The home security company SimpliSafe will distribute free alarm systems to 250 small businesses throughout Boston as part of a program organized with the city to help calm the frayed nerves of store owners buffeted by a turbulent year.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh was expected to announce the partnership on Thursday. SimpliSafe, headquartered near Downtown Crossing, will cover the cost of monitoring the systems for a year.
CEO Christian Cerda said some of the company’s customers have expressed heightened concern about security this year, with many storefronts closed for months — along with some break-ins, looting, and vandalism during the summer’s largely peaceful protests for racial justice ― though he noted that SimpliSafe has not registered an unusually high number of burglaries this year.
Worries about Tuesday’s presidential election are also a factor, he added.
“This is not subsiding,” Cerda said. “There continues to be quite a bit of uncertainty — and feelings of uncertainty — now."
Cerda said that by giving away security systems ― they include sensors and motion detectors that set off a loud alarm and trigger a response from a monitoring center ― the company hoped to provide some peace of mind to businesses around Boston.
Jerome Warren, co-owner of the Dorchester Avenue clothing shop Dareales, said it was among those damaged during June 1 protests, though it is not near where the major demonstrations took place. He said the store, which had already suffered months of diminished sales during the COVID-19 lockdown, lost more than $20,000 in inventory and equipment.
Dareales, who requested assistance from the city, expects to receive a SimpliSafe system. The city said the value of a system and the monitoring will be about $800.
Warren, who had relied on a basic security camera system, said it makes sense to improve his electronic protection. He said was surprised his store had become a break-in target.
“We thought, we’re a local brand, based out of the community," he said. “We probably don’t have to take additional measures because we probably won’t be impacted.”
Natalia Urtubey, Boston’s director of small business, said she has not heard much concern from business owners about a recurrence of vandalism and theft, but some worry about keeping an eye on their stores if they have to close again because of the coronavirus.
Urtubey said the program with SimpliSafe is about “empathy and making sure that businesses feel protected, and they’re getting responses to their concerns.”
Businesses that want to participate ishould send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walsh said businesses need all the help they can get.
“Boston’s small businesses are the lifeblood of our neighborhoods, and have faced incredible challenges as they serve their communities during this time,” the mayor said in a statement.