The Downtown Owners and Merchant Association (DOMA) is calling on its members, whose businesses were not deemed as essential during ongoing stay-at-home policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to still regularly check their properties for burglaries.
DOMA president Gregory Aboud reiterated the call yesterday in a brief telephone interview hours after a report of a series of burglaries, at businesses located at Charlotte and Prince Streets in Port-of-Spain between April 3 and 6, was published.
Aboud explained that the burglars were able to target three businesses located in the same building, over several days, as the owners failed to raise an alarm after the first burglary took place. Aboud said that the perpetrators were able to access the building through their original entry point and access the other business by breaking holes in the internal walls separating them.
In addition to stealing stock from the stores, the burglars also managed to loot installed lighting fittings and toilet fixtures.
Aboud suggested that if the police were alerted after the first robbery, the subsequent raid could have been possibly prevented.
“It is not possible to imagine that business places and commercial properties can be left unattended for days and weeks and this would lend itself to the overall security of assets and property,” Aboud said.
When a news team from Guardian Media visited the popular shopping district yesterday, there were increased police patrols both in vehicles and on foot.
The officers were seen mainly interfacing with the few members of the public who visited the area to purchase food and pharmaceutical supplies.
In the interview, Aboud noted that since the burglaries were reported, his organisation and its members had conversations with the leaders of several police units, who revealed new security measures and strategies.
Aboud stated his organisation was more concerned with patrols during the night as daytime patrols had already increased in response to the pandemic.
While he said that he was pleased with the responses received, he maintained that business owners had to contribute through their constant vigilance as their businesses remain closed for the rest of the month.
“They have to do their part,” Aboud said.