From left: Robert B. Haase, WR Director of Communications, John McDonagh, Greater Vancouver Chamber President, Mark Johnson, WR V.P. of Policy & Government Affairs, Robert Nelson, President of the Washington Organized Retail Crime Association (WAORCA).
The Greater Vancouver Chamber members convened at Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver last week, where business owners from Clark County gathered to discuss the pressing issue of crime affecting their companies. President and CEO of the Chamber, John McDonagh, led the event, which kicked off with a digital survey. The survey revealed that out of 60 attendees’ responses, 41 had experienced vandalism at their businesses, yet only 27 had reported it.
To address this issue, the Chamber organized two panels of speakers who provided valuable insights on making insurance claims, reporting crimes, and preventing crime before it happens. They highlighted the importance of reporting crimes to law enforcement agencies, as resources are allocated based on this metric.
Mark Johnson, WR Vice President of Policy & Government Affairs, spoke about how Washington’s pursuit law restrictions have affected local law enforcement’s ability to enforce the law. “Of the five bills before the legislature to fix police pursuit issues, only one was passed, but it was weakened by the exclusion of property crimes, such as retail theft and carjacking.” “Thieves can drive off with stolen goods while police officers can only watch,” Johnson said.
Responding to questions about WR’s Guide to Navigating Public Safety & Retail Theft, Robert Haase, WR Director of Communications, shared how retailers can make changes to stores to deter and disincentivize thefts and break-ins.
Other suggestions included installing concrete balusters to prevent smash-and-grab thefts and organizing stores to deter shoplifting.
Speakers noted that retail theft is not limited to Vancouver or the Portland metro area, as organized crime groups continue to target businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest. Rachel Codiroli, Business Development Manager at Securitas, urged business owners to evaluate their security measures and adopt a proactive approach to protect their establishments.