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Security seminar urges Palatine merchants to be suspicious
By Jackie Dulen | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/4/2009 5:03 PM | Updated: 8/4/2009 10:05 PM

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Originally published Jan. 12, 1993

Palatine's business community is its own best defense against crime, police said Monday at an impromptu seminar on store security for chamber of commerce members.

On the third day after the murder of seven people at a Brown's Chicken & Pasta restaurant in the village, more than 100 merchants gathered in an auditorium next to the police station to review how they can deter crime at their own stores.

Considering the declaration at an afternoon press conference by Cook County State's Attorney Jack O'Malley that "a killer is still on the loose," the advice they heard may seem obvious and routine. But it works, police said.

"Take a look at your own business. Do you need more lighting in some areas? What is the neighborhood like?" said Brad Grossman, crime prevention officer for the Palatine Police Department.

"Get to know the businesses around you; their vendors and the people who come and go. Call the police if you see something suspicious," he said.

Both Grossman and Chamber of Commerce President Karen Kubek declined to discuss what specific security measures were reviewed, saying such practices would then be useless.

But Grossman said Palatine police are increasing their patrols of businesses and will respond with a squad car to all calls from merchants, even those simply asking for security at closing time.

"Not one officer is going to complain if someone calls and says 'I see someone who looks suspicious, can you come check it out?'" Grossman said

Police also will conduct security surveys for businesses and recommend changes to improve safety. Surprisingly, Grossman said, not one merchant asked about the Brown's Chicken case or about whether any important security measures had not been taken there.

Employees of the store have said a rear security door routinely was left unlocked after closing.

"That's a fairly common practice, usually because you're throwing out garbage," Kubek said.

"Whether or not that was the cause of anything, we don't know," she added.

While police encourage business owners to call 911 to report anything suspicious, Grossman said they are not necessarily relying on such calls to lead them to a killer.

The chamber of commerce plans to print and distribute more of its "Business Watch" window stickers, which originally were intended to thwart shoplifting.