Business Watch is not just a collaborate effort between Community Policing, the RCMP and Cowichan Valley businesses. For the prosperity and safety of your business, it is vital to have a strong relationship between owners, management, and employees of a business.
An Interconnected Community: Will Arnold and Experience Cycle
- As many may be well aware of, there was a string of robberies that occurred within Duncan on Friday, February 24.
- An out of town offender chose small businesses as the target of his ill-intended actions.
- Will Arnold: Owner of Experience Cycling and our current Vice- President was contacted by multiple businesses informing him of the potential and legitimate robberies that had occurred.
- Oh La La Boutique, Duncan Music, Experience Cycling, Duncan Cobbler, and many others were targeted by this perpetrator and his getaway accomplice (who resided in the car).
- Will’s staff informed him of the situation, stayed calm during, and safely observed where the perpetrator was going after leaving Experience Cycling.
- Will observed where the car went after leaving his complex to provide further information to the RCMP.
- While in Experience Cycling, the perpetrator asked the employee what time the store was closing, with them responding 5:30pm. It was shortly after 5:00pm when this interaction occurred. This individual was likely casing the business, and waiting for them to be approaching closing time when there would be very few or no customers in the store. While a completely normal question, consider the connotations and attitude of the individual. Do they appear to be pacing, walking around the store aimlessly, saying they are just browsing? Stay vigilant, stay aware, and assess the perpetrators intentions to the best of your ability.
- The employee stayed calm and did not agitate the perpetrator.
- Informed Will of the ongoing situation.
- Answered questions professionally and accurately.
- Observed and watched the individual while in the store.
- Took note of where the individual was going after leaving the store.
- Observed the vehicle make, colour and licence plate after the vehicle departed the area.
A great job was done by Will and his team at Experience Cycling during this incident. They had the training in place to feel comfortable in this situation, handled it safely, and took note of the 4 W’s. This is a great example of pro-active training and following a crime prevention focused approach.
Be Prepared and Be Aware
- Incidents of Robbery and Burglary occur in your community whether you are prepared or not.
- Employees and Employers MUST have a communication network in place, and know what procedures to follow in these high stress situations.
- If you see something, say something.
- By establishing a network of community relationships, we can broadcast information to our friends and neighbours regarding possible and actual instances of robbery.
- This allows other businesses to be aware of, and be prepared for these potentially dangerous situations.
- By following these simple steps, our local businesses can stay safer in an effort to prevent robbery and burglary.
- If you are being verbally abused by a individual in your business, physically threatened, or witness a robbery in progress, CALL 911.
- Stress the importance of greeting and acknowledging every customer. Individuals with poor intentions will be aware that their presence in the store is known.
- Ensure employees know how to identify possible theft or shoplifting encounters.
- In the case of a suspected or actual theft, outline specific procedures that you want your employee to execute that are relevant to your business.
- Make it apparent to observe, but not to engage in the interaction.
- Make note of the 4 W’s with our easy to use sheet (attached below). Easy to print, or saved on computer for quick and simple access.
THE FOUR W’s OF CRIME PREVENTION
What are the 4 W’s of Crime Prevention?
1) WHAT: What was the perpetrator wearing? Use as much description as possible. What colour was the clothing, were there discernible logos and designs?
2) WHEN: When did this event occur?
3) WHERE: Where did the interaction occur? Provide the call taker with the address of your business .
4) WHO: Who committed the act? Is this person known to your business, or is it someone that has never been observed before? Make note of specific characteristics of the individual for later identification (scars, tattoos, piercings etc).
STORE WATCH PROGRAM
- Developed in Canada by Edmonton Police Service.
- Emphasis on keeping business owners, employees, customers, as well as property safe against robbery.
- The likelihood of crime decreases if the business’s employees are provided training on being alert, and collaboratively working with the police.
- Focus of the program is lowering the risk of robbery through enacting a risk assessment of the business.
- Putting up Store Watch poster to mitigate potential robbers.
- Location information and site history.
- Applying CPTED principles at the site.
- Safe handling and training of cash.
- Having surveillance present at the store, and targeting all key areas and high traffic spots.
- Having structured and proper operations at the store (management helping employees, having proper staffing levels).
- Administrative Duties (proper and ongoing training of store procedures, expectations).