October 7, 2022


Skillful Business Crafters

Tacoma business owner, city council member look at electric fences as crime deterrents

Currently, the city of Tacoma only allows electric fences in industrial areas, but a proposed resolution could change that.

TACOMA, Wash. — A Tacoma business owner says he hopes to install an electric fence around his property to prevent future break-ins, and he’s not the only one looking at this possible solution to rising property crime rates.

Chris Kovacs, co-owner of Aqua Rec’s, already has a fence around his property, but people have been cutting through that fence to break in. He said he’s had enough.

“The last two years have been bad,” said Kovacs.

According to data, the city of Tacoma has seen an 11{614c55998ee2f2593d42882a86444f5648ce8ae9e914fe55020881091372b47b} increase in vandalism and property damage and a 7{614c55998ee2f2593d42882a86444f5648ce8ae9e914fe55020881091372b47b} increase in theft/larceny.

As a result, Kovacs is now applying for a permit to get an electric fence around his store.

“You hear electric fences, and you think, oh my gosh, is somebody going to get hurt?” said Kovacs. “But when we met with them and hearing about the other businesses doing it, we thought, this is something we got to do.”

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Kovacs said the fence comes with a heavy price tag for a small business, but the alternative is no better.

“We’re spending $12,000-15,000 doing this, which is money I don’t want to spend, but at the same time, we’re spending the money anyway. Every time a catalytic converter gets stolen, that’s $2,500-3,000,” said Kovacs. “It’s not worth handing in to your insurance company, so we just eat it. So, we’re already spending that money anyways.”

Currently, the city only allows electric fencing in industrial areas. But Tacoma City Councilmember Robert Thoms proposed a resolution in November to change the zoning laws to expand the use of electric fencing to downtown, commercial and mixed-use districts. It would still be illegal in residential areas.

“This is something that is being used because the current policing structure in our city isn’t protecting their property and their investment,” said Thoms. “Until that happens, I think it’s wise for them to explore all options to protect their products and their facilities.”

Meanwhile, Kovacs hopes that this will be enough to keep thieves at bay so he can focus on work.

“We just came to the realization that we’re just gonna have to fix this ourselves, and it is what it is. What else are you gonna do?” Kovacs asked. “We need a safe place for our employees and our customers, and we’re just trying to run a business, man.”