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Old September 22, 2005, 10:15 PM   #1
wayneinFL
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neighborhood going downhill

I suppose this is more of a crime prevention question than tactics, but I can't think of any other forum where my question could be answered by more qualified people than the members of TFL.

My dad and his boss work a two-man shop in a little industrial plaza in an area with low rent residential properties. Increasingly, there have been problems with loitering, littering, basically people hanging out drinking where they shouldn't be at night. Sheriff's deputy says there's nothing they can do about that.

Recently, it seems conditions are worsening. My dad pointed out piles of beer bottles littering the property. Literally hundreds of bottles on the property on the end next to an empty lot. They have found men passed out drunk on the property in the morning. More recently, someone found a stolen wallet in the dumpster.

This morning when they showed up to open, there was a fresh (still wet) puddle of blood in the parking lot and a trail leading between the two buildings and then out the other side on the next street.

Sounds to me like there's an increasing probability of a burglary at night. Possibly even an opening time robbery, or, more of a concern, someone being hurt for simply showing up for work a little early.

I'm probably sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong, but my question is what can be done to keep the criminal element out of this place? The shop has a burglar alarm. However, it's an auto shop- a thief could empty $40,000 in an employee's tools in less than a minute. Even if an alarm or camera caught a burglary, the cops could take a report, but dad's stuff would still be gone. A fence maybe? But with 9 or 10 businesses with heavy traffic on a tiny lot with 2 entrances, I'm not sure how feasible that really is. A night security guard on the premises would be safest, but figuring roughly, each tenant would pay another 50-75% in rent to pay for it. Lights? There is a large area between the two rows of shops not visible to the street. Besides, who would notice one guy knocking down a door when there are so many people travelling through the parking lot?

Any suggestions?
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Old September 22, 2005, 11:03 PM   #2
AndrewTB
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Wayne im guessing from your Screen name your in Florida? LOL sorry but im just asking to confirm.

The gangs here in Florida are getting pretty bad. I just heard about a case where 4 hispanic mails cut off a guys head and played basketball with it because of the following.

They walk up to him asking where the hot mommas are at.

He replied how should I know

They kill him etc..


Here in tampa there are 34 confirmed gangs and each are growing in alarming rates. The PD here says they are extremly dangerous and we should report gang activity as soon as we see it.

It worries me a bit but thankfully the house is armed now along with the animals too. So hopefully nothing will happen. But if it doesn there a chance of defending my house.
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Old September 22, 2005, 11:04 PM   #3
Capt Charlie
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Your going to have to spend a little money, but here's a few time-proven tips. Lights, absolutely; the more the brighter the better. For some psychological reason unknown to me, it's a proven fact that litter encourages crime. Get other shops in the area to do a thorough clean up. And finally, pole cams, even if they're fakes. Post the area with signs clearly saying that there is video surveillance 24/7, and place the cams where they're clearly visible. If you can afford it, use the real cams and file charges each and every time you review the tapes and find a violation. Good luck. Your's is an uphill battle, but it can be won.
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Old September 22, 2005, 11:16 PM   #4
Blue Heeler
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Move the business elsewhere. Cleaning up this sort of area can take a long time.
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Old September 22, 2005, 11:26 PM   #5
USP45usp
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Crime is gaining here also, and the police won't/can't do anything about it. I'm having troubles with the scum across the street, I either made a point a couple of weeks ago, or I set myself up, time will tell.

The scum around here are more on the law then I, and even with the registerguard printing the crimes that the DA won't go after, the TV and the "pipeline" of the transients have been boardcasting what they can, and can't get away with.

I've already have had to show my weapon with one, yet more and more are getting more and more brave. They are getting down right agressive.

The only thing that I can say is to allow any and all employees to be armed, and that a good "behind the shed" beating will spread the word that this is not a place you wish to wake up (sorry, but it's true).

As for getting broken into, the alarm company will call you no matter the time and ask if that is you, if you can get to the location, etc. Get a good shotgun and keep it in the trunk of your car.

Lights are good also, I have outside lights on the house. Great when you need to see what is going on.

Good luck to you, but look at who is allowing this BS... your city counsel and your state government (if your's is like mine).

Wayne
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Old September 22, 2005, 11:34 PM   #6
RWK
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Briefly:
a) Move;
b) What Capt Charlie suggested plus: (1) large dog (if feasible), (2) excellent alarm system(s), and (3) a vault (separate steel-reinforced concrete room -- including a separate ceiling built to the same specifications -- within the shop with a heavy solid steel vault door where he can roll his tools and expensive equipment at the close of business each day.

I would favor "a".

Good luck to your dad.
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Old September 22, 2005, 11:37 PM   #7
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I would say to get a good watch dog and put him inside the building at night....

the cam idea is a good one and even a security company sign.

with cams, security sign and fido the ones looking for an easy score might move right on by.....

if you dad has some welding stuff I would probably make up a heavy wire cage to roll toolboxes into at night.

the more layers of defense you can add to a place adds to delays for Mr. Criminal.
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Old September 23, 2005, 12:05 AM   #8
Hayley
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Following what Captain C suggested, it seems meeting with other area business people about the problem would be a good first step. As with the formation of neighborhood watch groups, perhaps someone with the local police could attend and give some advice.

[everytime I read something like this, I grow more perplexed why this (illegal immigration flooding into our country--of course, I'm assuming it's related) is allowed to happen.]
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Old September 23, 2005, 12:16 AM   #9
AndrewTB
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Hayley,
Theres no need to assume illegal immigration is the issue. Because around here it IS the problem. I was watching the hispanic chanell and most of the gangs here are hispanic gangs that consist of illegal immigrants.
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Old September 23, 2005, 12:23 AM   #10
tanksoldier
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The sheriff isn't saying the behavior is legal, it's just that they can't afford to post a deputy on every corner. If you follow the advice above and give them some suspects you might have some luck... or you might show up one day to find the shop burnt to the ground.

It seems your dad's neighborhood is sliding down the slope. It could be a long time before it climbs back up. I'd move.
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Old September 23, 2005, 12:25 AM   #11
Harley Quinn
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Hi some good answers others not so good.

Get the business owners together and see if they want to hire a security guard. Start with that and see where it goes. You have already done other things I would check that one out.

It is the sign of the times, probably a write off other large corps do it and you know they go for the most write offs lol.

Landlord should be held accountable, also he might help with expenses.

My friend owns a large working complex. Tall fences and a gate that locked and keys for the renters. But I would try the security angle first. Lots of lights and security drive by is good or it could even be more intense, Pocket book is to be considered but split 10 ways (others) it might be OK.

Good luck

Harley
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Old September 23, 2005, 12:34 AM   #12
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Illegal Immigrants

Why aren't these people arrested as they are here? Detention is mandatory and deportation follows. Sure there are overstayers, but only those we haven't caught yet. With a conviction they have no show of ever getting in legally. I do understand the practical problem with porous borders, Aus is an island.

What I don't understand is how apparently so many survive in America without being eligible for welfare. Surely it can't be living off the proceeds of crime? And, if they work, who can employ them without a Tax File Number?
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Old September 23, 2005, 01:00 AM   #13
RWK
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Blue:

A couple quick points to help answer your questions:

1) It is my understanding that local/state law enforcement cannot arrest an illegal resident for immigration violations. If he is detained for some other reason, he can then be referred to the Federal (ICE) authorities for probable expulsion, but your local cop simply cannot demand to see a "green card" (or other documentation) without cause (I could be wrong about this, in which case I hope others will educate me).

2) There is LOTS of CASH ONLY, off-the-books, labor in our economy (violating tax laws, among other statutes and regulations, of course); this provides income to illegals without any requirements for documentation (and frequently without a social security number, without workman’s compensation coverage, or without any other formal employment legal benefits/guarantees).
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Old September 23, 2005, 01:07 AM   #14
AndrewTB
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Blue_Heeler,
Illegal immigrants survive off the goverment. They rarely pay taxes and use loopholes and fake ids to obtain welfare. Trust me ive seen it . If the goverment overhauled the welfare system and made sure only legal people earned these benefits the welfare system would have plenty of funding as opposed to be low on funds.

If illegal immigrants followed the rules within america I wouldnt have as much of a problem with it. There are a handful that mean well and follow the rules. But the majority of illegal immigrants go on to abuse the USA.
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Old September 23, 2005, 01:22 AM   #15
Bravo25
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I have worked in the courts, and seen illegals come in, and be turned over to INS. Only then to have INS cut them loose because it is to costly, and time consuming to get them deported.
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Old September 23, 2005, 02:01 AM   #16
Harley Quinn
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I know FL has a lot of illegals but all who end up on the streets are not illegal as in not in this country legally.

It is a catch 22 and I am glad I am now retired from it and just get to do my thing. Independent to a fault.
But give the guy information he is aking for, not some other hypothetical stuff. Stick to the thread or ??? I know I am a spoiler.

Another thing you could do is become a security guard and go out there and crush crime, go through the court system and see what we have become as a country. Then you will be inclined to move. But all is not that bleek.
Do some more home work and make a good decision based on what you find and talk to your dad and let him know what you found.

Harley
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Old September 23, 2005, 04:48 AM   #17
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The simplest and safest solution would be to move elsewhere. You could get the place cleaned up and the trash run off, but it will be an uphill battle. The gangs get more violent every year and they don't care who they kill, it's a status symbol with them. Once they start to infest an area, it's nearly impossible to get them back out without a major community effort. Good luck and keep safe.
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Old September 23, 2005, 07:30 AM   #18
John28226
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Shop Security

Wayne, since I have not seen your father's shop, my recommendations are quite general. I do security consulting as part of my job but I make no claims at knowing it all. Obviously your father and his neighbors can fight or take flight. Flight is cheapest. If they choose to fight it should be as a united group, not a single shop and they should have a battle plan. I suggest NO fake exterior cameras - bad legal precedents. Real, exterior low light cameras are pretty inexpensive now. You can actually buy a 9 camera system with infrared lighting, motion detection, combination DVR and multiplexer, remote viewing (can log in to view the worksite from any Internet PC), cables and monitor for about $2500. Contact the power company about adding some pole lighting to brighten the area (for a deterrent). If county code allows string barbed wire on stantions pointed outward on the top of the fence. Close and lock the gates at COB each day. Meet with the proper law enforcement agencies, if possible include a reporter.

I subscribe to the "broken windows" concept of crime prevention which is basically that if you allow a small problem (i.e., broken windows in abandoned businesses) to go unaddressed, the problems will worsen and eventually become out of control.

It is doubtful that your father or his neighbors can do what is necessary alone. They need to partner with as many levels of government as possible and they will need to reach out to the adjacent neighborhoods to push the problem further back.

If there is a locally owned security company that conducts patrols using armed security officers talk with them too. Might not be as expensive as you think and there are some high tech methods of ensuring that the patrol is actually conducted at random times, not a route.

The suggestion about a tool cage is also very good advise. Failing that, a simple enclosure made of 1/4 inch by 4 inch flat iron for the rolling type tool boxes can be fabricated. Use high quality hinges or pins and American brand hardened padlocks. Most automotive shops with welders can make their own tool locking enclosures. Bars on the shop windows (if local code allows) are a good idea.

Most business firms will make a decision based on economics and the cheapest solution is to relocate. I wish you and your family the best on this. It is not an easy fight. If it is allowed on this forum, you can contact me off line if you like.
John
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Old September 23, 2005, 08:56 AM   #19
Jack Malloy
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Have the business owners and people in the community looked into starting up a neighborhood watch?
We had similar problems in a small area near here. A year later the place is cleaned up considerably and local businesses have assisted the watch group in obtaining a headquarters and equipment because it works.
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Old September 23, 2005, 09:34 AM   #20
rgoudy1975
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If moving is not an option, bars on the doors and lots of lights.

I really detest the idea of moving. I tend to take the stance of "this is my neighborhood, keep your trash out of it." I hate the idea of trash invading my space and forcing me out, so I would fight back even if it were a little expensive and time-consuming.
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Old September 23, 2005, 11:21 AM   #21
threefivesevenmag
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This has been an informative post. Are there any other self-owned business people with similar problems that have come up with solutions?

Also, USP, what situation made you show your weapon? Just curious, as my apartment complex used to be sort of bad and now it's been getting better. I never had to draw, but was glad I had my CC with me all the time.
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Old September 23, 2005, 12:08 PM   #22
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Most effective methods have already been discussed. And most are right. But it won't do any good to bankrupt your business trying to keeo it safe. I would suggest the 1st thing would be to plan a meeting with the other business owners. Host a nice BBQ or something at your house and invite them all over to address these issues, and get their input. If you can get them all to contractually agree to contribute to defenses, it would be great. You want just enough to keep baddies away, but not so much that your business looks like an armed compound, because that will scare customers away as surely as the criminal element. Good luck and keep us posted....
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Old September 23, 2005, 12:26 PM   #23
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Some here have advocated moving, and I suppose that's the sane and logical thing to do, but, ya know, there's just something about doing that that sticks in my gut. Call it an emotional response, but I'd imagine there's some history and memories there that make it worth fighting for. That's a personal decision for you, I guess, but before I'd let a bunch of low lifes push me off of a business that I'd put money, time, sweat and tears into, I'd fight, logical or not.
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Old September 23, 2005, 01:16 PM   #24
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Most police departments can't afford to go after such stuff, especially when they are made to spend so much of the budget on items such as biochemical suits and so on that just drain it. Of course the only real way they are going to deal with the gangs is to deal with the rapidly increasing poverty. When all the jobs are going abroad and the taxcuts go to the wealthy who just wall themselves off more and more from society. If they dealt with this crime, abortion, gangs all decrease substantially.

Neighbourhood watches are good practice in an area. Lights do work, but they can also have the opposite effect that they allow criminals to see easily. Cameras, fake or not work really well as do large signs pointing out security in the area works. You could even pay for a security guy to drive past every now and again and wouldn't be too expensive if you join up with the others. Dogs can work well if thats what they are train to do. A number of times the more peaceful dogs will be happy to have someone to play with so make sure you have them well trained. A burgular system and locking up the expensive tools work well should they get in. Perhaps shutters on all doors and windows.

Unfortantly beyond that theres not alot you can do.
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Old September 23, 2005, 02:56 PM   #25
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Quote:
Of course the only real way they are going to deal with the gangs is to deal with the rapidly increasing poverty. When all the jobs are going abroad and the taxcuts go to the wealthy who just wall themselves off more and more from society. If they dealt with this crime, abortion, gangs all decrease substantially.
I'm curious on what information are you basing this opinion. Not flaming or trying to agitate. Just wondering.
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