Kudos, Bradenton police, for new crime-fighting tool for business

July 13, 2013 

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The Bradenton Police Department announced Monday it is forming a new business-watch group it calls "The Chain" to more closely link 2,000 city businesses to each other and the BPD. Photos by GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

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A remarkably simple idea in crime-fighting made headlines this week: The Bradenton Police Department intends to form something called "The Chain" whereby businesses look out for one another to report and prevent crime.

Shades of Neighborhood Watch. Indeed, many Florida law enforcement agencies operate programs officially called Business Watch, including the sheriff's offices in Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough and the police departments in St. Petersburg and Tampa.

Bradenton Office Kimberley Camacho picked up on the concept and will coordinate The Chain after pitching it to the department. This is a first for the city.

The BPD will host a meeting on July 29 to recruit the business community. The department vows to train business owners and their employees, and keep participants in the loop on crime trends.

Participating businesses act as additional eyes and ears for law enforcement -- but do not take the law into their own hands. With today's smart phones and tablets, merchants and business people can communicate quickly and easily to the BPD and each other -- and even shoot video and still images.

The reporting of suspicious activity and criminal offenses to the BPD and other retailers is designed to deter crime as offenders learn of the program.

Kudos to Camacho and the BPD for initiating this program. We encourage business participation.

If you go: 7 p.m. July 29 at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 Barcarrota Blvd. Cost: Free. RSVP to kimberly.camacho@cityofbradenton.com by July 22. Type "The Chain Seminar" in the subject line and business name, address, plaza or complex name (if applicable) and the number of seats needed.

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