Police Chiefs Share Security Tips With Local Business Owners

Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp, left, and Lower Saucon Township Police Chief Tom Barndt shared safety tips for local small businesses at a Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce roundtable meeting at Borough Hall Monday.

The chiefs of police for Hellertown borough and Lower Saucon Township met with local business owners Monday and urged them to give local police a call whenever something doesn’t seem quite right.

“That’s what we’re here for,” Lower Saucon Chief Tom Barndt told about two dozen attendees at a Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce-sponsored roundtable at Borough Hall.

The chiefs also shared some common-sense safety tips with their audience, including things like:

  • Making sure exterior lighting is bright and functioning properly.
  • Eliminating or trimming back shrubbery near entrances and parking spaces, so it can’t serve as a hiding place for burglars.
  • Having security practices in place for the opening and closing of a business.
  • Using the “buddy system” by having two or more employees present whenever opening or closing a store.
  • Regularly testing alarm systems, if applicable.

Barndt said business owners and/or their employees should also conduct a thorough check of the premises each night before closing.

When a bathroom at the Lower Saucon Township Giant food store wasn’t inspected prior to a recent closing, he said a person who had suffered a medical event inside it wasn’t discovered for a longer period of time than otherwise would have been the case.

The Giant supermarket on Leithsville Road is also a frequent target for thieves, 99 percent of whom are fueled by drug addiction, Barndt estimated.

Most of all, both chiefs stressed the importance of being aware of one’s surroundings and never being afraid to let their officers know if something or someone seems out of place.

“If something looks suspicious, please call us…even if it’s something you might consider non-important or dumb,” Shupp said, adding that he’s spoken to residents who saw something that they didn’t report, that could have possibly helped prevent a crime. They regretted not doing so, he said.

Barndt related a story about an employee of a local convenience store who walked along Rt. 378 to a local bank with a money bag visible in his hand.

He said an officer stopped and gave the man a ride to the bank as a precaution.

“(People) think it can’t happen in Lower Saucon. They think it can’t happen in Hellertown. We know that’s not true,” Barndt said.

Similarly, both chiefs reminded attendees to keep their homes and cars locked, as well as their businesses outside of regular business hours.

In interrogations of thieves, Shupp said many have readily admitted that they selected the house or business they burgled because it was easier to access than others nearby.

All area residents should also be cautious when using ATMs and credit card processors in public places, due to the prevalence of skimming devices that can record the information on a card for fraudulent purposes.

It is thus safer to use one’s credit card–as opposed to debit–at these machines, the chiefs said.

For more information about the Hellertown Police Department, visit the borough’s website and like the HPD Facebook page.

For additional information about the Lower Saucon Township Police Department, visit the township’s website and like the LSTPD Facebook page.

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About Josh Popichak
Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is a journalist and publisher who is passionate about providing an open online platform and advocating for independent, local news. He has covered news--first in print, later online--in the Saucon Valley area of eastern Pennsylvania since 2005. In addition to writing extensively about local issues, he uses Facebook, Instagram and other social media to help personalize and broaden awareness of topics affecting the communities he covers. He also manages the Facebook pages for several local businesses as part of his business, Saucon Source LLC. He is a 1999 graduate of Bates College, where he was a history major and arts editor for the student newspaper.

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