Police offer tips to business owners on crime prevention

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Eau Claire, Wis. (WEAU) -- For the past five months since it has been open, customers who walk into Charly's Market get greeted with a smile.

It is not just good customer service; it is part of Carolyn Miller's plan to keep crime out of her store.

"So we really push for a lot of that," Miller said.

She says that employee contact helps deter criminal activity. Most often at Charly's Market it is beer, wine, and other alcohol that gets taken.

She is vigilant about crime and that is a big help. But she knows there are small things she can do to help keep criminals away.

That brings us to Wednesday's safety and crime prevention session put on by the Eau Claire Police Department and Downtown Eau Claire Inc.

"We designed this program to give our businesses some real good tools they can use," said Mike Schatz, who is the Eau Claire Economic Development Administrator.

Some of those tips include leaving an empty cash register open at night, marking valuable items with hard to remove ID numbers, and designing aisles so staff can watch shoppers.

"Whether it is through enhancing security measures on their property so passerbies know something is occurring and they could alert police," said Sgt. Brian Schneider, with the Eau Claire Police Department.

And then there is preventing crime outside the building. Police talked about the importance of removing vandalism and watching for panhandlers since customers usually avoid areas with them.

And businesses, even homeowners, should keep their property visible and not covered by tall trees or bushes, which could conceal criminal activity.

Small steps that have a big impact.

"If you put some work in on the front end, you can save yourself a lot of cost and hard work in responding to a crime after it occurs," Sgt. Schneider said.

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