By Sheriff Leon Lott, Special to The Sword and Shield

As your Sheriff it is my responsibility to improve the quality of life in Richland County and make sure that all citizens are cared for.  One of the best ways that I know to do this is by providing you with information that will help you help us reduce your chances of becoming the victim of a crime.

To that end, I am officially declaring October as “Richland County’s Crime Prevention Month.”

This declaration is my way of asking for your help.  It is also my way of reminding you that the primary mission of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department is to provide diversionary programs to stop the criminal justice cycle, to prevent crime and to capture those [who] would terrorize our communities by victimizing you.  This declaration is in conjunction with the effort by the National Crime Prevention Council to nationally dedicate a whole month to reminding citizens of the importance of preventing crime; I am asking that every citizen do 1 thing every day this month to help…protect you, your family and your home or business.

I am inviting you to celebrate Crime Prevention Awareness Month by practicing crime prevention (remember, though, that these efforts should be a year round priority); in return I will continue to fight crime and provide you with FREE crime prevention and training opportunities.

Each day this month I will send out, through the media and social sites, tips that will help you and your family.  You can also take advantage of the Sheriff’s Department’s FREE tools, tips, and services to help you reduce your chances of becoming a victim.   Please take advantage of FREE business, home, church or community classes that can be taught by calling the Community Action Team at 803-576-3118 or by emailing

I will continue to “Build Unity in the Community” and partner with you in every way possible.  Staying safe should be a priority for everyone. However, busy schedules, time constraints and routines often result in [our] providing criminals opportunities to make us victims. We would like to give you tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of crime when you are at home, out and about or at work. By taking a few simple precautions, you can discourage criminals and reduce your chances of becoming a victim:

1)    Remain alert at all times

2)    Be aware of what is going on around you

3)    Be prepared and take proactive steps—educate yourself on crime prevention tactics.

October 1, 2011’s Tip of the Day is robbery prevention: 

Robbery Prevention

Before a robbery:

  • Teach and practice; practice and teach (train to be alert to your surroundings, a good witnesses and involved citizen)
  • Evidence collection equipment (cameras, smooth surfaces, height tape)
  • Have policy and procedures (closing, money handling, passiv[ity], hiring and firing)

During a robbery:

  • Assure the criminal that you will give [him or her] what [he or she] want[s]
  • Announce your actions and movements
  • Have a plan
  • Be a good witness and be passive
  • Survive

7 Steps After a robbery:

1)    Lock the doors

2)    Sound the alarm/911

3)    Verify all employees are safe

4)    Preserve the crime scene

5)    Ask customers to stay

6)    Fill out suspect ID sheet

7)    Pat yourself on the back—you survived

Reporting a robbery has occurred:

    • Give your location
    • Stay calm
    • Be specific (where, what, who, give details)
    • Stay on the phone

Remember that:

You may be telling us something that we are not aware of or you may be giving us the information that we need to investigate and possibly make an arrest. Suspicious activity is an event taking place out of the ordinary which could lead to a crime or be a crime in progress.

Protective Measures to prevent robbery:

  • Limit access to work areas
  • Have alternate staff exits
  • Know how to report problems
  • Report threatening and suspicious activity to police
  • Electronic access control
  • Silent alarms
  • Metal detectors
  • Video cameras
  • Have security surveys done
  • Improve lighting and visibility


  • Allow police to become familiar with your facility.
  • Practice good crime prevention.
  • Be “law enforcement friendly.”
  • Utilize local associations to keep abreast of current trends.

I am committed to ALL citizens—by providing as much information as possible we can help make you and our communities safer.

Citizens can access important information about crime prevention, free safety training and community resources at:




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Sheriff Lott is Richland County’s Sheriff.