Coronavirus: Ontario police services offer crime prevention tips for businesses temporarily closed

A number of police services in Ontario are offering up some tips for businesses deemed non-essential and forced to close due to the coronaviurs pandemic.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 worsening, Premier Doug Ford announced the closure of all non-essential businesses in the province. A list of what was deemed essential can be found here.

But for the businesses that were told to close, several police services in the province, including those in Halton Region, Toronto and York Region, are offering varying levels of support.

The following tips were listed from Halton Regional Police and York Regional Police:

  • Remove valuables from storefront displays
  • Keep the interior, front, and rear entrances well lit
  • Keep some lighting on inside for surveillance opportunities, consider using timer-controlled lights
  • Remove valuables such as cash from the till and leave open. Place the cash tray in plain view
  • Ensure the emergency contact list is up to date on any alarm monitoring system
  • Clearly post signage on the door/window to indicate the premises are monitors by an alarm company
  • Consider installing a surveillance camera system that can be monitored online
  • Consider installing laminate on windows and glass doors to increase glass integrity from blunt force
  • Ensure all doors are properly secured
  • Remove material around the exterior of the property that may be used to gain entry

Halton Regional Police said its officers will be “conducting targeted and proactive patrols” of the businesses that were forced to close.

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Toronto police said they have heard concerns from business owners across the city who are concerned about an increase in the possibility of a break-and-enter into their storefronts with them being closed.

“Each division across the city has been tasked with monitoring these locations for the purpose of preventing and detecting crime,” spokesperson Meaghan Gray said in a statement.

“This is achieved through intelligence-led crime analytics, leading to increased uniform visibility ensuring our officers are where the public needs them the most.”

Toronto Police Supt. Mike Barsky echoed the sentiment of the other two services.

He told Global News that so far there is no evidence to suggest an increase in break and enters in the city. He added that with stations being closed due to the virus, there are now more officers deployed to patrol the streets.

“We actually don’t have fewer officers,” he said.

“We’ve redeployed officers out to be on the front lines so we have a bigger presence on the front lines.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the Ontario government said there were 837 active cases of COVID-19. Fifteen people have died and eight cases have been resolved.

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