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    Albuquerque C-Stores Elevate Security

    Some operators in high-crime areas required to pay for armed security guards.

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The city of Albuquerque, N.M., reached a tentative agreement with the New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association and the convenience store industry to raise security levels for 17 convenience stores cited by the city as hot crime spots, reported New Mexico Business Weekly .

    The agreement comes as City Councilor Martin Heinrich was considering pushing forward legislation of his own that would have imposed stricter security requirements on convenience stores.

    The agreement calls for the implementation of armed security guards at the entrances of all 17 convenience stores. The convenience store owners would be responsible for paying for the service, according to the report.

    Heinrich calls the tentative agreement the result of successful negotiations between the city and the convenience store industry.

    "At the time [of this legislation], I felt there were serious problems and they weren't being acknowledged or addressed by the industry and right now they are," Heinrich told New Mexico Business Weekly . "The more security presence you have at one of these stores, the more proactively it reduces the number of criminals who want to hang out there."

    According to Heinrich, convenience store management has the option of hiring a private security firm or using the Albuquerque Police Department's (APD) Chief's Overtime Program, a program that allows businesses to pay APD officers for overtime security detail work.

    Heinrich says despite the cost burden for the extra security, it will provide relief to APD, which receives hundreds of service calls from these stores every year.

    "Every time you get a call for service from APD, and they come out and write a report, you're talking a minimum of $50 worth of expense, depending on the crime," Heinrich said in the report. "Thousands of calls were made by [the] 17 stores. The most severe store in my district over a two-and-a-half year period had 700 service calls."

    Heinrich says the next step is for each convenience store to sign off on the agreement and then it will go before Mayor Martin Chavez. He says he hopes to have agreements in place and implement the full security changes by November, New Mexico Business Weekly reported.

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