VICTORIA -- Police are urging Victoria business owners to be careful as a string of “sophisticated” break-ins continue to plague the downtown area.

Victoria police say nearly 24 break-ins could be linked to a series of reported thefts that involves thieves using glass removal techniques to access businesses.

“This approach requires specialized tools and knowledge and, in some files, has been effective in defeating alarm systems,” said VicPD in a release Tuesday.

“In instances when the glass removal technique has failed, the thieves may resort to more brute force methods; smashing windows and prying doors,” say police.

The police department says that most of these break-ins have occurred in the downtown area overnight, when stores are not open.

To help protect your property, VicPD has outlined several steps that business owners could take to improve security. The advice is outlined below:

• Remove valuables from your business where possible when you close.

• If you cannot remove valuables or merchandise, move it out of view from all windows.

• Empty your cash drawer and leave it clearly displayed in a window.

• Review your surveillance system to ensure your system is working, is of useful resolution and captures all potential areas of entry.

• Review your alarm company contact information to ensure you’ll be contacted in the event an alarm is triggered.

• Report damaged windows and doors, even if entry isn’t made. You can report these online 24 hours a day through online reporting and through our VicPD Connect App.

• Download our VicPD Connect App for alerts and easy reporting of break and enter attempts.

• Talk with your business neighbours, ask if they’ve had damaged windows, doors or other break-in attempts and share this list with them.

Police continue to investigate the recent series of break-ins. Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to call VicPD’s non-emergency line at 250-995-7654 or contact Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.