Crime - burglary, robbery, vandalism, shoplifting, employee theft, and fraud - costs businesses billions of dollars each year. Crime can be particularly devastating to small businesses who lose both customers and employees when crime and fear claim a neighborhood.
When small businesses are victims of crime, they often react by changing their hours of operation, raising their prices to cover their losses, relocating outside the community, or simply closing. Fear of crime isolates businesses, much like fear isolates individuals - and this isolation increases vulnerability to crime.
Helping small businesses reduce and prevent crime must be a community effort. Law enforcement can work with owners to improve security and design their spaces to reduce risk. Small businesses can join together in such efforts as Business Watch to alert each other to crime patterns and suspicious activities.
They can help young people in the community learn job-seeking skills and give them jobs when possible.
Finally, businesses must reach out to others - law enforcement, civic groups, schools, churches, youth groups - to fight violence, drugs, and other crime and create a safer community for all.