Kitchener-Waterloo

Closing your business? OPP offers these tips to keep thieves away

As thousands of businesses across the province shut down for the next two weeks, OPP has offered tips for businesses making the transition.

Tips include removing cash from tills, ensuring alarm systems work and keeping on some lights

A 'Sorry we’re closed' sign at Hanky Panky Boutique on Queen Street West, where several stores are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Laura Howells/CBC)

For the next two weeks, thousands of businesses across the province that are considered "non-essential" will be closed.

The Province of Ontario released its list of essential workplaces late Monday night. All others have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to close.  

The OPP has tips for business owners shutting down shop for the next 14 days, such as removing all cash from tills, cleaning windows and floors before closing and keeping on some lighting.

Police also recommended people do a thorough cleaning of windows and floors and log when it was done so that investigators will have a timeline to work with if a break-in happens. 

The full list from police suggests owners:

  • Remove all valuables from storefront displays.
  • Remove all cash from tills and leave open with the cash tray out and visibly empty.
  • Ensure alarm systems are working and all contact lists are up to date.
  • Post on doors/windows that the premises are monitored by an alarm company and that no money is kept on the premises. Include the 1-888-310-1122 number to call the OPP should anyone notice a break-in or damage.
  • Clean all windows and floors before leaving and note when you've done so (have a log) as this will help investigators should there be a break-in.
  • Consider a surveillance system which can be monitored remotely by phone/online.
  • Consider putting a laminate on all windows/glass to discourage and help prevent easy entry.
  • Keep some lighting on inside to help with video surveillance and consider lighting on timers if possible.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are locked and secure.
  • Ensure all exterior lighting is functioning and on — consider motion sensor lights as another option.
  • Remove anything on the exterior which could be used to gain entry to your premises (bricks, ladders, poles, construction materials).
  • Regularly check the building and keep track of when you check (have a log) but go at different times.

The OPP went on to say that like residential theft, if a business looks neglected it can become a target. "If it looks cared for and looks like someone is home or around regularly, thieves will move on to other locations."

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