Crimes that involve burglary, robbery, vandalism, shoplifting, employee theft, and fraud can be expensive and difficult to recuperate for local businesses. Crime can be particularly devastating to small businesses who can lose both customers and employees.
Preventing crime is a community-wide effort that requires a partnership between businesses, residents and law enforcement. This partnership includes businesses taking an active role by investing their time and money in protecting their business and preventing crime. This includes installing adequate alarm systems, using video surveillance and hiring private security to patrol and move criminals along and off their premises.
Several proactive programs have been established by the Lake Elsinore Police Department, the City of Lake Elsinore, and Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce to assist businesses in improving their overall security and designing their physical spaces to reduce crime risk.
Crimes against businesses are usually crimes of opportunity. Failure to take good security precautions invites crime into your business. Below are some of the recommendations and programs offered.
PROPERTY APPEARANCE & MAINTENANCE
A property’s appearance is an important aspect of running a successful business. Rundown, neglected businesses and buildings attract criminals, so make sure that your building, landscaping, sidewalks and parking areas are all clean and well-maintained. The appearance you have is the clientele you attract.
Do not keep old, damaged displays, posters or signage that are no longer useful to your business’ success. Be sure to promptly repair and clean up any other unsightly maintenance issues such as graffiti, stickers, broken windows, damaged equipment, etc. Make sure exterior employee break areas are clean and out of site from main entrances, if they are visible from main entrance, consider them to be non-smoking areas. Maintain a clean parking lot by regularly collecting shopping carts, picking up litter and debris and taking care of landscaped areas.
BUSINESS OUTREACH TOOLKIT FOR DEALING WITH HOMELESSNESS
The City of Lake Elsinore has developed a tool kit to assist our local businesses with addressing homelessness issues including loitering, trespassing and panhandling in and around their business. The tool kit includes some recommended programs and/or steps our local businesses can take to reduce crime and create a safer community for all.
The City’s Business Outreach Toolkit includes the following:
- Cover Letter
- Checklist for Response to Homelessness
- Lake Elsinore Approach Fact Sheet
- 602 Information Letter
- 602 No Trespassing Letter
- Key Local Provisions Related to Property Maintenance
- Available Business Resources
- Crime Free Business Program Information
- Responsible Compassion Dos & Dont's Flyer
- CR&R Locked Dumpster Flyer
- Alert LE Flyer
If you have questions regarding this toolkit or would like to request some of the available business resources, please email us at email@example.com with your business name, contact person, contact information and business address.
To allow the Lake Elsinore Police Department to detain or discourage people from loitering, trespassing or engaging in any other illegal behaviors in or around your business including the parking lot, a Trespass Letter of Authority (i.e. 602 PC Letter) must be on file. This letter can greatly improve the City and Police Department’s ability to act against undesirable trespassers.
As stated in the letter, it is a formal request by a business owner to prosecute anyone who is loitering or engaging in any unlawful activity. By completing this letter, you authorize law enforcement to arrest and/or issue citations to trespassers during a one-year period. This letter must be completed annually.
All letters should be emailed to CSO Baca.
Appropriate signage should be posted in and around your business stating that it is Private Property and prohibiting trespassing, loitering, panhandling/solicitation, etc. The City of Lake Elsinore and the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce is currently offering businesses this signage for FREE (up to 4 per business) for those businesses that complete a Trespass Letter of Authority (i.e. 602 PC Letter) and sign up for the Crime-Free Business Program (while supplies last). If interested in FREE signage or to purchase approved, official signs, please contact the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce at (951) 245-8848.
CRIME FREE BUSINESS PROGRAM
The City of Lake Elsinore and the Lake Elsinore Police Department proudly support the Crime Free Business Program. This program is a combined effort of law enforcement, business owners, property owners/managers with a common interest of reducing crime and promoting a safer quality of life, while effectively growing local businesses and economies.
This program is a two-phase process that includes training, inspections and follow ups to ensure your business is well informed about the steps you can take to protect your business, employees and customers. This program is offered at no cost to all participants.
The two phases to become certified as a Crime Free Business:
- Phase I : Program Introduction One to two hours of Training for Business Owners and/or Managers
- View the Commercial Landlord/Property Owner/Property Manager Workshop below.
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the City hosted a special workshop to teach our business partners the steps they can take to protect their properties and employees from homelessness related issues. We heard from Law Enforcement, Code Enforcement, CR&R, and our non-profit partners SWAG (Social Work Action Group).
- Phase II: On-site Security Inspection/Evaluation. The Lake Elsinore Police Department will conduct a comprehensive, customized Crime Free Business Survey of the interior and exterior of your business to identify recommendations that will improve the overall securtiy of your business. Key areas evaluated include Doors, Windows, Signage, Lighting, Landscaping, Employee Training, Cash Management, Visibility, Access Control and More.
RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE
Remember, businesses have the right to refuse service to any customers. However, you must cautious that this refusal is not discriminatory. It is recommended that appropriate signage is posted to inform customers that you can and will refuse service. Interested in receiving free signage? See information above under Business Toolkit.
Alert LE is a mobile app the City has developed to allow community members to report issues in our community. Citizens and businesses should download the Alert LE app on to their mobile devices and report non-emergency issues. This allows the City to focus and direct their efforts to strategically target specific geographic locations to address homelessness concerns.
Lake Elsinore Police Department non-emergency number (951) 776-1099. City encourages the use of their non-emergency number to report issues. Reporting non-emergency incidences allows law enforcement to target their efforts though they may not have the opportunity to respond immediately.
City Graffiti Hotline (951) 674-2701 is a great resource for reporting unsightly tagging and graffiti removal.
City Code Enforcement (951) 674-3124 ext. 227 is the primary department within the City that addresses municipal code violations including homelessness issues.