A break and enter into a downtown business over the weekend has prompted Chilliwack RCMP to issue a statement to the business community about security measures.
The email was fanned out by the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association on Wednesday afternoon, from Sgt. Krista Vrolyk, from Crime Prevention and Operational Support. It lists steps that local merchants can take to protect their businesses during the pandemic, as many have had to close their doors completely, or focus on online ordering and deliveries.
“There is no doubt that Covid-19 has had a tremendous effect on our local business community,” Vrolyk writes. “The uncertainty brought about by this pandemic and the incredible financial impact to your businesses is concerning to all of us.”
She also underlines that crime can rise because there are fewer people on the street, and that the Chilliwack RCMP have stepped up their own presence.
“Our commitment to serve and protect our community is stronger than ever. Downtown foot patrols and visible police presence are a priority,” she says. “While conducting daily foot patrols, we have noticed that some businesses have already done their part in preventing property crime by removing valuables from view. Others have existing security measures in place such as blinds or security bars which act as a deterrent.”
Vrolyk calls it “extremely disheartening” that closed businesses in the lower mainland are being targeted.
“Businesses are already facing huge financial impact and hardship and targeted crime is absolutely crushing,” she says. “A break and enter to a downtown business which occurred here in Chilliwack this past weekend makes this message more important now than ever.”
They are asking that business owners get even more pro-active and suggest the following:
• Do not leave any valuables clearly visible or accessible. Remove contents from plain sight.
• Ensure the exterior of your business is well lit.
• If possible, remove all safes, tills and debit machines. Store them at a secure location. If they can’t be moved, ensure that their contents and anything of value is emptied and relocated. Till drawers should be emptied and left open so that it is apparent that they are empty. Thieves tend to target anything of value that is portable including computers and electronics. Remove these items if possible.
• Remove any paperwork that contains personal information of clients or staff that criminals could steal to use for identity theft.
• Consider posting signs “CLOSED FOR COVID-19: ALL CASH & VALUABLES HAVE BEEN REMOVED”
• Ensure that the emergency contact list is up to date for any alarm monitoring system.
• Make regular visits to monitor your shop/business, but at sporadic times so as not to establish a pattern.