Robbery of Convenience Stores Convenience stores are “retail businesses with primary emphasis placed on providing the public a convenient location to quickly purchase from a wide array of consumable products (predominantly food and gasoline) and services” (pg. 2). In the United States, there are over 135,000 convenience stores operating. known to the police, convenience store robberies account for about six percent of all robberies. There has been little to no change to fix the problem over the last thirty years. “Convenience stores in particular locations can be vulnerable to repeat victimization, especially those with large amounts of cash, low security, and few staff and customers likely to resist” (pg. 3).
Some convenience stores are repeatedly victimized for a few different reasons. If a robber was successful, he may go back and rob the same store or he may tell other robbers about that certain convenience store. Media may make the convenience store more vulnerable by reporting successful robberies and could glamorize the crime. There are a few different types of convenience store robberies, which depends on the offender’s method of operation: – The first type of convenience store robbery is straight. Straight robbery is when the offender “demands money immediately upon entering the store” (pg. 4). – The second type of convenience store robberies is customer. Customer robbery is when the offender “demands money sometime after entering the store and engaging in the act of making a purchase” (pg. 4). – The third type of convenience store robbery is merchandise. Merchandise robbery is when the offender “involves the forcible taking of goods from the store” (pg. 4). – Merchandise robbery is less common, and a higher number of employee injuries are reported as resisting and confrontation are more common in these types of situations (pg. 4). There are harms that result from convenience store robberies: – The first type of harm is physical harm. Workplace homicide is higher with convenience store employees. Customers can also get injured from the offender’s assaults. Injuries occur from an employee’s active resistance or from the offender’s misreading the employee’s nervousness or hesitation as resistance (pg. 4). – The second type of harm is economic harm. Convenience store robberies are costly to the workers victimized and the store itself.
Costs include less customers coming into the store to shop because they no longer want to shop at a store that has been robbed, which can lead to a loss of income from reduced customer sales. Due to the robbery, stores can experience an increase in workers’ compensation and insurance premiums. Some stores never recover and are forced to close. – The third type of harm is psychological. Victim employees can suffer psychological harm. “Secondary victimization occurs when employers, managers, employees, or those responding to the robbery fail to acknowledge the victim’s trauma” (pg. 6). This could be “not believing the victim’s description of the attack, discounting the incident, and blaming or criticizing the victim” (pg. 6). There are many factors that contribute to convenience store robberies: – The first factor that contributes to store robberies is operation hours. Late evening to early morning hours carry a greater risk of being targeted because not many people are shopping around that time. – The second factor that contributes to store robberies is the interior store layout.
Employees should be able to see their surroundings, and people outside the store. People on the outside should be able to see into the store, like police on patrol. Robbers are less likely to rob a store that is brightly lit and if the store’s cash registers are easily seen from the street (pg. 7). – The third factor that contributes to store robberies is the exterior store environment. “Poorly lit gasoline islands and parking lots increase the chance of a robber selecting that specific store” (pg. 7) . – The fourth factor that contributes to store robberies is location. A study found that stores located in shopping complexes or strip malls had fewer robberies (pg. 8). – The fifth factor that contributes to store robberies is ownership. The type of security and crime prevention measurements a convenience store goes to and uses can decreases the chances of the store being victimized. – The sixth factor that contributes to store robberies is staff number. Several studies have said that to reduce the risk of robbery, a store should have two or more clerks working at a time. – The seventh factor that contributes to store robberies is cash-control procedures. “The handling and storage of cash has a significant influence on the targeting of stores for robberies” (pg. 10).
Robbers in most convenience store robberies are male and two-thirds of them are under the age of 25. They are often impulsive and opportunistic, and do little to no planning before the robbery occurs. Most robbers are seeking quick cash, usually to buy drugs. Serial robbers are more professional and determined. “They are more likely to carry a gun, to have been in prison before, to wear a disguise, and to choose a specific time for the robbery” (pg. 12). There are many responses to the problem of robbery of convenience stores. Stores can collaborate with private security, use more natural surveillance, having many employees on duty during times where a robbery is likely to occur, controlling access to the store, training employees, keeping up with store appearance, using cash-control procedures, installing cameras and alarms, and increasing police patrols (pgs. 22-32).