During a recent two-week period, there was a series of commercial smash and grab style burglaries that occurred in the Kerrisdale area. In almost every case, the cost to repair the damage to the front door or window was in excess of what was taken. In several cases, nothing at all was taken. Most of the burglaries happened over a very short span of four or five days and most occurred between the hours of 6:00am and 7:00am. Of the businesses victimized, only a few had a monitored alarm system.
We believe that the thief chose this time frame after watching our Kerrisdale bike patroller end his shift and then quickly strike.
In response, we adjusted the timing of our patrols so that we had additional patrollers on duty during the targeted time frame. We also extended several of our mobile patrol shifts so that two or more of our bright yellow trucks were slowly patrolling the targeted area (41st Avenue between Maple and East Boulevard as well as West Boulevard between 39th and 41st) every morning.
As a result of these efforts, one of our patrollers witnessed a white male trying to burglarize a restaurant on the 2000 block of West 41st Avenue. Although he was not physically caught at the time, his description, all well as that of his vehicle and license plate were immediately provided to the Vancouver Police. Several days later, based on the information that we provided, this individual was arrested by the Police.
Once arrested, the Police determined that this individual had three outstanding warrants and a long history of burglary arrests. Further, the vehicle he was driving was also stolen, as were the license plates.
While it would appear that this particular criminal was responsible for most, if not all of the recent commercial burglaries in Kerrisdale, it is interesting to note the types of places that he chose to burglarize vs. those that he passed by.
In virtually every burglary, he chose businesses without bars or any major impediment to getting quickly to the cash register. In fact, in several of the burglaries, he seemed to break in just to see if there might be any cash left in the store – which in most cases there wasn’t – rather than target any specific goods. Most of the burglaries happened incredibly quickly… he simply smashed a front pane of glass, ran in and ran out with whatever he could hold, most times in less than a minute.
The only exception to this method of entry was when a business was broken into through the wall between their store and the empty store beside them. By being able to easily slip into an unoccupied space that was under construction, the crook was able to kick a hole in the drywall in order to slip undetected into the back of a store… where again he stole far less than the cost to repair the hole.
The majority of the businesses he chose did not have alarm systems. Of those that did, only one had response service.
As most of the business owners affected have relayed to us, these burglaries were mostly a nuisance rather than a serious loss. However, they illustrate how easy it is for theives to gain entry to a business as well as the fact that no business is immune to the threat of a burglary at their store… irrespective of what they sell.
Lessons to be learned:
1. The trick is to ensure that your alarm system is detecting someone while they are still trying to get in, rather than once they are already inside. Read this post about ensuring your alarm is offering maximum value and this one about ensuring that your alarm delay time is as short as possible.
2. Similar to protecting yourself from a residential burglary, the central
goal of your security plan in a business needs to be to five minute
proof your most important possessions. What do you have in your store or office that you really could not afford to lose?
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