Interview with a Robbery Squad Cop


I was recently able to get some facetime with a robbery squad police officer from one of the local police departments in the DC Metro area and ask him a variety of

Robbery not allowed

Robbery not allowed (Photo credit: Arenamontanus)

questions about his job.

What does robbery squad do?

A robbery task force, or ours in particular, is a unit comprised of plain-clothes policemen that operate in unmarked cars. We utilize current crime trends and patterns to determine our area of operation.

We deploy typically to high crime areas, but have found success in more affluent neighborhoods as well.

Our main tactics involve identifying potential targets (ie, stores, taxi drivers, patrons walking home from a bar etc) and providing surveillance and protection for those targets.

We also identify potential suspects and intervene based on reasonable suspicion for investigative stops or probable cause for arrests.

Potential suspects meaning: subjects wearing ski-masks loitering in an alley behind a bar or something to that effect.

We have stopped several robberies in progress, recovered dozens of illegal firearms and reduced violent crime in our area of operation by statistics as high as 85%.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

The most rewarding aspect is providing safety to citizens that go out in their everyday lives while hunting the human predators that prey on them.

It is not a perfect a world, and citizens should take personal safety into their every routine, but it is not the victim’s fault when a crime occurs.

The fault lies solely on the offender, and arresting and prosecuting violent criminals is in itself rewarding.

Where do robberies most often occur?

Robberies can occur anywhere, but are typically isolated to high crime neighborhoods if we are talking about sheer statistics. However, robberies can occur anywhere.

Criminals often target individuals in nice neighborhoods due to the possibility of obtaining more money, jewelry and nice objects.

Criminals also target the poor and destitute due to the fact that some of the crimes will possibly go unreported.

At what angles do muggers often approach their victims?

Muggers or robbers approach victims from many angles.

Some criminals are very brazen and attack from head on.

Others are more cowardly and attack from the rear when their victim isn’t paying attention.

It depends on the victim and their ability to defend themselves, the environment in which the crime is taking place, and the physical ability of the robber or whether or not they have a weapon.

How do robberies often start?

Some robberies begin with the offender verbally engaging the suspect in an attempt to “feel out” the target and or distract them. The most common phrase is “You got the time?” Some robberies have no warning however.

How many bad guys are often in a robbery crew?

A robbery “crew” consists of more than one individual. However, robberies are committed by different types of offenders. There are solo robbers and crews of robbers. Most of the time it depends on what target is being robbed.

Stores and establishments usually are hit by more than one robber, while a pedestrian can be targeted by a solo offender.

If there are multiple attackers, they tend to try to overpower their victim in a group beating. Its usually very quick and very brutal.

Some victims have been seriously injured by this, while others have suffered only bumps and bruises. If the robbery is armed, there is usually one subject that holds the weapon and another subject that will go through the pockets of the victim.

There are also other robbers who utilize an individual to cut off the escape route of the victims.

At what time of day do robberies typically occur?

Robberies can occur at any time of day or night. Typically robbery patterns change depending on the neighborhood involved. A store is typically robbed very late at night or in the early morning. Pedestrians are usually robbed in the nighttime, however younger people like school children are usually robbed in the daytime hours.

Robberies occur anywhere there is a potential target without protection and or witnesses. Nightclubs and bars typically have their patrons robbed when they are on their way home stumbling through back alleys and such. Carjackings can occur in bad neighborhoods when stopped at a stoplight or parked in a parking lot without anyone else around.

What sort of criminal records do the suspects you arrest often have?

Rap sheets, or criminal histories, vary from suspect to suspect. Most robbers are career criminals and have lengthy criminal backgrounds. Several are convicted felons, individuals out on parole or even individuals currently on GPS monitoring or probation for other violent crimes. Criminals tend to find one particular trade and stick with it.

It is not uncommon to find robbers who deal drugs or drug dealers who do robberies however.

What sort of weapons do you often take from the suspects you arrest?

As far as the weapons recovered, they often vary.

Most common, robbers will beat their victims with their bare hands in a mass, group attack.

Armed robbers usually are armed with a handgun.

Several robbers have been using Airsoft guns recently due to the fact that if you are caught carrying a BB gun, its a misdemeanor, vs a felony for a real pistol.

The firearms recovered are usually obtained illegally, are stolen, or taken through burglaries.

Are robberies often planned out or are they “spur of the moment” events?

Robberies often take place against targets of opportunity.

Examples include someone walking home distracted on their smartphone, or a convenience store with only one clerk working behind the counter.

Bank Robberies and large scale commercial robberies are usually planned out ahead of time by a more professional criminal. Street robbers will go out with the intent of robbing someone, but will hunt for the most ideal target.

Thank you for your time.

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Firearms Instructor in the DC Metro Area

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Posted in Awareness, Officer Safety, Tactics, True Crime

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