This West Kelowna man is taking Block Watch to the shops - InfoNews

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This West Kelowna man is taking Block Watch to the shops

Crime Prevention Coordinator Roy Morgan is launching a Business Block Watch program on the Westside.
October 22, 2019 - 2:45 PM

Roy Morgan knows Block Watch programs reduce crime in residential areas because he’s been running them in the Okanagan for more than a decade.

Now, as the Central Okanagan’s crime prevention coordinator, he’s trying to create a Business Block Watch program to help Westside businesses reduce crime in and around their shops.

It’s the first of its kind in the Okanagan and one of only a few in B.C. including a similar program in Kamloops.

“There’s not been a huge rise in property crime, here in West Kelowna, or instances in businesses,” Morgan told iNFOnews.ca today, Oct. 22. “It’s just something that’s been in my thoughts for two years now. Now is the right time.”

As with residential Block Watch programs, participants register and Morgan will assist them in getting staff trained to be vigilant and provide other advice, such as keeping premises tidy, repairing broken windows and removing graffiti.

“It gives the impression you have pride in your premises,” Morgan said.

Staff will be encouraged to make eye contact with customers coming in and to say hello.

“If they don’t answer you back, hopefully, that will raise suspicions and you’ll have a gut feeling that they may be up to no good within your store,” he said.

Closed Circuit TV cameras both inside and out are important tools, as are simple things like keeping staff rooms locked if they’re at all accessible to the public.

He also advises keeping shop windows clear of too much clutter so staff can see what’s going on outside. That’s especially important for businesses like gas stations.

The free program also comes with stickers for store windows that do deter criminals, he said.

Morgan will be visiting businesses in the coverage area in hopes of getting them to sign onto the program.

Sponsored by the Greater Westside Board of Trade, City of West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and the RCMP, it will cover Westside businesses within the regional district. A separate Block Watch program is operated in Kelowna but it doesn’t have a Business component.

Morgan hopes to have statistics on the effectiveness of the program within six months, although he cautioned that they may show an increase in incidents since businesses will be encouraged to report crimes to the RCMP.

Westside businesses can learn more and register at rdco.com/businesswatch.

The Kamloops program does not ask businesses to register but does information sessions and safety checks. It's run out of the North Shore Community Police Office by calling 250-376-5099 or on-line here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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