Bloor West Villager
As part of Crime Prevention Week in Ontario, 11 and 12 Division officers paid a visit to the St. Clair Gardens Business Improvement Area (BIA) to speak to retail and business owners about crime prevention.
Crime Prevention Week, designated by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, took place Nov. 4 to 10. Its theme this year, ‘Engaged Communities Prevent Crime,’ celebrated and promoted collaborative efforts by the police, government, communities and not-for-profit organizations to work together to create crime prevention strategies while addressing local issues to reduce crime in Ontario.
Eleven Division crime prevention officer Russ Golding, alongside community response unit and auxiliary officers from 12 Division, visited members of the St. Clair Gardens BIA recently to speak to them about crime prevention, especially given that the holiday shopping season is fast approaching. Golding chose the St. Clair BIA because of its proximity to the new police station on Davenport Road at Osler Avenue, but more importantly because the BIA has been seeking more police presence in the neighbourhood.
The retail strip, stressed Golding is not a troubled area, the officers’ visit was a proactive initiative, one that was welcomed by BIA chair Don Panos, proprietor of Don’s Meat Shop, at 1747 St. Clair Ave. W.
“We all benefit from their expertise on how to man our stores, how to make our stores safe,” Panos told The Villager on Tuesday afternoon.
The officers arrived armed with robbery reduction pamphlets and ‘Cash Safe Robbery Reduction Program’ stickers emblazoned with the message: “Minimum cash at all times/ Till emptied at night.”
We all have the potential to be victims of crime. The key is to eliminate the opportunity for crime, to ensure property is safe by examining it for potential risk factors.
“Studies indicate that (the minimum cash) stickers are a deterrent,” Golding said, not unlike security system signs affixed to houses.
Officers spoke in general how to protect cash registers, how to keep windows clear, how to make sure aisles are low and how to ensure surveillance videos are in working order and up-to-date, Panos shared. Golding told business and retail store owners to limit the amount of money in the cash register. If possible, use a drop safe, avoid counting cash in plain view and make deposits often and randomly, and to keep their cash register drawers open in off hours.
“We’ve had a number of reported incidents where there’s been an after hours break-in and both the cash register and the money inside have been stolen,” said Golding. “Cash registers are expensive.”
There is always a need to reiterate this advice.
“We forget time to time,” he said.
Police officers also distributed a suspect vehicle and weapon identification chart, making it easier for business owners to identify any suspects of theft.
“It’s always our recommendation that you go along with whatever (the thief) wants. Be calm and collect as much information and description as you can,” said Golding.
He also directed business owners to make a note in what direction the thief flees and if possible to obtain a license plate number, description of vehicle and call 911.
Panos was “absolutely” pleased with last week’s visit with police officers.
“They’re doing a great job in our area,” he said.
For more information on crime prevention, call Golding at 416-808-1108.