150 Durham Businesses Fighting Crime
Posted September 16, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — Neighborhood Crime Watches have shown they work. Now, some Durham business leaders are seeking that same sense of security with a new kind a partnership.
Close to 150 businesses have signed on to this new crime fighting program. The storeowners believe making sure their community is safe is their business.
"We need to face these changes head on," says businessman Matt Yarbrough. He has seen the fabric of his community change through the years.
His family has run a furniture shop on Geer Street for decades.
But now he says crime has become one of his main concerns.
"If I've had one crime, that's enough. That's one more than I should have had, and one more than I want to have," he says.
Yarbrough and other storeowners have teamed up with police to put the criminals out of business.
They have started a new group called D-BAC or Durham Businesses Against Crime.
Working with the Durham Police Department, participants are focusing on a pro-active approach, to help business people see they can eliminate opportunities for crime to occur.
Yarbrough worries that repeated incidents of crime scare potential businesses and customers away from the Bull City. He says image is everything.
"If the perception is there that they are not safe, then they won't feel good, no matter what the reality is," he says.
The group is starting a court watch program to track repeated offenders through the system, allowing them to alert one another when the criminal is back out on the streets.
They believe the whole community will benefit from the effort, because everyone pays for crime.
When businesses have to pay more for insurance or for increased protection, they have to pass the cost on to the customers.
D-BAC just started in August, but they think they can make a difference.