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Springfield Police Hope "Business Watch" Reduces Crime

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield police are hoping to reduce crime through free "Business Watch" training sessions.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield police are trying to help business owners avoid being victimized by criminals.

Police have been hosting free "Business Watch" training sessions to help business owners prevent and reduce criminal activity on their properties through information sharing, raising awareness and leaning how to identify and recognize criminal activities.

"We want business owners to know they can communicate with other businesses," says Crime Prevention Officer David Snider.  "Much like neighborhood watch, they can relate to each other what they see and report any suspicious activity."

Call it "Business Watch."  Springfield police want businesses to look out for one another.

"We've had a tremendous success with neighborhood watch," says Snider.  "So we want to take that to the next level and give the same opportunity to business owners because we feel they can benefit from the same concepts and strategies."

Springfield police officers are encouraging business owners to take proactive measures to minimize the threat of criminal activity and behavior.

"We want people to understand and let them know we are here to help," says Snider.  "And offer anything we can from our point of view to make businesses and homes safer."

In addition to surveillance cameras and good lighting, Springfield police say it's also a good idea for business owners to keep their properties well maintained.

"To make their business more inviting to the good guests and less inviting and appealing to the criminals," Snider says.

Whether that be changing light bulbs once they're out, fixing broken windows or just cleaning up trash and debris around the building.

"A business owner needs to think of a business as his or her home to make it safer," says Snider.

"There are a lot of issues he brought up that we need to be aware of that never occurred to me," says Midtown Carnegie Branch Library Manager Eva Pelkey.  "And I think other staff feel the same.  There are areas we probably pass every day that we don't see as trouble spots, but he pointed out we need to be aware of them."

Springfield police and business owners are hoping through these sessions, the entire city will become a safer place.

"That's what we want to do is take proactive steps to make them safer," Snider says.

Springfield police officers plan on hosting another session in January and possibly before that as well.
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