Meeting on Crime Prevention is Tonight

Alameda Police Department (APD) and the West Alameda Business Association will host a West End Community Safety Forum today, Thursday, May 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. upstairs in Otaez Restaurant at 1619 Webster St.  

APD will lead the discussion followed by a question-and-answer session. Vendors will be available to present safety and security recommendations.

Michaelia Parker, crime prevention technician at APD offered the following tips to keep crime from happening.

Robbery Prevention
• Be alert while operating a business. Robbers will use the element of surprise; avoid turning your back or being placed in a situation where you can be surprised. Communicate alertness by greeting customers and keeping constant friendly eye contact.
• Be alert to individuals who may be casing your business. These individuals will behave differently than normal customers. They will pay unusual attention to register locations, alarms, safes as well as entry and exit points.
• Be alert outside of your business. Be aware of potential “blind spots” or areas where individuals may conceal themselves and use the element of surprise. Stay alert to suspicious vehicles circling in the area or parked in dark parking lots after typical business hours.
• Be extremely unpredictable about moving money from a business to the bank — change times, routes and methods of concealment.
• Nighttime deposits should be avoided, if possible.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and other items of value while operating a business.
• If possible, have closing-shift employees park in well-lit and well-traveled areas to limit staff members walking alone after hours.
• Have keys in hand before leaving a place of business and ready to unlock your vehicle.
Burglary Prevention
• Ensure all outside entrances and inside security doors have deadbolts. If using a padlock, they should be made of steel and remove serial numbers from locks to prevent unauthorized keys being made.
• Windows should have secure locks with burglar-resistant glass.
• Remove all expensive items from window displays at night, this can also help in mainlining a visual inside after hours.
• Illuminate both the interior and exterior of your business, especially around doors, windows or other entry points.
• Ensure good lighting in parking areas and try to eliminate obstructed views.
• Be sure safes are fire proof and securely anchored. Remember to change the access code or combination when an employee who previously had access to it is no longer with the business.
Shoplifting Prevention
• Train employees on how to reduce opportunities for shoplifting and how to apprehend a shoplifter.
• Keep your business neat and orderly. Fully stocked displays allow employees to easily see at a glance if something is missing.
• Use mirrors to illuminate “blind spots.”
• Keep merchandise away from store exits to prevent grab-and-run situations.
• If using display cases, limit the number of items an employee may pull out at one time.
• Design exits so all customers must pass by a security personnel or store employee.
• Cash registers should be inaccessible to customers, locked and monitored at all times.
• Dressing rooms should be locked and numbers of items taken in should be limited.