Recent armed robberies along a short stretch of North Pacific Highway demonstrate how quickly a community can lose its sense of safety.

Several business owners, including those that were robbed, realized that the days of sitting back and letting the police take care of things are over.

Other business owners in town may not even feel like crime is a problem. Most visible elements of gang activity have been wiped out, according to local law enforcement officials. These business owners commend the police department for making the city a safer place to live and feel fortunate we do not have the problems of metro areas to the north and south.

What is becoming clear, however, is that all business owners and regular citizens cannot be complacent when it comes to crime.

It appears to be crimes of opportunity — when a register is stuffed with money, or video cameras are not working — when we see an armed robbery in Woodburn.

The WPD cannot do it alone. The agency is understaffed compared with recent years and other departments throughout the West and the nation. In the face of lower staffing and fewer resources, WPD is concentrating extra patrol in certain areas.

Businesses have to step it up too.

There are no surefire ways to prevent crime, but safety and crime should be as important for business owners as the bottom line.

Because once that robber gets in the store, nothing will ever be the same for a business, its employees or its customers.

We all must do our part to ensure Woodburn remains a pleasant place to work and live.

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