Sheriff Department

Business & Neighborhood Watch


The Business Watch and Neighborhood Watch programs are organizations of concerned citizens working together to reduce crime in their community. Watch groups bring neighbors and businesses together with the police to mutually identify and resolve problems that effect their neighborhood.

Neighbors are trained to identify, observe, and report any suspicious activity taking place within or around their community.

We know that watch programs increase the quality of life among residents. Watch groups create a sense of community and pride by forming a unified group of citizens dedicated to improving their neighborhood.

Benefits of Watch Organizations:

  1. Deters criminal activity.
  2. Creates a greater sense of security and reduces fear of crime.
  3. Builds bonds with neighbors; people look out for one another; it stimulates neighborhood awareness.
  4. Reduces the risk of becoming a crime victim; it reduces the physical, financial and psychological cost of crime.
  5. Instructs residents on how to observe and report suspicious activities in your community.
  6. Addresses quality of life issues and mutual interests in your community.
  7. Provides a mechanism for information exchange between the public and police.

The Kent County Sheriff Department will assist you in organizing either a Neighborhood or Business Watch program in your area. Call (616) 632-6221 to have a trained professional work with you in setting up the program.

Safety Tips for Business Owners

Alarms & Lighting
  • Make sure that security measures, such as lights, alarms, and security personnel, are not only in place but are clearly visible and activated.
  • Keep all areas used by patrons well-lighted to deter criminal activity. 
  • Make sure that the main activities within your business can be clearly viewed from the street.
  • Check the parking lot for good lighting and unobstructed views.

Cameras
Surveillance cameras can serve as a deterrent to crime. Be sure these are activated, recording and in plain view at all times.

Misc.
  • If you are ever the victim of a robbery, comply. Give up your money or your merchandise - don’t give up your life.
  • If you are the victim of a robbery, a good description will be vital to police. Try to remember everything you can about the robber.
    • Gender
    • Race
    • Height
    • Weight
    • Scars / marks / tattoos
    • Facial hair
    • Eyes / eyeglasses
    • Clothing description
    • Weapon description
    • Vehicle description
  • If your business has a safe, be sure it is fireproof and securely anchored. Remember to change the combination when an employee who had access to it is no longer employed by your business.
  • Put business watch or alarm system stickers in a storefront window to discourage burglary and theft.
  • If you discover a break-in, call the police immediately. Don't enter the premises until police arrive.