Last summer the owner of Authentic Ink on Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge was assaulted behind her tattoo studio while taking her garbage out.
Tracey Nahachewski was too injured, but the incedent shook her up.
That is why she was one of the first businesses to sign up as a member to the new Business Watch.
The program was designed to help local business owners feel safe and to protect their shops.
The Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association teamed up with Ridge Meadows RCMP and initiated Business Watch.
“It is a pilot project, so we are just testing the water to see how it will work out,” said RCMP Special Const. Steve Terrillon.
“It is very similar to Block Watch in that information is shared if a business is having a problem,” said Terrillon, adding that in the case of a crime, whether emergency or not, every business will receive a warning email about it from the BIA.
The plan is for police and businesses to work together to promote safety through prevention and reduce crime.
On launch day Thursday, police visited two stores on Lougheed Highway – Wanstalls and Authentic Ink.
“We need to unite as a business community and bring awareness to each other,” said Nahachewski, owner of the tattoo studio.
“It’s been a lot more safe since [the assault last summer]. Police have done more foot patrols, more interaction, and made their presence known. I’m extremely grateful for that,” she said.
“We, as business owners, need to step up,” she said, citing joining Business Watch as an example.
One of the benefits to members is training on safety, security, and business-related crime for owners and employees. Another benefit is a deterrent decal, similar to Block Watch, which is placed in the windows of participating businesses. The police will also do a free security assessment of a registered business if requested.