About 5,000 Scottsdale businesses so far have signed on with a free national alert system that notifies them about crimes pertinent to their industries, an executive with the company said.
"It will grow dramatically as word gets out," predicted Terry Halsch, president of Citizen Observer, the Minneapolis-based organization that oversees the Business Alert Network.
As of this week, Scottsdale is the only city in Arizona participating in the Business Alert Network, which is aligned with more than 200 law enforcement agencies in 19 states, Halsch said. A similar program, called Fax Net 1, also operates in Arizona.
A letter about the Minneapolis program was recently faxed to Scottsdale businesses by the office of Scottsdale Police Chief Alan G. Rodbell.
Scottsdale officer Mark Ruffennach, a crime prevention specialist, described the service as "another tool for alerting the community about crimes that could affect them, as well as notifying them about upcoming crime prevention programs."
Halsch said the free service is locally funded by a few Scottsdale companies.
Information about participating companies, such as their names and phone numbers, will not be sold but kept confidential, he said. Only law enforcement entities issue the alerts, which can be sent out as faxes, e-mails or both.
To learn more For information or to sign up, visit