Learn how you can help keep your community's businesses safe
Business Watch is a free program aimed at reducing crime in Burnaby’s business community. The partnership between the City, RCMP and local businesses provides tools and resources that business owners, managers and employees can use to help reduce business crimes and improve safety.
Want to join Business Watch?
You can start a Business Watch program in your neighbourhood or street by emailing [email protected]. We'll respond to your queries and concerns within 3 business days.
Report a crime
Call 911 for a crime in progress.
Call Burnaby RCMP (non-emergency) at 604-646-9999 for:
- Crimes that have already occurred and no suspects are present (e.g., theft from vehicle or home, vandalism, fraud)
- Suspicious activity or circumstance or nuisance behaviour
- Hate crimes or hate incidents, including those with no safety risks, no physical evidence, and no identifiable suspects
- Following up on a report you previously filed (have your police file number accessible)
Both numbers are available 24-hours a day. Translation services are available.
You can also report non-emergency crimes using Burnaby RCMP's new online crime reporting tool. A police officer may follow up only if more information is needed.
Business safety tips
Evaluate your business's layout, employees, hiring practices and overall security. Assess its vulnerability to different types of crime— from burglary to fraud. Follow some of the tips below to keep yourself and your business safe.
- Remove any items that obstruct you and your employees from seeing all store areas and place any expensive items in locked cases.
- Install bars on doors and windows that trigger if the glass around them breaks. Use deadbolt locks.
- Safely store important documents, including serial numbers for your computer equipment and merchandise, keys, alarm codes, files, licenses and permits, passwords and payment receipts. If there's ever an unfortunate incident, you'll be able to assess losses and provide helpful information to the police.
- Remove any excess signage from windows and doors, allowing potential witnesses a better view of your business from outside.
- Remove all expensive items from window displays at night.
- Reduce the amount of cash you have on hand after hours. If you have money or other valuables, keep them in a safe affixed to the floor. Change the combination if a long-serving staff member leaves the job. Install and use a drop safe, which will allow you to store cash or documents without opening it.
- Install an alarm system. It will deter burglars or, if they break in, it may force them to leave quickly when the alarm goes off. Post clear warnings that your business is equipped with an alarm and train staff to avoid false alarms.
- Use exterior lighting to deter crime, increase police efficiency when patrolling the area after dark, and boost public willingness to report offences to the police.
- Make sure your address is visible so emergency vehicles can easily find your business.
- Keep nearby shrubs and trees pruned to increase visibility and decrease hiding spots on the property.
- Check for signs of any structural weaknesses in your windows. Use heavy and solid construction material that is drill-resistant. You can also reinforce the backs of doors with crossbars. Ensure door frames cannot easily be pried or forced open.
- Ensure doorways and parking lots are well lit.
- Paint underground walls white to increase visibility. Reduce hiding places for criminals and maximize visibility for patrols (or for potential witnesses). Keep exterior walls and foliage less than 3 feet high and trim any tree branches below 6 feet.
- If the parking lot is large, installing emergency telephones that dial security or police directly may be helpful.
- Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Doors with glass should have double cylinder deadbolts.
- Make sure you check all doors and windows each day before closing or when you're briefly absent.
- Ensure keys issued to staff are signed for and turned in when an employee leaves the company. You may even want to change locks and combinations when you have staff turnover.
- If you have doors with outside hinges, use non-removable hinge pins. Install panel doors lined with metal to resist drilling.
- Doors and windows on the sides and rear of a building often invite burglars because they're out of sight. Steel reinforced bars on doors and gratings or bars on windows provide high security.
- Every exterior opening is a potential point of entry. Do not overlook security in places like fire escapes, skylights, roof openings, air ducts, windows above doors, loading docks, sidewalks and basement openings.
- Before you leave, check all potential hiding places, like bathrooms, closets and storage areas.
- If you're going away for a bit, request your business neighbour to remove uncollected flyers, papers and mail from under doors or windows.
- Leave information with neighbours on how to reach you, how long you'll be away and if you're expecting someone at your business during your absence.
- Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbour.
- Don't hide keys outside or leave signs that tell people when you'll be back.
- Light up all entrances with vandal-proof fixtures.
- Keep some lights on inside and place them near the back so passersby can see an intruder's silhouette from the street.
- Install a good alarm system and have it checked regularly.
- Make sure it's wired to go off at all potential entry points, including doors, windows, roof openings, loading docks and vents.
- Keep as little cash around as possible. Make frequent bank deposits, but do it in a way so as not to establish a pattern.
- Securely anchor your safe in a highly visible, well-lit location.
- Empty your cash drawers and leave them open after hours.
- Keep the premises visible from the street; avoid blocking the view with high window displays or advertisements.
- Trim all trees and shrubs around the entranceways.
- Don't leave any ladders or tools lying around.
Your safety and that of your employees and customers are what's most important. If confronted by a suspect, stay calm and cooperate. Don't risk physical harm.
Learn to be a good observer. A detailed description is vital for the police, so memorize everything you can about the robber, such as:
- Colour of hair/cut
- Height and weight
- Eyes and eyeglasses
- Scars, marks or tattoos
- Facial hair
- Vehicle type, colour, make, license number
- Direction of escape
- Right or left-handed
Don't compare notes with other witnesses. It's easy to get influenced and become confused.
Try not to work alone, but if you must, leave a radio playing in a back room to create the impression that someone else is there.
- If possible, arrange counters so that customers face the street in full view of people passing by.
- Avoid turning your back on customers to answer the phone or handle the paperwork.
- Keep some bait money in the cash drawer; record dates and serial numbers of bills so the police can trace them if stolen.
Shoplifters are stealthy and can harm your business. Don't take anything for granted. Even the most innocent-looking customer could be a shoplifter. They come in all ages and from every social group.
- Install convex mirrors, closed-circuit TV cameras or if your business merits it, use security officers.
- Train your staff to spot shoplifters and make sure they're always on the lookout.
- If possible, greet each person that enters your business and maintain eye contact, so they know you're aware of their presence.
- Pay attention to fitting rooms and other isolated areas.
The way you arrange counters and displays can deter shoplifters:
- Put displays in full view of all employees.
- Lock up anything small that shoplifters can easily slip into their pockets or handbags.
- Keep expensive items away from entrances.
- Shoplifters must know that you mean business, so ensure you contact the police if you catch someone shoplifting.