Officers Inspect Mini Marts For Safety

Convenience stores are often the target of robbers looking to get fast and easy money. The Houston Police Department is taking steps to make sure local stores are as safe as possible. Bill Stamps tells us what they're doing.
A Houston police officer walked into a local mini mart. He’s not there to buy anything; he’s there to do an inspection.

He begins looking for things like working surveillance cameras, alarm systems and signs saying no trespassing. Sgt Mike Hill says they also check the windows.

"The windows, we ask them to have them clear, unobstructed, so that you can see in as you’re walking up to the store. You can see the clerk, the clerk can see out to the parking lot."

Three years ago the city passed an ordinance specifically for convenience stores. Last year was the first year it took effect and Sgt Hill says they saw a 60 percent reduction in robberies. The ordinance was written to make the stores less of a target for criminals.

"It makes it safer for everyone. It makes it safer for that clerk that working in the store; it makes it safer for that citizen walking into the store."

Stores that don’t pass inspections have ten days to make necessary changes or risk being fined.