As many businesses across Kelowna close its doors temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several parties are working diligently to ensure those businesses are being protected from possible crime.
Most recently, in Ontario, the Ottawa Police Service launched a new initiative to protect its businesses. Identifying 13 sectors throughout the city with a high volume of restaurants, businesses and manufacturing industries, the hope is that increased police presence will deter criminals and crime on businesses.
The Downtown Kelowna Association is taking similar action.
“Safety in Downtown Kelowna is always a priority,” said Mark Burley, executive director, Downtown Kelowna Association.
“Downtown On Call and Clean Team members continue to patrol and work on our streets. As businesses adjust with employees working from home, reduced hours and short-term closings due to COVID-19 precautions, the risk of property crime increases.”
The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is also encouraging business owners to take appropriate action to ensure the safety and well being of their business.
“We’ve been communicating with local businesses to give them advice with respect to ensuring if you are leaving your place of business there are some easy steps you can take to ensure it’s not a potential target for break and enters or vandalism,” said Dan Rogers, executive director, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
“In conjunction with the work the (City of Kelowna) is doing, we are reinforcing to business owners to be sensitive if your business is vacant or not active it could be a target.”
The Chamber is recommending business owners ensure no stock can be seen through windows, which could be an invitation for crime. Further recommendations are to ensure lighting is on and that alarm systems are set, if in place.
The Kelowna RCMP is working to ensure the safety of local businesses during the pandemic.
“Kelowna RCMP has continued our patrols and enforcement through the downtown and other business areas in Kelowna,” said Cpl. Jocely Noseworthy.
“So far, we have not seen a rise in break and enters to businesses and have no indication that there is a concern for looting. We continue to have a close relationship with the City of Kelowna and our other partners in the community. We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our community and our citizens.”