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Aurora investing thousands to protect small business owners from retail theft

Aurora investing thousands to protect small business owners from retail theft
Aurora investing thousands to protect small business owners from retail theft 02:36

A business district in Aurora is one of the biggest retail theft targets in the country. Big box stores and small businesses in the Havana Business Improvement District have dealt with break-ins, robberies, and theft for years. Some owners say crime has gotten better, but believe the area in Colorado still has a long way to go.


The City of Aurora invested thousands into the security of local businesses through grants. The funding helped store owners with the installation of cameras, alarm systems, bullet-resistant window film and door hardware to strengthen security.

City-funded safety improvements can be seen around Scott Davenport's store, Heirloom Antique Mall. His store has been hit several times over the years, but lately, he says criminals have left him alone.

"It was really bad for a while, but it's gotten better," said Davenport. "It's frustrating. The damage and cost to fix it is sometimes worth more than the things they take."


Davenport is still pushing for harsher penalties for the people who commit these crimes.

His neighbor in the plaza, Victor Urresti, says Piramides Mexican Restaurant was broken into three times last year.

Surveillance video shows a man prying open the door before making his way to the bar. He goes on to steal entertainment equipment, liquor, meat and other food.

"He even took the chips and salsa. It's funny," laughed Urresti. "He really got everything."

Urresti hasn't had a break in since upping his security, but now both he and Davenport are dealing with the fallout of these crimes over time.

"I got insurance, but after the third (break in) they said no more insurance because there's lots of crime. They don't cover anymore. That's not my fault," explained Urresti.

The Havana Business Improvement District says big box stores are still being targeted. Last fall, Aurora Police investigated a group of men who stole nearly $12,000 worth of jeans from a Kohl's store on Havana Street. 

Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat who represents Colorado's 6th Congressional District, visited business owners along Havana Street last week. Davenport says other owners shared similar concerns around safety, in addition to growing numbers of people experiencing homelessness.

APD says PAR Officers work closely with businesses in the community experiencing ongoing problems. 

They encourage people to report crimes to the police department, either by calling Aurora911 (303.627.3100) or through the online reporting system.

APD says they continue to have a strong relationship with the Havana Business Improvement District and regularly meet to discuss ongoing issues and solutions.

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