• Business Watch


    As part of its crime prevention efforts, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office introduced Business Watch, a program designed to enhance safety at local businesses and shopping centers.

    Many people are familiar with Neighborhood Watch, which empowers them to identify and react to crime and suspicious activity in their communities.

    Business Watch is an offshoot of the Neighborhood Watch concept. It is designed to reduce crime in commercial areas through heightened awareness and direct communication between the sheriff's office and local businesses. Business Watch provides businesses the tools to prevent, react to and recover from crime.

    The Program

    Crime prevention sheriff's deputies identify interested business owners and enroll their businesses in the program. The deputies provide businesses with training on robbery and burglary prevention, handling check and credit card fraud and how lighting and other physical enhancements can deter crime. Other training topics include personal safety for employees, parking lot security and how to recognize and report suspicious incidents.

    Once equipped with the information they need, businesses can be more vigilant, aware and prepared for identifying and reacting to criminal activity in and around their facilities.

    The sheriff's office also emails information about crime trends. These communications may be used to alert businesses to particular public safety issues. Email alerts can also be used to distribute physical descriptions of at-large robbery suspects to raise awareness and safety among employees.

    Business Watch helps build relationships among store owners, employees and the sheriff's office. Relationships among businesses located near one another are also enhanced through better communication. By watching out for one another, businesses can maintain a safer working and shopping atmosphere. The key to the program is active and engaged business-owner and employee participation.

    Business Watch stickers displayed in shop windows will signal to customers and would-be criminals that the business is trained and active in preventing crime and creating a safe shopping environment.

    Finally, businesses enrolled in Business Watch provide after-hours contact information to the sheriff's office so a deputy can notify an owner if crime occurs at their business.

    Loss Prevention

    Crime prevention deputies hold quarterly meetings with loss-prevention managers and store managers to share information and discuss local and national trends affecting store safety.

    Large national retailers with restrictions on sharing information can still gather valuable information, and they can share concerns with crime prevention deputies to help other businesses.