Provincial police offer closed businesses tips to avoid theft

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Now that all businesses deemed non-essential have closed across the province, the Ontario Provincial Police are offering business owners tips to avoid theft during the shutdown.

The tips include wisdom like locking doors and windows, removing valuables from storefront displays and taking cash out of the tills.

Police have also suggested keeping the till door open with the cash tray out, so any criminal walking by can see there is no money to take.

Make sure alarm systems are operating, and contacts are up to date. Post on doors and windows that an alarm company monitors the premises and no cash is kept on site. It is also a good idea to consider a surveillance system that can be watched remotely by phone or online.

It does not hurt to keep some of the lights on or to consider putting lights on a timer. Make sure the outside lights are working.

Loose bricks, ladders, poles, construction equipment, anything that can be used to break a window and gain entry is removed from the property.

Also, laminate on windows makes it harder to break in.

Before closing, give the business a thorough cleaning. If there is a break-in, it is easier for investigators to know what damage is new. Also, leave a note stating when it was cleaned. Properties that look cared for are also less attractive to thieves.

The public can do their part too by keeping an eye on any neighbouring businesses that are closed and reporting any suspicious activity to police. If the crime is in progress, call 911. If not, you can report it online or call the OPP at 1-519-310-1122.