It has often been said that, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And nowhere is this more accurate than in crime prevention strategies for small businesses in New York State.
Crimes against small businesses are among the most insidious as they negatively affect so many different aspects of our society. They not only immediately impact small business owners, operators and employees, but also the communities that depend upon small business for jobs and prosperity.
Each year, crimes against small businesses deprive the state of invaluable sales and income-tax revenue at a time when state programs that we all depend upon – such as education and health care – are facing severe cuts due to financial shortfalls.
This is why I recently co-sponsored Bill A.00350 in the New York State Assembly. Sponsored by Assemblymember George S. Latimer, the Small Business Crime Prevention Program would cost-effectively protect New York State businesses, their employees, customers and neighbors, while simultaneously enhancing and promoting New York State as an innovative and safe place to do business. The bill has passed in the New York State Assembly, and is awaiting action in the Senate.
Every year, small businesses in New York State suffer reduced sales and diminished profits because of criminal activities like shoplifting, arson, theft, vandalism, graffiti, identity theft and fraud.
While some effective measures – such as Neighborhood Watch programs – are already in effect in New York State, there are other effective measures in existence that would deter criminal activity and prevent small businesses from closing. Among these measures are enhanced lighting, the use of surveillance cameras and training programs for small business owners and employees.
The challenge right now is that unlike major corporations, small businesses generally lack the financial and educational resources to develop and implement effective crime prevention strategies. The Small Business Crime Prevention Program would close some of these gaps by providing the means by which small businesses, not-for-profits, and municipalities in New York State would be provided loans, grants, and other assistance through the Empire State Economic Development Fund.
Small businesses would be given information on strategies and best practices that would enhance the prevention of criminal activity. They would receive information on their respective eligibility and applications for financial assistance provided by the Urban Development Corporation, as well as financial assistance provided by local governments, New York State and the federal government.
Moreover, small businesses would be provided with information on how to protect their assets through the identification and application of risk reduction strategies. The Small Business Crime Prevention Program would further increase crime prevention measures by improving the situational awareness of business owners and operators.
This would be accomplished by providing small businesses with detailed information on responses to criminal activity, the reporting of crimes, and how to submit insurance claims and access crime victim assistance programs.
We know that criminal activity brings nothing to a community but fear, despair, poverty, and dissolution. The passage of A.00350 would provide New York State’s small businesses with the crime prevention strategies and tools they need to keep their doors open for business.
Michael DenDekker represents the 34th Assembly District in Queens.