Dryden Police Service encourages businesses to report thefts
Police want to encourage businesses to report issues of theft
Small businesses in Dryden, Ont., may be a bit more encouraged to report a theft to police, even if it is small.
The Dryden Police Service spoke with local businesses in late November, encouraging operations to report thefts, no matter how small. It comes after some businesses complained about an increase in losses, even though police data showed no additional increase in thefts compared to last year.
"One of the big things is understanding that regardless of how much the value of that item is, if it's missing, it's a loss to you, and it's also a criminal offence," said Ann Tkachyk, an Inspector with Dryden Police Service.
"If you don't report it to us, then we don't know. But, as soon as you report it, and you are willing to be an active participant in the prosecution, there's a better chance you'll see some restitution from within the courts."
Tkachyk said some business owners may feel frustrated that it appears police do not to take small crimes, such as theft under $5,000 seriously. But, she said police do, but they need to know about the issue first.
"We also have to understand that we are not the courts, but the more participation we have from you as the victim of a crime within the court system, the better result we're going to get. And, we want to work with you and the court system to be able to improve that outcome."
"So, that's the big thing, and understanding that that is a crime. Whether it's a ten dollar item, or a two hundred dollar item, we see it as a crime, and we see it as a responsibility to work with you to bring those things into the court system."
She said one confusing issue facing many small business owners is the Trespass to Property Act. Many businesses believe it is enforced by police, while the opposite is true.
Tkachyk said business owners must inform people that they are not welcome in a business, and inform them they are trespassing on private property. Once that declaration is made, then police can get involved.
"You know, these are the things that may be, there is some misconception on the police aren't doing their jobs. Where, in fact, we are governed, and we have to live within the parameters of that Act."
Tkachyk said some of the concerns from businesses could stem from social issues, where people turn to theft and shoplifting.
She said Dryden Police Service is already working on a plan to deal with social issues in the community, which may alleviate some of the concerns brought forward by downtown businesses.