Find out how a “Business Watch” can help keep your business safe from crime.
There is safety in numbers, goes the old saying. As every law enforcement and security professional will tell you, you have a better chance of not becoming a crime victim if you are in a group.
Certainly this idea works if you are walking down a street in a group, but what about the small & home business entrepreneur? For those of you who work at home or in small business establishments, there is the “Business Watch.”
Like a Town Watch brings together residents in a common cause to prevent crime by being alert and communicating with each other and the police, a Business Watch brings together business people with the same goal – preventing crime committed against the small & home business community.
Even people who operate their businesses from the privacy of their own home can join a Business Watch. Parents of home-schooled children network with other like-minded parents and they pool resources, organize outings, and keep each other informed of common concerns. Home business entrepreneurs can likewise network with others by way of e-mail, regular meetings, and newsletters.
The key to a Business Watch, is a close relationship with your local police department. Most departments have a crime prevention officer and he or she will assist you in meeting members of an existing Business Watch in your area, or help you organize one.
The crime prevention officer can provide information and updates on crimes committed against business people in your area and elsewhere.
The police can warn the Business Watch about a local scam involving a person fundraising for a nonexistent charity or a salesman touting a phony promotion campaign. They can also warn you of an e-mail or telephone scam offering business supplies at a discount or a person passing bad checks or using stolen credit cards. The police can warn you of a violent armed robber making the rounds in your area.
The police can also suggest security measures to prevent specific criminal threats and crime in general. Communications between the police and the business community are vital.
Like a sticker on a home that says the home-owner has a burglar alarm system, a Business Watch sticker denotes that the small business owner is wary of criminal activity. As a burglar moves to the next home without an alarm system sticker, the criminal moves to a business that does not display a Business Watch sticker. The Business Watch should have high visibility with abundant signs and stickers.
By joining a Business Watch, you can learn about criminal behavior by attending the training sessions offered by your local crime prevention officer. He or she will train you and your employees on how to identify and report suspicious behavior.
The Business Watch usually has an e-mail or fax network where the police and other members send alerts and other crime prevention information out to all members. You can stay informed and use that knowledge to remain safe and prosperous.
Contact your local police department or Better Business Bureau to learn about established Business Watch groups in your area. If there are none, ask for help in forming one.