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Watch out for business
FCSO program keeps merchants safe, informed
Sheriffs Biz Watch 1 es
Tammy Hersleb is the chief financial officer of Secure USA, a company that participates in the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Business Watch. - photo by Emily Saunders
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has applied the Neighborhood Watch concept to local businesses.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Allan Frampton said Business Watch began about three years ago, but didn’t really get off its feet until the past year.

He said about 500 businesses are in the program’s system and on an e-mail distribution list, which is used to alert participants of crime in their area.

He said e-mails can be sent to everyone on the list, or just to businesses in certain areas.

“We have about 200 more that are in the process of being stickered, being entered in our database, that sort of thing,” Frampton said. “So we have about 700.”

Frampton said the stickers, usually conspicuously placed on a door or window, include a sheriff’s symbol and a four-digit code that authorities can use to pull up information about the business.

The stickers also warn potential troublemakers that the business is connected with law enforcement, he said.

Tammy Hersleb, chief financial officer for Secure USA on Keith Bridge Road, said the company has participated in Business Watch for about three years.

“We are in the community and we do appreciate the fact that it takes a community to help keep everyone safe,” she said. “So it’s our obligation to help in any way we can. We’re happy to be a part of that.”

Hersleb said when she receives an e-mail from the sheriff’s office, she then spreads that information throughout the company.

Frampton said it is hard to measure the program’s impact, though he has received positive feedback from participating business owners.

He said in addition to keeping lines of communication open between authorities and businesses, the program offers classes for members.

The topics include safety in the work place, general crime prevention, street gang awareness and work place drug awareness. There also are offerings on self-defense and check and credit card fraud prevention.

Frampton said the sheriff’s office also conducts business security surveys to show companies ways to improve their security measures.

He said deputies carry information forms with them to encourage other business owners to sign up for the program. The information is also available in Spanish.

E-mail Julie Arrington at