The Columbian / Associated Press

New Vansterdam sharpens security measures

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When New Vansterdam opened in the Vancouver Heights neighborhood, nearby residents were concerned there would be an increase in crime. To quell people’s fears and protect the cash and products, the store owners upped security.

“People thought ‘OK, (drug) dealers will be here,’” said Shon-Lueiss Harris, a marketing consultant for the store at 6515 E. Mill Plain Blvd. “We’ve really done more to make sure it’s safe.”

The business installed motion sensor lights that illuminate the alleyway behind the business, which is in the Heights Shopping Center. Over time, they’ve noticed fewer people loitering.

The storefront used to house a business that provided payday loans. That tenant had installed reinforced steel-plated walls and bulletproof glass in the entryway.

“We didn’t necessarily shop for a building with steel walls, but it was a bonus,” Harris said. “Thankfully, nothing has ever happened.”

New Vansterdam added another bulletproof glass window between the cashier and the exit. Also installed was a fence between the exit and the bus stop, creating a buffer for customers leaving with marijuana products. People can’t come in through the exit, unless they’re buzzed in by an employee, or slip in when someone is leaving.

New Vansterdam replicated some of the same crime-prevention efforts used at banks, such as adding panic buttons underneath the counters, and there are cameras in and outside the store (some mandated by law), Harris said.

Officers with the Vancouver Police Department have toured the building, and, Harris said, they’ll tour it again after the business finishes remodeling.

“It’s never a bad thing to be on the good side of local police,” Harris said.