Mpls Police Post Tips for Businesses to Prevent Burglary, Robbery and Looting Amid COVID-19 Shutdown

The Minneapolis Police Department sent out a list of tips for businesses to avoid becoming victims of crime if they’ve been impacted by closures or reduced operations because of COVID-19 emergency declarations.

Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Police Department sent out a list of tips this week for businesses to avoid becoming victims of crime if they’ve been impacted by closures or reduced operations because of COVID-19 emergency declarations. 

State and local officials implemented emergency declarations earlier this month amid the COVID-19 outbreak which have mandated closing or reducing access to businesses like bars, restaurants, nightclubs, salons and coffee shops. The closures are an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Other businesses have voluntarily closed or limited operations or have directed employees to work from home when possible, leaving empty businesses and offices or skeleton crews in others.

In addition to the economic impact and hardships that closures are having on businesses and their employees, the Minneapolis Police Department has now sent out a warning for businesses to take precautions against being robbed, burglarized or looted.

In an email sent out this week by MPD titled ‘Security Message to Business Owners and Managers,” police urged businesses to review their security plans, lock up valuables and remove all cash and liquor from the businesses. They included the following list of suggestions for closed and partially open businesses:

If your business is closed during the local emergency declaration:
–Review your security plans.
–Remove all cash from the business leaving cash drawers open and empty.
–Remove or secure items of opportunistic theft, especially items that can be seen and then grabbed by smashing an exterior window.
–Lock up liquor.
–Ensure your security system is operational and accessible. Arm it every time someone is not present.
–Check to make sure security cameras are working and aimed at the right locations to capture suspicious activity and suspects’ faces.

If your business is open or open while limited to delivery, takeout and drive through orders:
–Review your security and staffing plans to ensure a sufficient number of employees are on site.
–Review plans for limiting opportunities for crime and insure staff know your procedures for robbery and theft incidents.
–Review your policies for cash on hand.
–Control access to the establishment for customers coming in for pickups; maintain safe spacing of at least 6-feet between people.
–Lock all doors that are not being used for the operation of your limited business.
–Secure access to non-public areas, bathrooms and storage rooms.
–Train staff to be observant and report suspicious people within or around your business
–Check to make sure security cameras are working and aimed at the right locations to capture suspicious activity and suspects’ faces.
–If you are using delivery drivers, review safety plans with drivers. Remind them to be vigilant if approached by a stranger on the street; they should never leave the keys in their car and never leave the car running while making the delivery.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. CALL 911 IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OR WITNESS TO CRIMINAL ACTIVITY

MPD also posted on a neighborhood message board that some areas of Minneapolis, including the 2nd Precinct, have seen an increase in business burglaries possibly attributed to the shutdown.

Gluek’s bar in downtown Minneapolis was observed this week with boards on the windows.

(Gluek’s bar downtown Minneapolis)

Businesses in other cities across the country have begun boarding storefronts to stave off looting including in the cities of Chicago, New York, Austin, San Francisco and Harrisburg.

On Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz extended certain business closures, previously scheduled through March 27, to continue until at least May 1. The continued closures include bars, schools, gyms, movie theaters, zoos, concert halls, entertainment venues and other public gathering locations. Clinics, grocery stores, gas stations and liquor stores remain open.

The governor’s ‘stay-at-home’ executive order was extended until at least April 10. The order can be read in its entirety online.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota