Members of the Columbia Police Department’s community services unit will meet with business representatives Thursday in the second of three sessions to discuss crime prevention.
“We basically decided that it would be something valuable for the Columbia community, based on programs that other cities are offering and requests that we’ve had for specific programs,” officer Tim Thomason said.
Sixty-one people signed up to attend the three free informational sessions. Topics covered last Thursday included crime prevention through environmental design, business watch, workplace violence, threats and evacuation plans, employee theft, hiring and terminations, and background checks.
“It’s three nights, and the sessions are independent,” Columbia police officer Jessie Haden said.
Participants can choose the session they want to attend. Thursday’s session deals with trespassing, shoplifting, robbery, quick change/counterfeiting, frauds and forgeries, identity theft, police response to crimes and calls for service, using 911, investigative follow-ups, police department structure and “whom to call for what.” Session three, to be held Aug. 12, will deal with drug recognition and meth labs, and a tour of the Columbia Police Department.
“We are really, really comfortable with you guys calling us anytime,” Haden said to the group after her business cards had been distributed.
Thomason, who gave a presentation on crime prevention through environmental design, said he hoped to convey that advertising and things that they do on a daily basis affects their visibility and how that can deter crime.
Thomason said they hoped the program would provide working knowledge of how the police department works and how they can partner with the police to keep from becoming victims.
“We sometimes do their training anyway on handling robberies or trying to prevent fraud or self-protection,” said Owenetta Murray, assistant vice president of operations for Columbia’s Commerce Bank.
“The robbery rate is almost doubled since last year, but most have been highway robberies — some guy gets held up in a parking lot,” Haden said.
The meetings will be at the Columbia Board of Realtors building at 2309 I-70 Drive N.W. from 6 to 9:15 p.m.