of any follow-up that might occur subsequent to an unlawful event. I, too, share this lack of awareness so cannot speak to what all of the components of the program are. Therefore, I have many questions as to the more practical aspects of the program after a vendor's awareness has been raised. Issues such as:
Calling local law enforcement while the person is still present or has just left the premises so there might be an opportunity to locate the person and conduct an investigation and, perhaps, prevent further criminal activity.
What is the vendor supposed to do with the documents that have been saved? Stuffing them in a drawer without proper precaution could damage them for forensic purposes although the content would still be helpful. Vendors also need these documents for their own filing/tracking purposes. Is this a convenient process for them?
I applaud the industry's efforts to increase awareness and enhance public safety. In order to enhance the positive aspects of this program, I strongly recommend consideration of the following:
Establish a partnership with national law enforcement organizations to increase their members' awareness of this program. The National Sheriff's Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police would welcome the opportunity to review the program, make appropriate recommendations for enhancement, and enter into a joint support program. This program is a natural for such established public/law enforcement partnerships as "Crime Stoppers," "Neighborhood Watch" (and its many derivations), etc.
Using the partnerships formed above, advertise the program to the general public. An additional purpose of public awareness programs is prevention. If a potential criminal is aware he/she is dealing with an informed community, they will seek other avenues to commit the crime or decide to not commit the crime. This also enhances the vendors' interest in continuing with the program. One of the biggest problems with volunteer prevention programs is the inability to measure what has been prevented. With little or no activity, participation rapidly drops off. Letting the public know they are the "eyes and ears" for each other and for law enforcement makes public safety everyone's responsibility.
Solicit input from respected law enforcement professionals and prosecutors as to any additions/deletions needed in the program in order to optimize enforcement effectiveness.
Once the above issues have been addressed, I believe the issue of whether or not this program should be endorsed or mandated at the federal level will become a clearer issue.