Enduring a disconcerting pattern of nightly vandalism, the proprietors of a modest Chatham establishment, Car, Dog and Boat Wash, are resorting to social media to dissuade any prospective culprits. Since their acquisition of the business venture on Park Avenue East last summer, Robert Walker and his wife confronted a staggering array of littering and minor acts of destruction, all painstakingly documented on their late-night CCTV footage.
Walker detailed their plight, “It seems we’ve unintentionally provided a dumping station. Watching the footage in the morning has a comedic element, albeit a grim one, seeing the overnight activities of the intruders. Some of it is quite laughable, if it wasn’t so disheartening.” Incorporated in the litany of infractions are the perpetrators disposing of waste indiscriminately, attempting to dismantle coin machines, and one individual relieving himself in the dog wash.
“It’s disheartening to see the lack of respect for our establishment,” Walker expressed. He recalled an appalling instance wherein an individual attempted to wash and discard an entire freezer filled with spoiled meat. Walker and his wife have sought local law enforcement’s aid multiple times and believe the publication of security footage on Facebook could prove impactful.
Ultimately, Walker’s aim is to maintain a clean, secure environment for their patrons. This motive has led to their particularly public stance against these minor crimes. The couple reported a noticeable decline in the volume of rubbish left and the occurrence of odd behavior since starting their campaign.
On the other side, Carmi Levy, a London-based technology analyst, lauded the local entrepreneurs for leveraging the power of social media for their security benefits, albeit cautioned them about the potential of unintended consequences such as vigilante justice and incorrect leads.
Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent police encourage business proprietors to stay vigilant, report incidents timely, upgrade security measures, maintain good rapport with other local businesses, implement Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles, and actively engage with the community.
The bottom line- maintaining a safe and clean place for all patrons is the guiding principle for the Walker couple. Despite the trials they face from late-night vandals, they remain committed to their community and their business, demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity.