Police in Houston have begun enforcing new regulations requiring convenience stores to register with law enforcement, but only 158 of 2,000 c-stores in that market have registered under the new program so far, according to an Associated Press report.
According to the Houston Chronicle, stores have anywhere from three months to two years to comply with the program’s many new requirements, among which include registering with the city, providing employees with safety training, installing equipment such as drop safes, panic buttons and security cameras, posting signage to discourage loitering or trespassing and reducing in-store clutter so passers-by can have a direct view of the cash counter.
Stores that don’t eventually comply can be fined up to $500, the AP reported.
Houston averages about 1,000 robberies and 10 homicides at c-stores annually. There were 12 murders at Houston convenience stores in 2007, a 33% increase from 2006. So far this year, the Houston police department has recorded at least four murders at convenience stores.
As of last Friday, 158 convenience stores had registered for the new program, out of an estimated 2,000. Houston police officers are still trying to spread the word to store owners that they need to register.