By Valerie Rose Sellers

Business loss prevention was the focus of a Crime Curtailment Conference for retailers Aug. 25, featuring presentations on the latest security products available to combat robberies and burglaries at businesses.

The free, one-hour conference, sponsored by the Buckhead Coalition, was held at the Atlanta History Center at 130 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, where diversified group of security specialists met with some 75 Buckhead area merchants and retailers.

“I am pleased with the turnout of the 75 people who attended,” said Coalition president Sam Massell. “They represented a good cross-section of Buckhead merchants.”

Reducing crime in Buckhead has long been a goal for the Buckhead Coalition, said Massell, who explained the conference was an opportunity for the organization to take the initiative to help merchants approach safety and crime prevention in a proactive manner by planning and being prepared, rather than reacting as a result of an incident.

The security experts detailed a variety of specific ways for merchants to protect their shops from smash-and-grab robberies and burglaries, like the incidents that have been reported this year at Buckhead retail stores such as T.J. Maxx and Filene’s Basement. Each presenter was given a few minutes to discuss the benefits of the latest technologies and field audience questions about alarm systems, building barricades, shatter-proof glass, GPS tracking systems, flood lighting, locking devices, parking protection and surveillance cameras.

The security experts suggested retailers update systems they currently have in place and layer their protection by incorporating multiple devices.

In addition, Atlanta Police Department Zone 2 police officers spoke about the importance of combining public safety measures with personalized security enhancements to improve overall general safety at businesses.

Robert Bradshaw, owner of Central Asset Management, which manages the Peach shopping center at 2900 Peachtree Road, and Sherry Moon, owner of Buckhead Wright’s Florist, at 2393 Peachtree Road NE, near Peachtree Battle shopping center, agreed that while they have not suffered any major crime they found the conference informative and relevant.

In fact, Moon said she will be updating her alarm system and making improvements to lighting.

Bradshaw agreed that the proactive approach to crime is his best defense, explaining that he already employs the use of the latest technology in surveillance cameras, along with off-duty police officers to patrol his properties.

Massell said the Coalition would consider sponsoring future conference and possibly include a similar event aimed at residential crime prevention.