|Handling Petty Crimes|
Educating small business the proper ways to handle petty crimes
June 19, 2009,
The Confederation is also writing a letter to the Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley, demanding tougher prosecutions against thefts.
In a meeting with the GTA police forces on Thursday, June 18th, the confederation of the four Chinese business associations in GTA express their concern about the safety and the legal consequences that the storeowners will face if they try to apprehend shoplifters or other petty criminals by themselves.
“Unlike the big box stores, most of the Chinese retailers are in small business and they don’t have the resources to hire private security guards. So they have to source their own ways to handle the problem of theft,” said Stephen Chu, one of the Confederation representatives.
Both Detective Raymond Miu from Toronto Police Services and Constable Paul Chiang from York Regional Police agreed that minor thefts were usually put in low priorities due to other more serious crimes. But they ensured that when there were people apprehended in the stores, the police would handle the cases in a much more urgent mode.
To avoid legal consequences, criminal lawyer Mr. Edward Hung suggested the shopkeepers never use excessive forces. “Grabbing or bear-hugging the suspects shall have no danger of being prosecuted, but don’t try to punch or kick them,” suggested Mr. Hung. By doing so, the storekeepers must ensure safety first.
He pointed out that when the storekeepers witness a crime is being committed, they have the right to arrest the suspects. Their right in arresting people is however different with that of the peace officers, such as police or security guards. The citizens can arrest people only when there are witnessing the crime, while the peace officers can take action when they believe there is reasonable and probable ground, despite the crime is already committed.
Mr. Hung also pointed out that the current justice system might be too lenient to the first time petty thieves, who will be dismissed of any charges should they agree to pay or take community service orders. The Confederation therefore will write to the Attorney General of Ontario to press for prosecution of the petty criminals. They believe that tougher sentence is a stronger deterrence of crime.
The Confederation will also write to the police chiefs of different forces, asking for more patrolling by the police and their assistance in making a video to demonstrate the proper ways in apprehending crime suspects.
“We will also study other ways to educate the small business owners of their right in protecting their properties, such as information pamphlets and seminars,” said Ben Leung, another representative from the Confederation.
“Most important of all, the retailers or business owners have to report crimes to the police. The police needs statistics to decide how they should rank their priorities and appropriate their forces,” he continued.
The Confederation (CGTCBA) was jointly incorporated in 1998 by four business associations – Mississauga (MCBA), Richmond Hill & Markham (RHMCBA), Scarborough York Region (SYRCBA) and Toronto (TCBA). The founding of this Confederation marked an important step towards unity and created a valuable support network for the Chinese community.