Trumann businesses utilize forum to help prevent crime - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Trumann businesses utilize forum to help prevent crime

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TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - Several burglaries and thefts over the past few weeks at businesses in Trumann has prompted law enforcement to reach out to business owners in an effort to educate them on how to protect their businesses.

The Trumann Police Department held a crime prevention forum Tuesday evening to talk about "community oriented type of policing", provide recommendations on how to prevent certain crimes and allow business owners to ask questions.

One of the tips Trumann Police Chief Chad Henson offered is to empty cash registers at night and leave the empty cash drawers on display, a suggestion Trumann Auto Parts owner Neal Vickers has implemented.

"At the end of the day after we've ran our computer closure, we take all the cash out and we empty our cash drawer. We leave it on the counter in the visibility of the front door," Vickers said.

Vickers also installed security cameras in his store. Chief Henson said businesses owners should not worry if they do not have the resources to install surveillance because cameras are mainly useful in crime solving, not crime prevention.

Chief Henson encourages businesses owners to install audible alarm systems and display signs about the alarms and the absence of cash in the building during closing hours.

Trumann Drug was burglarized in March 2012, and again in early January 2013. The business owner said he had to replace a pill counter that cost several thousand dollars as a result of the burglary in March, and the drive-thru window had to be replaced after the most recent incident. According to the business owner, the criminals smashed the window, climbed in and stole shelves of controlled substances police say could sell on the street for $80 a pill.

Chief Henson said police officers have made more arrests for burglaries and drug possession during the past six months than during the previous three years, and half of the burglaries have happened at pharmacies.

A question posed by business owners at the meeting was whether the police department could increase police presence on the streets during overnight hours.

"We talked to the police about what they could do about increasing their patrols, shifting personnel to the night shift, things of that nature to kind of watch our businesses better."

Chief Henson said in a letter to business owners that the Trumann Police Department is doing its best with the resources available, but "it is not enough."

"We were hoping they could do more patrols to watch us, and that means then they have to pull away from other things that they're doing, fighting drugs in the community to be protecting our businesses, but the Chief has made a commitment to try and do the best that he can to help us protect what we have," Vickers said.

Other suggestions offered by Chief Henson were to keep the buildings well lit, even when the businesses are closed, and repair parking lot lights.

He also stressed that crimes need to be reported as soon as they happen because many business owners report the crimes several days after they happen or not at all.

To report crimes, call the Trumann Police Department at (870) 483-6423, or send a confidential email to tips@trumannpd.org.

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