Members of the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce listen as Const. Kevin Lastiwka offers tips for preventing break-ins and shoplifting. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

VicPD help Esquimalt businesses avoid becoming victims of crime

Townhall meeting teaches businesses about safety and prevention

The Victoria Police Department wants to get ahead of crime by preventing it before it happens.

That’s why members of the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce gathered last Thursday evening to listen as officers explained steps they can take to protect their businesses.

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It’s timely because of fraud prevention month, said Chris Edley, president of the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce.

“But I know that a lot of local businesses have been hit up in one way or another by different types of credit card fraud, and there’s been some small robberies and things like that,” he added. “So awareness of how to prevent that kind of thing and be on your toes is good practice and good business.”

Chamber members learned everything from best practices for preventing crime to how to act during a robbery.

“Do not try and be a hero,” said VicPD Const. Kevin Lastiwka. “But trust your instincts.”

Chief Del Manak said the force aims to get ahead of crime, giving the community tips before they are victimized.

“It’s about talking to our business owners and giving them some tips on how they can make sure their businesses are run in a way that is going to be productive,” he said.

Business owners were told to trust their gut and be aware of people who ‘looked suspicious.’

When asked if that type of language could promote profiling, Manak said “it’s not stereotyping anyone who might be coming into your business, it’s providing good customer service.

“A lot of this is common sense principles of safety and prevention, like making sure you’re not counting cash or money in plain view [and] setting yourself up to be a victim,” he added. “Because a lot of times when we’re conducting our day to day business, many people don’t pay attention to their actions and what they’re doing and how they actually are operating unsafely.”

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