Local businesses on Lower Johsnon Street are looking to up the area’s security. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Local businesses on Lower Johsnon Street are looking to up the area’s security. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria security company sees jump in clients in lower downtown after influx of thefts

Themis Security has signed several new contracts for businesses in lower Yates, Johnson streets area

A Victoria-based security firm says it’s expanding its services to include patrolling more shops in the lower Johnson Street and Yates Street areas.

The announcement comes after several businesses in the Lower Johnson (also known colloquially as “LoJo”) neighbourhood announced last week that they would consider banding together to hire a security company to combat an increase in thefts and mental health altercations seen in the downtown core.

On Jan. 17 merchants met with the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) and Themis Security to discuss ideas, with a group decision expected to take several weeks to be made. A majority of 60 per cent of businesses on the strip must be in favour of the decision before a group contract can be signed.

In the meantime, Themis said individual businesses in the area have already signed up.

READ MORE: Downtown Victoria businesses band together to hire private security company following rise in thefts

“We’re still working with DVBA and various associations on making more consistent coverage, but we’ve had some individual businesses come on board, especially in the last two or three weeks,” said Mirko Filipovic, president of Themis Security Services Ltd. “A good chunk of businesses on the 500-block of Johnson, all the way up to Broad Street, are on board.”

Several businesses on Yates Street have also opted for extra security recently, including Bernstein and Gold, Amelia Lee, Hughes and Patagonia.

Filopovic added that on Friday his company will also be meeting with a group of Broad Street merchants to see if additional contracts can be signed.

The DVBA said that despite Themis’ announcement, no decisions have been made.

“[We] only act as facilitator, the impetus for looking at hiring security came directly from the businesses,” said Jeff Bray, executive director of the DVBA. “To be clear, there is no contract for all the LoJo businesses and any security company, including Themis.”

ALSO READ: Victoria residents face long holds for non-emergency police calls

For now, Themis will cover the sporadic businesses along the strip which have already signed on. Filipovic said that if staff see an incident at a neighbouring business which does not have a contract, help is limited.

“If someone would do something that could result in an injury, I hope someone – in uniform or not– would step in and do the right thing,” he said. “But if it’s more of a nuisance thing we woudn’t have any legal authority to step onto the property.”

More decisions are expected to be made in regards to group contracts in upcoming weeks.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

local businesstheft

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Driver who crashed into Uptown Walmart likely suffering mental health crisis, police say

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. and Victoria’s overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Additional COVID-19 exposures have been reported at Arbutus Global Middle School and Mount Doug Secondary School. (Google Streetview)
Additional COVID-19 exposures reported at two Saanich schools

New dates of exposure added to Arbutus Global Middle School and Mount Doug Secondary School

Jacques Sirois of the Community Association of Oak Bay works to remove decades worth of English ivy from a stand of native Scouler’s Willows in the Kitty Islet end of McNeill Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Jacques Sirois of the Community Association of Oak Bay works to remove decades worth of English ivy from a stand of native Scouler’s Willows in the Kitty islet end of McNeill Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay declares a decade of ecological restoration

The UN initiative aligns with what district is already doing, mayor says

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a recipient at a vaccination clinic. Peoples Pharmacy in Colwood is offering AstraZeneca vaccines for Greater Victoria residents from April 12 to 18. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
AstraZeneca vaccinations continue at Colwood pharmacy

Vaccines offered to people aged 55 to 65 from April 12 to 18

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 6

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

The Campbell River Gun Club outdoor range is located on Argonaut Road west of Campbell River. CRGC/Facebook photo
Campbell River Gun Club range shut down after complaints of stray bullets

Neighbour says bullets hit caretaker’s RV and shattered a glass panel on his deck

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest

Reservations being accepted as Green Point Campground scheduled to open May 1

Restaurant owners Oura and Kymon Giakoumakis visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PODCAST: COVID-19 pandemic hits Island’s food service industry hard

Pair of Vancouver Island restaurant owners share thoughts and advice

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

Most Read