Approximately 35 guests, consisting of chamber members, community leaders, Police officers, and local business owners, attended a Robbery Prevention presentation provided by the Tamaqua Police Department during the Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce's monthly mixer held Wednesday morning in the LCCC's Lisa Jane Scheller Student Center, located across the street from LCCC's Morgan Center Tamaqua campus.

Some aspects covered consisted of robbery prevention tips, to do lists, physical deterrents, bank deposit procedures and staying alert and being calm as well as observant during a robbery.

In addition to distributing literature and discussing robbery prevention, guest speaker Tamaqua Police Chief Dave Mattson stressed some of the duties of the Tamaqua Police Department. Mattson also pointed out the utilization of grants and other local, state and government informational resources the department uses in fighting and preventing all types of crimes, ranging from elderly abuse to the war on drugs.

Over the past few months, there has been an unusually high amount of robberies in and around Tamaqua. Mattson pointed out that Tamaqua, on average, has a lower crime rate of around 150, compared to 350 being the national average. Robberies in Tamaqua over the recent months have raised the borough's crime rate to around 210. Both Mattson and Tamaqua Police Detective Henry Woods stressed that better quality and better-placed video surveillance almost always plays a key role in solving these robberies.

Ed Paperman, owner of We R Cigarettes, also gave his appreciation to the Tamaqua Police for handling an armed robbery that occurred at his business in early December. Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce Social Committee chairman Kim Noels and executive director Linda Yulanavage stressed the Chamber's and communities great appreciation for all the hard work and year-round dedication the Tamaqua Department provides to the community.

Robbery prevention tips for businesses

Be observant! Employees and employers should always remain alert.

Ÿ Suspicious persons or vehicles around the business, especially at opening and closing time.

Ÿ People wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather, such as heavy coats during warm weather.

Try to have at least two employees open/close the business, especially if it is in the hours of darkness.

Try to use the most visible entrance to the business and avoid back/secluded entrances when opening/closing the business.

Robbery prevention "to do" list

Have a plan.

Have regular safety meetings to develop and discuss your plan.

Some elements of a good plan include:

Ÿ Employee demeanor during a robbery (do not resist)

Ÿ How to notify Police

Ÿ An escape route

Ÿ How to obtain a suspect description

Ÿ How to obtain a vehicle description and license plate number

Ÿ Have prearranged signals between employees

Ÿ How to activate alarms

Ÿ When not to activate an alarm

Ÿ Mentally review as often as possible the actions you must perform if confronted with an emergency. The plan should become second nature to you.