As part of its crime prevention efforts, the Sheriff's Office introduced Business Watch, a program aimed at enhancing safety at local businesses and shopping centers. Business owners, their employees and customers are often affected by crime: from vandalism to check fraud to robbery. Business Watch can give businesses the tools to prevent, react to, and recover from crime.
Many people are familiar with Neighborhood Watch. Neighborhood Watch links residents in a partnership with their local law enforcement agency, and empowers them to identify and react to crime and suspicious activity in their communities. Active Neighborhood Watch groups have proven to be effective in deterring crime and identifying crime trends in residential areas.
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. Nationally, businesses are robbed ten times more often than individuals, and businesses are victims of nighttime burglaries more than residential homes. In Jefferson County in 2005, businesses were most often the targets of theft and fraud.
Crime Prevention deputies from the Sheriff's Office 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 provides information on crime trends directly via e-mail. These e-mail alerts may be used to alert businesses to particular public safety issues, such as the link between purchases of cold medicines and methamphetamine production. E-mail 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 between 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. Like Neighborhood Watch, Business Watch has the power to prevent crime. The key to the program is active and engaged participation by business owners and employees.
A Business Watch sticker for display 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 that if a crime does occur, a deputy can locate the owners.
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 information-sharing can still gather valuable information, as well as share concerns with Crime Prevention in order to aid other businesses.
To Join Business Watch
For more information or to participate in Business Watch, contact Crime Prevention at 303-271-5363 (north), 720-497-7860 (mountains) or 720-497-7202 (south Jeffco).
Oct 24, 2012 12:55 PM