Coronavirus: Fears of looting causes closed SoCal businesses to board up

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Coronavirus: SoCal businesses board up amid fears of looting
With the prospect of non-essential businesses shut down through at least April, some stores are boarding up to protect from possible looters.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With the prospect of non-essential businesses shut down through at least April due to the novel coronavirus, some stores are boarding up to protect from the possibility of looting.

"They're just protecting their glass and their inventory - precautionary measures," said Peter Stevens with the company Board-Ups Unlimited.

The high-end women's clothing store Isabel Marant on Melrose Place is all boarded up. And if you're not boarded up, you're merchandise is gone, like Acne Studios in West Hollywood. But, the Beverly Hills Police Department tells Eyewitness news it's not necessary.

Why 6 feet? The science of social distancing

Why do experts recommend we stay six feet away from each other to maintain proper social distancing?

"Potentially board-ups could create a safety problem for us or someone else. If someone was able to get inside the business and we can't see in and we don't know what's going on, so it's safer in general not to board up the businesses," said Elizabeth Albanese with BHPD.

In addition to removing merchandise from display windows, Beverly Hills police are offering these crime prevention tips to businesses. Ensure your alarm system is on and functioning properly, make sure your surveillance cameras can be accessed remotely, and have a business contact on file with the department.

"We've seen a decline in calls for service from the community and also crime. We're prepared in the event things change," said Albanese.

Beverly Hills business owner Stephanie Jarin says she's moving all her merchandise to a warehouse, but isn't going to board up because she has 24/7 security.

How to stay safe when going out in public for essentials such as food, gas

Amid the coronavirus emergency, people are being urged to limit the time they spend in public. But there are essential items that consumers may have to leave their house for.

"I was a little surprised. It's alarming. I don't know what is their motivation. I think we're fine," said Jarin.

Although businesses are shut down, law enforcement agencies are operating at full force. They're encouraging anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it immediately.