Selma businesses and police work to decrease crime

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Tony Lee has owned Lee Auto Sales in Selma for 23 years.

He's seen crime in the area come and go, including at his store.

"You feel very vulnerable. You wonder when they're coming back," says Lee.

That's why he's doing what he can to keep predators away.

"We're very careful where we go [with deposits], who we go with. When we close it's not one person walking out."

Ideas like these are what Selma police officers are stressing to business owners. They say shoplifting is a big problem.

"Thieves want the quickest way in and the quickest way out," says Selma Police Chief, William Riley.

Police say some of the most important things any store owner can do to keep crime away is to make sure there is good lighting around the business.

They also suggest trimming or removing plants someone could hide behind.

They encourage owners to purchase surveillance cameras and train employees to look for suspicious customer behavior.

Officers say as the community cracks down, crime goes down.  It's something they hope brings more businesses to Selma.

"The message that we want to send is that we're not going to tolerate crime," says Riley.

Lee agrees it's a community effort--businesses and law enforcement helping each other catch the crooks.

"We need to do what we need to do to help them get where they need to be."

Police say they also hope to incorporate additional training in future meetings for business owners who find themselves in dangerous situations.

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