The Sheriff’s Office offers many crime prevention programs for businesses. Business owners and managers are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office and take advantage of these programs in order to make their businesses as crime resistant as possible.

Business Crime Watch

The Business Crime Watch program was established as the extended eyes and ears of the Sheriff’s Office, where business owners and operators are educated in crime prevention, and get personally involved in reducing crime around their businesses.

Business Crime Watch consists of business owners or operators who care enough about safety and crime prevention to get directly involved in the process themselves. Business Crime Watch is concerned with the safety of employees, employers, customers and the business property itself.

Business Crime Watches are made up of a group of businesses in a particular area, or a group involved in a similar type of business, such as bar owners or liquor store owners or convenience store owners. The group meets periodically to discuss problems they may be having around their businesses, and solutions they may have come up with to combat those problems. The meeting gives business owners a chance to interact with each other, and with law enforcement, on a regular basis.

When a business owner or a group of owners is interested in starting a Business Crime Watch, all they have to do is call the Sheriff’s Office. A Crime Prevention Officer will then meet with the group to help them form a Business Crime Watch. At the initial meeting, two members will be identified as a Primary and Alternate contacts. These contacts will be kept informed by the Crime Prevention Officer of all major criminal activities which would effect their businesses. The Primary contact will form a telephone chain of members in order to pass along that information to all members of the group.

Business Crime Watches may request specific training for owners or employees in fields such as robbery prevention and response, shoplifting, anti-counterfeiting programs, or any other related topic. This training is provided free of charge by the Sheriff’s Office Business Crime Prevention Coordinator. Business Crime Watch signs are also provided free to be posted outside the business to let everyone know there is a Crime Watch group monitoring the area.

Business Security Surveys

The Sheriffs Office offers all businesses a free Security Survey upon request. This survey can be completed in about one hour by a Crime Prevention Officer, who will check over the premises and give specific suggestions for the improvement of security in and around the business. During this survey an emergency contact sheet will be filled out so Officers responding to an emergency will have a person to call after hours in an emergency.

Business Crime Watch is a proven crime deterrent that takes very little time and effort to participate in. Call the Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Division now to set up a Business Crime Watch in your area. The phone number is 292-7116 or 1-800-273-COPS.

Night Eyes Program

One of the programs offered by the Sheriff’s Office through the Business Crime Prevention Coordinator is the Night Eyes Program. In this program, deputies who are on evening and night shifts check local businesses for any safety problems or criminal activity after the business closes. Deputies will check for open windows, unlocked doors, ladders leaning up against the building or any other potential safety problem. After checking the business, the officer fills out a “Night Eyes” card. The card includes the deputy’s name and badge number, the date the building was checked, and anything he or she found that appeared out of the ordinary. This card is slipped between the front door and door frame of the business so it will be found the next morning when the business re-opens. Of course, if the safety problem is a serious one, every effort will be made to contact a responsible party to correct it as soon as possible.

Convenience Store Security Inspections and Enforcement

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Officer is certified by the State Attorney General to conduct Security Inspections on all Convenience Stores in the state. With the state-wide rise in Convenience Store robberies, these inspections are required by the state to help prevent them from happening. Convenience Stores which are open during the hours of 11:00p.m. and 5:00am are inspected in the following areas: Alarm Systems, Close Circuit Television, Cash Management Policy, Employee Training, Adequate Lighting and Excessive Signage in the windows. All inspections are documented. A copy of the inspection is given to the business and the original is sent to the Attorney General’s office. Businesses who fail this inspection, will be asked by the Attorney General’s Office to correct those problems spotted during the inspection. Failure to do this could result in fines assessed to the business.

Employee Warrant Checks

Another service offered by the Sheriff’s Office is Employee Warrant Checks. A business owner may check to see if current or potential employees are wanted on outstanding warrants by visiting the Outstanding Warrants section of our web site, or by filling out an Employee Warrant Check form. This form may be obtained by visiting one of the Sheriff’s Office substations throughout the keys, the main administration office in Key West, or by calling the Community Relations Division at 1-800-273-COPS. Once this form is filled out and returned, the Sheriff’s Office will do a warrants check both locally and nationwide on the person. If the person is wanted, a deputy will be dispatched to arrest that person. If a business owner desires further information, he or she may obtain another form from the Florida Department Of Law Enforcement requesting a Criminal Arrest History. For information on how to contact the FDLE, call the Sheriff’s Office.

Crime Deterrent Training

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Office also provides a number of types of Crime Deterrent training free of charge, including Robbery Deterrent, Shoplifting, Counterfeiting and Fraud. This training is available to all Monroe County businesses and banks as well local residents. It is offered by request only. Anyone who wishes to sign up for this training can contact the Sheriff’s Office Community Relation’s Division at 1-800-273-COPS.

Emergency Contact Information

Emergency Contact Forms are available to all businesses in the community. Business owners may fill out a Contact form with the names, addresses and phone numbers of responsible persons to contact in the event of an emergency at their business. These forms are available at any Sheriff’s Office in the Florida Keys.