Get Crime History Data for Potential Space
The last thing you need is to have your store or office located in a high-crime area. But if you don't do your research before you sign your lease, you could end up in an area that thwarts your business. Some owners and managers might omit certain facts about their building and surrounding area. One piece of information that often gets left out of the sales pitch is crime history data. If the owner or property manager doesn't provide you with a detailed crime history report, collect the information yourself—before signing the lease.
So what is crime history data? Crime history data is usually gathered by owners or property managers who want to assess their property's security needs. The process involves collecting information from local and, if applicable, state police agencies.
Police reports can be helpful. These reports are usually generated by the local police department, and track calls for service or assistance in the area. The calls are typically recorded by date, time, location of the call's origin, and the type of activity reported at the time of the call. These reports are helpful, but you have to be careful when using the contents to make business decisions. The reports are not always corrected by the police department after an investigation and could contain false or inaccurate information.
For example, someone could call to report a break-in. When the police arrive on the scene, they find that it wasn't a break-in at all; it was a maintenance worker who had entered the building to retrieve cleaning supplies. Without a corrected report, it would still say that a break-in occurred at the location.
Also, it's not uncommon for callers to report an incident from a location other than where it actually occurred. The caller could need to get to a safer area, but might mistakenly report the incident as having taken place at the address where the call was made from, as opposed to the true location.
After reviewing the call reports, you may want to look at more detailed information, such as the actual incident reports that are completed by the responding officer after he conducts an on-scene investigation.
Once you gather all of the necessary information, review it thoroughly with a security expert before making any final decisions. If you decide to sign a lease, this consultation should help you accurately assess the potential impact that crime in the area could have on your business.
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