City Launches New Business Watch Program in Downtown Tampa

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The first downtown-based bike patrol unit will add another layer of security to the urban center


WHAT:          City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Police Chief Jane Castor will roll out two new resources aimed at keeping downtown safe.


WHEN:          Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 10 a.m.


WHERE:       TECO Hall, 702 North Franklin Street




The City of Tampa is launching a new business watch program in the downtown district to create an online safety network for merchants and property managers.  The City collaborated with the Tampa Downtown Partnership and Marketing in Color, a local marketing firm, to encourage more businesses to get involved with the police department.  Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Chief Jane Castor will launch the Downtown Business Watch program with a membership drive on March 11, 2015.  Businesses that join the program will benefit from having a direct line of communication with the police department to help ensure employees, residents and visitors are well-informed about crime and traffic-related issues in the area. 


Marketing in Color donated its design services to create window clings that feature a fresh logo for the Downtown Business Watch. Businesses that sign up for the program will receive a free window cling to place in their establishments.  The window cling plays an important role in watch program. It symbolizes the businesses participation in the safety network and it contains a registration number that will help officers contact management quickly during an emergency.  The local marketing firm is also donating resources to develop a website where businesses can register online for the safety program and receive information from the police department that applies to the downtown network. Cheryl Parrish the president and CEO of Marketing in Color helped spearhead the project. "We’re honored to partner with the Tampa Police Department to help make Downtown Tampa an even safer place – not only for our business, but for all business owners in the downtown corridor.”

Tampa Downtown Partnership is a longstanding partner of the Tampa Police Department in their mutual goal to make downtown Tampa safe and secure. The Partnership and TPD formed what is known as the Downtown Security Network in 1994, which disseminates security alerts to downtown businesses, and employs the on-street presence of the Downtown Guides. The Guides play a vital role by serving as the eyes and ears of downtown. The Partnership continues its support by funding the Downtown Business Watch window clings, fostering downtown business participation, and working closely with the program coordinator, Office Sean Mahabir, TPD Community Liaison.

The Mayor and Chief will also introduce the police department’s first city-wide bike unit, which is based in downtown.  The 17-officer bike squad will enhance the business watch initiative by having more officers patrolling high foot-traffic areas, while building positive relationships with the downtown community.  The bike unit and the new Downtown Business Watch program are the police department’s latest initiatives to keep downtown Tampa a safe place to live, work and play.


Janelle McGregor