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New program designed to make businesses safer

Madera Police Chief Dino Lawson has announced the creation of a no-cost program designed to reduce crime in the business districts of Madera.

“The program is structured similar to the “Neighborhood Watch,” program but for businesses,” said Officer Wayson Juarez the community liaison officer appointed by Chief Lawson.

The Business Watch platform follows the model of Neighborhood Watch, but is tailored for business and retail areas. The goal is to create a partnership between business, law enforcement and other entities within the city. Business Watches promote communication, allow the police to teach merchants how to crime-proof their properties, properly report crimes and suspicious activity and encourage cooperation with other businesses in their immediate area.

In the downtown area, about 50 businesses in the area of E to C and 5th to 9th streets have enrolled in the program. The next section being recruited is the Country Club Shopping Center from Cleveland to Sherwood avenues. The businesses from Sherwood to the Tractor Supply Store make up the next area, Juarez said.

“Like the Neighborhood Watch program, business neighbors are encouraged to keep an eye out for trouble — not only in their own businesses, but those of the merchants around them,” he said.

These businesses will be supplied with signs to post, advising would-be thieves they are being observed.

A public meeting, from 5 to 6 p.m. on May 9 at Wells Fargo Bank, 1141 Country Club Drive is scheduled to introduce the program to the community. On May 11, a second meeting is scheduled, also 5 to 6 p.m. at O’Riley Auto Parts, 1341 Country Club Drive.

Information on this crime reduction project is available from Officer Juarez, 416-6269.

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