A Corvallis Police Department Crime Prevention Program
"At first it looked like real money, but too late I realized it was a clever counterfeit. After checking with other businesses, I found that several had experienced the same problem. If only we had alerted each other…"
What is Business Watch?
Business Watch is a crime prevention partnership between community businesses and the Corvallis Police Department. Its purpose is to reduce crime-related financial losses to businesses and to reduce the fear of crime from both the business owner's and the customers' points of view.
Business Watch is designed primarily to prevent crimes that effect cash and credit card transactions. These crimes include the various forms of fraud such as negotiating bad checks, forgery, counterfeiting, and identity theft. However, Business Watch also works to prevent computer scams and confidence schemes directed toward businesses, as well as the crimes of shoplifting and vandalism.
How Does Business Watch Operate?
As a partnership, Business Watch works by two-way communication between program members and the Corvallis Police Department.
Corvallis Police developed a city-wide Business Watch Alert e-mail network through which it notifies program members about business-related criminal activity. Alerts warn members about forged, stolen or lost checks and credit cards, stolen identities, counterfeit bills and checks, names and account numbers of persons actively passing bad checks, current business scams, shoplifters, area vandalism, and other topics of interest that may arise.
In turn, businesses can notify the Corvallis Police of crimes or suspicious activity at their location. And then the Police will warn the other Business Watch members by forwarding that information over the program's network.
Alerts are issued as soon as possible after the Corvallis Police Department responds to a call for service or otherwise becomes aware of criminal activity.
Important Business Watch Concepts:
Get to know your business neighbors. There is a social component to Business Watch. The better you know the people who work in your neighboring businesses, the more likely you -- and they -- are to look out for each other. So make personal contact and let them know you are a member of Business Watch. Talk about how you can work together to prevent crime and keep an eye on each other's business.
Watch and Report. Report suspicious activity to 911 immediately, even if it means taking a chance you are wrong.
Do not endanger yourself. Rather, learn to be a good witness. Take note of unique or unusual characteristics such as scars, tattoos, missing fingers, bad or missing teeth, speech mannerisms, limping, bruises, or odd clothing. Note the direction the person goes and get a license plate number if possible.
If the situation is occurring at the moment but is not an emergency or it is something that occurred while your business was closed, call 541-766-6924.
Identify Valuable Assets. Engrave valuable office equipment, tools, and other assets with your Employer Identification Number or your Oregon driver license number. Engravers, with instructions, may be checked out free of charge by Business Watch members from the Corvallis Police Department.
Advertise Aggressively. Make it clearly known that you -- and your neighboring businesses -- actively report criminal activity and that you regularly receive crime alerts from the Corvallis Police. Post decals that state you are a member of Business Watch. Decals are available at no cost from the Corvallis Police Department.
Secure Your Property. Conduct a self-help security survey of your property and of the way you handle money, financial records, and other sensitive information. Or, you can request a security survey by the Corvallis Police Department by calling 766-6863 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com
Business Watch Works!
The Corvallis Police Department has direct evidence that program alerts have led to the prevention of loss, to the return of stolen merchandise, and to the apprehension of criminals. One recent example is of an alert warning program members about a woman passing bad checks and for anyone already having received checks from her to call in. The response was immediate. And it gave detectives the evidence on which to arrest her the next morning for over 50 counts of negotiating a bad check.
How To Enroll
Joining Business Watch is easy. Just send an e-mail to Business Watch with the following information:
- Business name
- Name of principal contact
- Business street address
- Business e-mail address
- Business phone number
Business Watch Contact Information:
The preferred way to contact the Corvallis Police Department about Business Watch is via e-mail.
Corvallis Police Department
180 NW 5th Street
Corvallis, OR 97330
Other Crime Prevention Programs:
The Corvallis Police Department provides several other crime prevention programs that are also free of cost. All crime prevention programs are coordinated by the Auxiliary. For information, just click on these links.
Cops & Robbers 101 - Citizen Police Academy
National Night Out
Corvallis Police Volunteer Auxiliary