DC official wants to help small businesses by paying for ‘glass break sensors’

A broken window is seen at a Nordstrom store in along L Street by Farrugut North. (WTOP/John Domen)
For small business owners in D.C. it’s not cheap to tighten security at their property. Now, they might get some extra financial help from the city in the future.

The District already has a security camera incentive program that provides rebates for residents who buy cameras for the exterior of their property.

But Council member Charles Allen told WTOP that he wants to take it a step further.

“This is a great way that we can help expand our private security camera program,” Allen said.

Allen is introducing a bill that would add to the program, tacking on rebates to small businesses for interior security cameras and broken glass sensors. “Glass break sensors” detect vibrations that happen when glass shatters.

“What I’m hearing from our local small businesses is that they need help,” Allen said. “Our small businesses just need a little more help to make sure they can secure their spaces after they lock their doors.”

The current program provides a rebate of up to $200 per camera, with a maximum rebate of up to $500 per residential address.

It has led to the installation of more than 26,000 private security cameras on homes and businesses.

“The government has a role to play here in delivering smart, preventative security investments,” Allen said.

Leaders in the District have been proactive in getting more cameras on the streets, with Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announcing a program that will give away free dashcams to people who spend a lot of time behind the wheel.

“It is focused on public safety,” Bowser said last week.

Roughly 5,000 cameras will be handed out later this summer at designated locations to drivers who work for food delivery or ride-share companies.

It is being funded through a $500,000 donation by the on-demand food delivery service DoorDash.

“This is the first time we’re launching such a program in D.C.,” Bowser said. “It’s about using every tool at our disposal.”

Bowser said people who accept the cameras will be expected to share video footage with police, if they ever request to see it as part of an investigation.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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