The first Beach Boulevard Business Watch meeting was held on Tuesday evening at Boca Bay Grille where many of the businesses on Beach Boulevard came together to help reduce crime. Business Watch is a new crime prevention program that is a partnership between local business and the Gulfport Police Department.
Richard Grimberg, the volunteer coordinator for the Gulfport Police Department, and Lieutenant Josh Stone moderated the event.
“The purpose is to meet and help share information,” Stone said. “We can address any concerns as well as distribute information to you.”
This particular business crime watch is specifically geared toward the 30 businesses on Beach Boulevard. Grimberg states that he also has plans to create a 49th Street Business Watch and a Gulfport Boulevard Business Watch.
“It’s a fine-oiled machine,” Linda Craig, owner of Perfect 10 Nail Salon said when speaking of about keeping the crime watch within Beach Boulevard. “It’s containable.”
Lieutenant Stone’s main objective with the crime watch is for all businesses to get to know each other better as well as getting to know the police better.
“Getting to know each other is key,” Stone said. “It’s strength in numbers.”
Grimberg spoke on other key points, including employee safety, workplace violence, reducing hazards, and shoplifting as important items the crime watch will address.
“We’ll even train your employees at meetings,” Grimberg said.
Business owners will have the opportunity to learn about crime prevention though environmental design, and Gulfport police will perform a security assessment to gauge the safety of a business.
Stone said actions such as trimming hedges, trimming trees or adding better light can make all the difference in safety and sightlines throughout a business.
“It’s nice to know there’s a police presence here,” said John Shelvin, who was representing Domain Home Accessories.
Many of the dozen attendees at the meeting shared the same sentiment.
“I wave to the police every morning,” James Clark, owner of T and Me, said. “You don’t see that anymore, and I lived all around the country.”
The Business Watch plans on meeting monthly, tentatively on Tuesdays. Contact Richard Grimberg at 727-893-1022.