C-store Crime Rages On

NEW YORK -- Search Google's News search page for "convenience store" and in more cases than not , the results that turn up will be local news articles detailing incidents of crime, violence and robberies at convenience stores. This unfortunate reality of the industry is something that has plagued its retailers since the beginning.

In a 1969 issue of Convenience Store News one article reported on a Houston-based convenience store chain owner who asked the city council for permission to arm his store managers with handguns because of a wave of robbery and violence at his stores. Whether he was granted this wish, it isn't known.

However, in the 40 years that have passed, the methods to manage c-store crime have greatly changed. Now, local law enforcement has taken a bigger role in preventing and investigating crimes at c-stores. In separate reports in February 2009, CSNews Online detailed three localized efforts taking place to assist convenience stores.

Memphis police may step up patrols at some of the city's convenience stores and other small businesses, after three store clerks were shot and two of them were killed.

And in St. Petersburg, Fla., the city's police chief, Chuck Harmon, police administrators, and Sid Shah, of the Asian American Convenience Stores Association (AACSA) are working together to determine safety measures local c-stores stores should install to ward off crime and violence, which include installing bullet-proof glass, removal of window-blocking signs, requiring a second employee to work all shifts, adding door buzzers and additional video surveillance tools.

Meanwhile, the Omaha, Neb. police department was cracking down on convenience store crime, along with some of the area retailers.

"A lot of times these groups keep growing and tensions flare, and we end up having fights and other violent acts," Michael Pecha with the Omaha Police Department told the station, adding, "Some businesses have been closing earlier in order to avoid these crowd disturbances."

Other stores also hired off-duty officers to help with security.