Bedford, VA- Incidents like break-ins, burglaries and larcenies are up in the City of Bedford.
Compared to last year, the city of Bedford saw a 12 % increase in violent crime. Now the police department is trying to help businesses fight back with a new program.
The new program is called "Business Watch," and it's aimed at bringing businesses together to look out for suspicious activity. Some who have experienced a violent crime say they are all for it.
Thieves hit "Jim's Service Center" earlier this spring, breaking through this glass window, rummaging through the office looking for cash, even stealing a customer's car.
"It's very frustrating wondering when it is going to happen again," said Jim Ponting, owner of Jim's Service Center.
The stolen car was recovered, but the thieves were never caught. Ponting says the thieves tried to hit again about two months later. Ponting says all those break-ins are bad for business.
"It's kind of iffy with the customers. They are concerned if they have to leave their vehicles over night, they don't feel secure in doing that," he said.
Since the break-in, Ponting has added new reinforced glass on the doors and new dead bolts. But he says he wouldn't mind having more eyes and ears on the street.
He'll get that with the police department's new "Business Watch" program.
"It's where we can get together with the business owners, and tell them about problems, or find out what their problems are in the community," said Lieutenant Todd Foreman with the Bedford Police Department.
Police will also offer training, and show businesses crime prevention measures.
"During the ‘Business Watch' meeting we will talk about the proper ways to set up your aisles, and your store so owners can find the shoplifters in the store, or stopping them from having easy access to the stores," said Lt. Foreman.
"I think it would be a real asset for the community because there have been multiple businesses around that have been broken into," said Ponting.