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    Albuquerque C-Stores Agree to Pay for Security

    Agreement is in response to a bill requiring every c-store to make its second night-time employee a security guard.

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association and six convenience store companies agreed to pay for either a private security company or overtime Albuquerque police officers to patrol 17 city convenience stores, reported The Albuquerque Tribune .

    "For the first time, you have a major industry step up to the plate and take responsibility and show some leadership," said Pete Dinelli, head of the city's Safe City Strike Force, which has shut down troublesome properties, according to the report.

    The agreement comes largely in response to a bill by City Councilor Martin Heinrich that would have required every convenience store in the city to make its second night-time employee a security guard. State law already requires convenience stores to have two employees working night shifts, reported The Albuquerque Tribune .

    The bill also called for safety measures such as moving pay phones inside the stores and extra lighting.

    Dinelli said convenience stores--joined by motels, bars and apartment complexes--make up the four industries targeted by his task force.

    According to the report, he said 7-Eleven stores alone were the source of 4,531 calls for police service over the past year and a half. Giant and Circle K stores are the others on the list of 17 stores targeted in the agreement, chosen based on an unusually high amount of police calls, Heinrich told The Albuquerque Tribune .

    Ruben Baca, state executive for the New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association, told The Albuquerque Tribune the agreement focuses on just the 17 stores rather than all of them.

    "Every store doesn't have a problem," he said in the report. "Every store isn't in a neighborhood that has a lot of problems."

    The agreement will last six months. After that, Heinrich said police and a task force of convenience store representatives will take another two months to study whether the extra security resulted in lower crime calls at the stores, according to the report.

    From there, they'll determine the next steps.

    During those eight months, Heinrich agreed to defer his legislation and Dinelli agreed not to sue the stores or declare them a public nuisance as long as the security is in place, according to the agreement.

    The task force of convenience store officials, meanwhile, plans to meet quarterly to discuss industry problems, Baca said in the The Albuquerque Tribune report.

    The cost of hiring security would likely be passed on to customers, Baca said in the report.

    "In anything you do in business," he told The Albuquerque Tribune , "when you add costs, it goes on the bottom line.

    "The consumers pay for it."

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