LVPD Rolls Out Business Watch Program

The La Verne Police Department is beginning to roll out its new Business Watch Program, building on the success of its Neighborhood Watch Program. The new effort was a topic of discussion at the La Verne Chamber of Commerce’s Business Connections mixer on Aug. 5.
“Now, we say ‘program’ and that sounds like it’s an entity and we have a team of people to run it, but that team is [Community Services Officer] Holly Savage, who will be the liaison for this program,” says LVPD Captain Colleen Flores. “By creating this program, we want to reduce crime and address any quality of life concerns that businesses have. 
“I know from experience that some businesses don’t feel comfortable with calling the department directly,” Capt. Flores said. ”They don’t want to bother us, or they think it isn’t that big a deal or just don’t know how to handle it. We want all business owners to feel comfortable contacting us directly for any nonemergency issues, so by building that relationship we want to provide safety tips and provide a direct contact, Hollie, on anything.”
The Business Watch Program aims to be proactive as well as reactive, Capt. Flores said. “The Gold Line will bring many benefits, but there could be a small uptick in crime caused by transients. With the experience we have in this, we want to address these issues ahead of time. For instance, if we have a business in the Old Town area that has a lot of bushes that could be a target for transients, we want to work with them ahead of the Gold Line and have them put in skinny trees instead of bushes that people can hide behind.” 
Another issue is having current business contact information on file, in the case of a break-in or unlocked door. “We want to tie up those loose ends to start with,” she said. “It’s a small roll-out because it’s a small team working on this, but maybe as it grows we can get more people to help us out.”
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Savage said. “What I see from my chair is people turning to social media about things going on when instead they should be calling the police, or if it’s something that’s already happened, then they can call me and we can work proactively with the businesses to see what we can do to keep this from happening again.” 
“We also have our homeless outreach team because it’s an issue for some of our businesses, especially along the Foothill corridor,” she added. “When businesspeople or resident see the homeless, they can let us know and we can provide the homeless with resources. Our team will keep in touch with homeless who do not want services – they work with Tri-City Mental Health Center and build trust with homeless. We don’t give up on them. 
The La Verne Police Department’s normal business phone number is (909) 596-1913. The nonemergency crimes phone number is (909) 593-2531.