Comox Valley RCMP urges businesses to be prepared ‘in the unlikely event’

Comox Valley RCMP urges businesses to be prepared ‘in the unlikely event’

“In the unlikely event …”

No one expects to go to work in the morning and end up confronting an armed robber. Or a violent ex-spouse of a fellow employee.

And that’s not to mention customers practising identity fraud and theft.

So what’s a small business owner to do in these “unlikely events.”

Be prepared with a simple plan to help keep employees safe.

Inspector Tim Walton, head of the Comox Valley RCMP detachment, had some words of advice on the theme of dealing with “unlikely events” Wednesday at the Chamber of Commerce’s leaders luncheon sponsored by the City of Courtenay.

The main thing is to have a plan to reduce risk to employees. Big businesses all have such plans.

“Your plans can be simple. You can start by talking to employees,” he said.

Would your employees know what to do if an agitated ex-spouse turns up in the workplace, for example.

He believes in applying the “what if” mode of thinking to prepare for any emergency.

“We need to think about these events now. By preparing now, we show we care about employees. It’s good for our bottom line and it’s the right thing to do,” Walton said.

One of the most prevalent crimes in the Comox Valley is thefts from vehicles. And hundreds of those a year could be prevented by simply locking your vehicle door.

Criminals here traditionally do not break windows to get into your vehicle, Walton said.

And he emphasized reporting these incidents so police can at least map where and when they are occurring.

The detachment has a non-emergency line where suspicious people or occurrences can be reported as well.

An ever-growing threat, though, is identity theft and fraud.

One serious case was broken “right here in this building” (Best Western Westerly Hotel) when an alert front desk clerk noted something wrong. That one alert clerk led police to about $1 million in frauds up and down the Island and the lower mainland.

Walton noted there are 7,000 businesses in the Comox Valley. Of those, only 66 reported break and enters last year.

“We really live in a safe community,” said Walton, but added that calls to police last year were up three per cent, “the first time in a long time” to see an increase.