In 2007 Houston’s Mayor Bill White conducted his “Task Force on Convenient Store Security” and brought together convenience store operators along with police and other officials to enact laws that reduce crimes at convenient stores. Dallas City Council’s public safety committee recently proposed that Dallas convenience stores enact similar laws. The Dallas convenience store security proposal is modeled after the one implemented in Houston.
Officials designed the plans to increase police authority in managing trespassers and loiterers on convenience store property. In addition the proposal includes measures that will increase the security of the convenience store attendants and customers.
According to DallasNews.com, the proposed security measures include:
-Registration with the Dallas Police Department.
-Installation of a surveillance camera system with a minimum of two digital, high-resolution color cameras. One would be placed above the cash-register area and another would cover the front door. Stores would have to record 24 hours a day and retain recordings for at least 30 days. They would have an 18-month grace period to comply.
-Installation of a silent panic or holdup alarm, and a drop safe bolted to the floor. The 18-month grace period would apply.
-Required participation in a criminal trespass affidavit program the Police Department will begin operating.
Notably missing from the Dallas proposal (as reported by DallasNews) is bullet-proof glass for attendants, a requirement in the highly successful New Mexico convenience store security ordinances. According to NPNWeb.com, the New Mexico Environment Department reported the following reductions since implementing heightened security regulations in 2005:
“Murders dropped by an annual average of 44.4 percent, assaults decreased by an annual average of 92.5 percent, and robberies dropped by an annual average of 92.1 percent between 2005 and 2007 after the state Environmental Improvement Board adopted new regulations to protect convenience store workers and residents from violence at those establishments…”
About the Houston ordinance, which served as a model for the Dallas ordinance, forensic sociologist and consultant Rosemary Erickson, president of Athena Research Corp. said in an interview with NPN MarketPulse “What’s good about the Houston ordinance is that it includes only the validated measures that science has shown do decrease robbery and violence.”
In April of 2008 NPN reported that Hartford, CT enacted similar convenience store security measures. “The new law in Hartford, which became effective in early March, applies to convenience stores and gas stations open between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 5 a.m., according to news reports, which noted that such stores must have surveillance cameras, a silent alarm and a drop safe.”
Resources and Citations:
Dallas passes convenience store security ordinance
Dallas may require tighter convenience store security
MAYOR BILL WHITE’S TASK FORCE ON CONVENIENCE STORE SECURITY UNVEILS REPORT
A crime-fighting plan for urban store operators (free sub req’d)
RISK FACTORS FOR INJURY IN ROBBERIES OF CONVENIENCE STORES EXAMINED IN NIOSH STUDY
Houston and Hartford adopt laws to curtail crime at convenience stores(free sub req’d)
Crime rate drops at C-stores in New Mexico; security rules are credited (free sub req’d)
Expert: Anti-crime ordinances should be based on proven methods (free sub req’d)
Convenience Store Security (PDF)