While the nation’s population is staying at home to help flatten the infection curve of COVID-19, criminals are taking advantage of the fact that nearly all businesses have had to close their doors. The result is an unprecedented spike in burglaries and vandalism.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the New York City police department had seen a 75% increase in burglaries and vandalism of commercial establishments from March 12, when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency, to March 31. Similarly, as of April 3, burglary cases were up 87% over the previous 28 days in Seattle’s west precinct, according to the Seattle Police Department’s internal crime database. The precinct includes downtown Seattle, the neighborhood where the police department says most of the burglaries are happening.
The rise in crime is happening because thieves and vandals are targeting commercial establishments that are closed due to shutdown orders put in place by state governors in an effort to stem the COVID-19 infection rate.
Crawford is keeping an eye on the situation and has created a desk operation with remote capabilities that will enable the assistance of commercial establishments without an onsite visit in most situations. The goal is to continue providing world-class claims handling during these difficult times.
“Business owners are already facing economic difficulties because of the shutdown orders. So, taking steps to protect their businesses is essential,”
advised Kim Bethea, Vice President – Managing Director, Northeast Region, at Crawford & Company. “That’s why Crawford is urging business owners to be proactive. We are strongly encouraging deterrence measures such as boarding up these businesses to safeguard against burglaries and vandalism.” Crawford is prepared to assist business owners on the front end, wherever they are located in the country.
Crawford offers pre-loss, pre-emptive inspections that leverage our remote and virtual capabilities to examine locations to determine whether there are any signs of forced entry or vandalism while also coordinating and overseeing the board-up process. “Additionally, we will coordinate and conduct an inventory of the establishment’s contents, including stock, equipment, fixtures, and furnishings,” emphasized Kim. “This inventory will help facilitate the filing of any subsequent claim.”
In the event of a loss, Crawford representatives can assist business owners by providing a virtual or onsite post-loss inspection and detailed inventory of any damaged or missing items. Other post-loss assistance includes preparing a detailed, accurate estimate of any structural damage and the coordination of boarding up the premises to protect against further damage or loss. Crawford will also coordinate the valuation of the lost contents and the engagement of contractors through Contractor Connection to handle timely repairs and restoration.
Crawford stands ready to respond 24/7 with remote or onsite pre-loss services or claims handling. To familiarize yourself with the wide range of pre-loss and post-loss services that Crawford offers, visit our COVID-19 response webpage.