By day, 4th Avenue is a bustling street, but by night, it’s becoming a haven for break-ins downtown.
Owner of Pacific Body Jewellery & Piercing, John Zukowski, says a greater police presence is needed. “There is a really noticeable lack of police controls at night and that’s a real concern when you’re running a business downtown,” he said. “I would say in the three to four years that we’ve been here, there’s been at least 10 break and enters in businesses right across the street from us or around the corner from us.”
Kate Roxburgh’s business, Topaz Bead Gallery, is just across the street from Zukowski and she’s no stranger to a break-in. “We’ve been broken into three times since we’ve been in this location five years, one in particular week we were lucky enough to be broken into twice.”
Although a business downtown may be at risk, Cpl. Craig Douglass with the Prince George RCMP, says it’s a problem just about everywhere in the City. “This is all over the map, so it’s hard to say specifically, so we do want the message to get out to everyone that nobody is immune, there’s been break and enters in just about every community.”
To date, there has been 156 break-ins to businesses in Prince George. Last year’s total at this point was 179 says Douglass. “That’s down a little bit from last year, but essentially it’s still high. Sometimes it could be a dozen a day, sometimes it’s two or three a day.”
Now, the RCMP is conducting free business security evaluations, making recommendations to secure windows, locks, and security systems. “We do phone victims of break and enters after the fact to offer this,” said Douglass. “But it’s better to phone the detachment and speak to the community policing section before you’re victimized, so that maybe you can eliminate that chance of being victimized.”
The community is also making an effort to stop prolific offenders as well. Roxburgh and her colleague’s on 4th Avenue have even gone as far as to create a Facebook page to keep all business owners aware of crimes. “If there’s a suspicious person we see, then we phone each other and we see if they down at a store,” she said. “We’re actually checking in for each other and helping each other out.”
If you hear of a break-in or any suspicious activity, you’re reminded to contact the Prince George RCMP at (250) 561-3300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).