WALLINGFORD — Police are offering local businesses and residents tips on how to avoid being the target of criminals.
The police department began offering two programs, Lock it or Lose it and Business Robbery Prevention, at the end of July. The first is for residents and offers tips on how to prevent motor vehicle thefts and break-ins. The second is aimed at helping businesses avoid robberies and learn what step to take after a crime. Police are offering a training class for business owners and employees and an onsite assessment of the business.
Police emphasized the program is designed for businesses with a high risk of robbery, such as gas stations, convenience stores, liquor stores, establishments with freestanding ATM’s and 24-hour stores.
Officer Kelly Boyle, who is running the training classes, said the last thing police want is a confrontation to lead to an escalation in violence.
“A lot of people want to protect their business,” Boyle said. ‘If the owner is at the register the number one thing we tell them is that money can be replaced, but a human life cannot.”
Eric Gjede, vice president of public policy for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, hopes businesses take advantage of program.
“We greatly appreciate police all over Connecticut risking their lives every day to protect citizens, homes and businesses,” Gjede said. “Many towns have crime prevention programs...this really goes above and beyond the call. We appreciate that the Wallingford police department is willing to put resources into programs like this...”
Boyle recommends businesses not have windows obstructed with posters so police are able to see inside if they respond. Bright lighting, a quality security surveillance system and not having employees alone late at night can also help prevent crime.
Ray Andrewsen, executive director at Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce, said safety for owners and employees is paramount.
“I credit the Wallingford police department for this vital and very, very important program which will assist local businesses understand how they can keep their employees safe from robberies and other disturbances,” Andrewsen said. “The whole business behind business is the pursuit of happiness...Without life there is no business.”
Boyle said the message on car break ins and thefts remains the same — lock vehicles and remove valuables. Boyle added residents should never confront a suspect.