The holidays are easily the busiest time of the year for businesses but along with increased sales, an increase in crime is also expected each year, especially when it comes to retail theft. Mission DBA Executive Director, Miriam Bozman, says, “Downtown Mission businesses report that once daylight savings time comes and it’s darker earlier, they start to see an increase in petty theft which only increases in November and December.” Crimes like business and vehicle break-ins also increase in the holiday season, although crime stats can be misleading because so many of these crimes go unreported.
Check your security systems. Test them for effectiveness, make sure your alarms have new batteries and your camera angles haven’t moved from their intended locations and they’re not getting blocked by holiday decorations. Make sure you know how to access stored footage for police if needed (you’d be surprised how many business owners don’t know how to access their own systems!)
Make sure your shop windows and entrances are well lit and any trees or shrubs are trimmed back.
Lock up your valuable merchandise and don’t hide spare keys on the premises.
Do thorough background checks on your seasonal employees. In an annual survey of 25 large retail businesses in the US for the 2021 shopping season, Jack L. Hayes International, Inc. found that the businesses apprehended 204,404 retail thieves and approximately 18.5% of those were employees.
Connect with your Mission Crime Prevention Office for a free Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) evaluation of your business. They will help identify potential risks in your location and provide recommendations on how to mitigate them.
Report all crimes, even if they’ve already happened and you don’t have video or other evidence. Reporting crimes helps all of us in the community, as it informs police and City of Mission staff and elected officials on which areas are the biggest targets, shows trends of increasing or decreasing types of crimes, and it helps them advocate for increased funding and/or resources at the local and federal levels. It also helps RCMP find patterns and build stronger cases against frequent offenders. For crimes in progress, please call 911. To report a crime after it’s occurred, call the non-emergency line at 604-826-7161 or report it online quickly and easily at https://ocre-sielc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/mission/en
Sources: Jack L. Hayes International Inc. 34th Annual Retail Theft Survey: https://hayesinternational.com/news/annual-retail-theft-survey/