convenience stores get security tips

Houston task force says security cameras, clearing clutter could cut crime at the shops.

Convenience store owners could reduce their vulnerability to crime by installing security cameras and clearing clutter from their windows, Houston Mayor Bill White’s Task Force on Convenience Store Security reported.

The 38-member task force, comprising city officials, the Houston Police Department and convenience store owners, spent eight months coming up with those and other suggestions to reduce c-store crime. In 2006, Houston police recorded 6,962 incidents at 980 convenience stores or their parking lots. Officials said crime at convenience stores has decreased by about 8% since 2003, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The task force is recommending that the city adopt ordinances that establish minimum standards for the number of video surveillance cameras and the type of lighting to be used. Other recommendations call for clearing clutter from windows to make crime more visible and minimizing the amount of cash on hand at all times.

Assistant Houston Police Chief John Trevino said the recommendations are “minimal steps, which are very inexpensive and will improve the safety by 50% or more.”

The task force is also encouraging store owners and employees to know the officers in their neighborhoods, The Chronicle report said. The group is also recommending that the Houston Police Department establish a convenience store unit to register stores and monitor crime trends. It also plans to classify each of the city’s 1,600 stores as “high crime” or “low crime” stores.

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