Police try to improve safety at stores

August 3, 2008 2:27:18 PM PDT
Houston police have begun enforcing new regulations requiring convenience stores to register with law enforcement, provide employees with safety training and install security measures. The ordinance requires equipment like drop safes, panic buttons and cameras.

If stores do not comply, police can fine them up to $500.

Houston police Assistant Chief John Trevino says it's the first time a major metropolitan area has started such a comprehensive program targeting crime at convenience stores.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, working in a convenience store has one of the highest annual homicide rates among retail industries.

Houston averages about 1,000 robberies and 10 homicides at such stores annually.

There were 12 murders at Houston convenience stores in 2007. So far this year, the Houston police department has recorded at least four murders at convenience stores.

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