There has been an increase in the number of businesses encountering individuals who come into their store and are disruptive to business and/or harass employees or customers. If you encounter a situation of this nature, here’s what you can do:
Call the Police: If the problem is an emergency that requires immediate medical or police assistance then call 9-1-1. If the problem does not require an immediate police or medical response, then call the nonemergency line at 626-403-7297. This is answered 24-hours a day.
Arrest for Trespassing: A disruptive subject can be arrested for trespassing (which is considered a ‘private person’s arrest’ but is handled by the police). When you call the police, let them know if you wish to press trespassing charges (which may require you to appear in court). If the business owner/property owner is non-desirous to press charges, the subject will not be arrested and can legally return to the store, or premises.
If the subject frequently visits your property and officers are constantly called to enforce trespassing laws, you can pre-sign a “Statement of Private Person Making an Arrest for Trespassing” form. By completing this form, you authorize officers to act on your (the business owner/property owner) behalf to enforce trespassing laws without you being present. (You can find this form on page 21 of the South Pasadena Police Business Watch Handbook.)
Other useful tips and information:
Robbery: Should a robbery occur, stay calm and give the robber the money. Your life and
the lives of your employees and customers are not worth risking. Take notice of the robber’s voice, unique characteristics, and tattoos. Try to memorize what the robber looks like, start with the head and look down. Once the robber leaves write down what the suspects description by using the diagram on
the next page.
Nighttime Burglary Prevention: Leave your lights on! On duty police officers drive up and down the business district frequently at night. Have good lighting both inside and out to allow the police easier sight into your store and discourage burglars.
Shoplifting: The best way to discourage shoplifting is by taking a “get tough” attitude, prosecuting even on the slightest offense. When a shoplifter is arrested you will be asked if you want to prosecute. Saying “yes” each time will keep your business from being tagged an “easy mark”. Declining prosecution will allow the thief to leave and most likely return to steal knowing they can get away with it, or simply go to another business to commit a theft.
Business Watch Program: By participating in a Business Watch program, you are taking the initiative in seeking safety for your store, employees, and customers. Communicating with your neighboring businesses and with the police department is one of the best prevention methods you can do, and it is free!
General Accessibility: Make sure your address and store name can be clearly visible from the street day and night. This allows the police and fire department to locate your business quickly in an emergency. Should your business have access by a rear alley, your address and business name should also be clearly marked.