Crime prevention and safety were some of the topics discussed at a special forum in Nowra on Wednesday night.
More than 30 Nowra CBD shop owners and workers attended the meeting at the Wesley Centre.
The event, initiated by the Nowra CBD Business Chamber, was hosted by NSW Police Shoalhaven Local Area Command crime prevention officer Senior Constable Anthony Jory.
“Crime is a problem for everyone,” Snr Const Jory said.
“Business and shop owners can do things to make it harder for prospective thieves,” he said.
“Whether it is just redesigning the layout of your shop making it harder for would-be thieves, having more staff available during busy times or even installing CCTV.
“Simply, to stop crime, increase the risk, increase the effort thieves have to go too and decrease the reward.
“It’s all about trying to make it harder for thieves while they are in your business. But ultimately it is also about your safety and that of your staff.
“In the end you have to weigh it up if the theft of a certain item or confrontation with an aggressive would-be shoplifter is worth the danger you might put yourself in.”
He encouraged businesses to install CCTV saying the footage captured can be of great assistance to police in investigating crime, especially in identifying offenders.
Nowra CBD Business Chamber member Annie Aldous said those present got a lot out of the meeting.
“It was informative and I think everyone got a lot of good initiatives and ideas,” she said.
“Snr Cons Jory also indicated he would be going back and talking individually to some shop owners who were having troubles.
“He is also willing to come to businesses and assess them to see what needs to be or can be done.
“We also need to get self motivated to make our shops as safe as possible but also make it hard for any potential shoplifters.”
Mrs Aldous said one positive thing to come from the meeting was the message shop owners and workers need to work as a community.
“We need to be available to help each other out in a time of need,” she said.
“I think the meeting has broken down a lot of barriers between the CBD shop owners and police.
“We are all on the same page now and that can only be a good thing.”
Snr Constable Jory also reminded the meeting about the 24 hour Police Assistance Line (131444), the new NSW Police Portal on which crime can also be reported.