Allison Rostad

Imagine locking up your business at the end of the day—closing out the register, shutting off the lights, locking up until the next day. Now imagine that the next day you find your business had been broken into. It is now part of a crime scene.

According to the Thurmont Police Department, the Thurmont area recorded ten commercial burglaries between the months of August and October. For a small town of 4.1 square miles, that’s a lot.

On Thursday, November 6, 2014, the Thurmont Police Department invited business owners to join them at the Thurmont Library to discuss burglary prevention tips in hopes of curtailing future commercial burglaries.

Prevention tips were reviewed by Thurmont’s Police Chief, Greg Eyler. While these tips are not guaranteed to keep a burglary from happening, when utilized, they may help to maximize your protection against a burglary.

There were three big take-a-ways from the prevention discussion: (1)Work as a team with the police; (2) Be proactive; and (3) Always remain calm. Thurmont has a police department comprised of thirteen officers. These officers work split shifts in order to cover 24 hours of every day. A community of active allies who work to enhance the safety and quality of neighborhoods makes for a big help.

Working as a team with the police in your community can dramatically decrease the likelihood of crime in your area. Imagine the force of thirteen officers now aided to well over one thousand, due to the allies of the community. That’s a number sure to deter a possible burglary.

This expansion of allies simply requires that business owners take measures to more securely protect their businesses. Start by taking a look at your business’s physical layout, your employees, and your business’s overall security. Consider installing video surveillance, proper interior and exterior lighting, and a monitored alarm system. Make sure adequate locks are installed on all doors, and consider adding additional hardware that will improve the level of security of your current doors and locks.

Keep windows and counters clear to allow for law enforcement and civilian surveillance. Do not keep cash in register after closing. Monies should be taken straight to the bank or placed in a safe that is anchored to the floor. Always provide training for employees, so they are familiar with security procedures and know your expectations.

Although some of the mentioned security improvements are costly, consider the cost of each improvement you make against the potential savings through loss reduction. Crimes against businesses are usually crimes of opportunity. Failure to take good security precautions invites crime into a business.

Perhaps even after precautionary steps are taken to prevent a burglary, you still become victim, remain calm. Officers and their families will appreciate this more than you know. The last thing anyone would want out of a burglary is injury or the loss of life. No amount of money could replace the worth of an individual’s life. Understand that the way a crime is reported determines the way the police are dispatched to handle the situation. If someone has shoplifted from your business, simply report it as such. Don’t panic and describe matters worse than they are.

Crimes have different classifications. A robbery is handled differently than a shoplifting situation, because a robbery is classified to have some sort of violent or forceful action along with obtaining unauthorized control over property. Shoplifting from a business is to obtain unauthorized control over property but without force or violence. Although there is only a slight difference between the two, it is important to note that an officer dispatched to a robbery is likely to respond with more caution and concern towards the violent action.

Don’t forget, in the event of an emergency, please call 911.


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