Robbery detectives talk about how to best protect yourself from criminals

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Houston detectives weigh in on how you should react if you find yourself being robbed. (KTRK)

After spending decades fighting criminals on the streets, Houston robbery detectives have a few things to tell us that criminals we spoke to left out.

We recently went to Texas prisons to talk directly to convicted robbers about their crimes.

Then we went to the people responsible for catching them.

"They all get caught at some point," Houston police officer Jeff Brieden told ABC13.

But not as quickly as detectives hope they will be.

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Houston robbery detectives give you the inside look at what to do to avoid becoming a victim.

"I have people tell me they got caught on their first robbery," detective Jeff Miller said. "I don't believe it."

He shouldn't at least not according to our survey of convicted armed robbers:

  • 77 percent of them said they'd done more than one
  • 12 percent said they'd done more than 20

"These crooks, they're not rocket scientists, but when it comes to robbery, they are good at what they do," Miller said.

The armed robbers told us your best bet is to comply. Houston detectives agree fighting back can be a bad bet.

"It's not worth it," Brieden said. "Just step back and be a good witness."

The convicts didn't tell us from prison how important it was to be a good witness, and you can't blame them -- they don't want you to be a good witness.

"I have 10-11 active cases right now," Miller said.

There are things detectives need to get a robbery case to the top of the list of solved cases, Miller said.

Be specific: What did the tattoo say? What hand was the gun in? What words did he say? Even in the midst of the stress, try to remember details.

"That it's a dark brown Chevrolet... I don't care," Miller said. "Give me the license plate."

"Say you're able to get two letters and something at the end," Brieden said. "We can solve cases with that."

More than anything, put the phone down, look around and maybe avoid a robbery in the first place.

"Pay attention to your surroundings," Miller said. "Better to be paranoid than a robbery victim."

There's an armed robbery every 75 minutes in Houston. Detectives can't work on some cases because victims don't remember or report enough detail to help them work the case, they said.

You can view videos of robberies on the Houston Police robbery website and review unsolved cases. If you recognize someone, you can send in a tip anonymously to Crime Stoppers for a reward.

Do you have a story tip, idea or question for Ted Oberg Investigates? Let us know, at

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Ted Oberg Investigatesarmed robberyrobberyattempted robberyHouston
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