check that the equipment is in good working condition and turned on at all times.

Staff procedures

  • Always have at least two staff working at opening and closing times. Be sure that their duties don’t take them away from the cash register area for long periods of time.
  • Keep side and back doors locked during business hours. Have employees use the main entrance, if possible.
  • Before closing, check the office, back rooms and rest rooms to make sure no one is there.

Responding to an armed robbery

While we can’t give you legal advice, following are some common sense tips. Please note these tips do not replace formal training.

  • Safety is your priority. Remain calm and quiet and avoid drawing attention to yourself. Stay out of the danger area, do exactly what you are told. Allow the robber/s to leave and do not attempt to chase them, instead observe the direction of departure and get-away car details only if it is safe to do so.
  • Observe what you can. Make a mental note of the robber’s appearance and type of weapon. Look for identifying characteristics, including scars, tattoos and speech patterns.
  • Call the police and secure the crime scene. When it is safe, immediately call the police to make a full report to the police before discussing the hold up with other staff. Don’t touch anything as you may destroy vital clues. Ask all witnesses to remain until the police arrive.

The full National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program Annual Report is available online at

For more information and a no-obligation quote, contact Aon at: or go to

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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