Tightening Security at Convenience Stores

Convenience stores inside Houston city limits have some

new security requirements to comply with. City

Councilmembers enacted an ordinance that calls for

security cameras, training and other upgrades. Houston

Public Radio’s Laurie Johnson reports.

Convenience store owners are now required to provide

safety training
for all employees.
They also must register with the city.
And remove obstructions and clutter from the windows to

increase visibility.
And by 2010 they have to install working security


Councilmember Jarvis Johnson says he thinks this is a

good start.
But he says lawmakers need to talk about some of the

store owners who
perpetuate criminal activity.

“Many of these store owners, when I say they are

perpetuating the crime that means that they are selling

single cigarettes and they’re selling crack pipes that

look like little glass roses. And when they’re doing

things like that we certainly have to take a stronger

look and say what is it that we need to do from the

city’s vantage point to send a strong message to those

store owners.”

Councilmember Sue Lovell agreed, saying in her

district some of the stores
even sell knives and swords.

Mayor Bill White says there’s not much the city can do

to regulate the sale of
those products outside of what’s already covered under

state and federal law.
But he says the city may be able to ask store owners to

sign a public affadavit,
acknowledging the products they sell.

“I’m not going to tell you that we’re going to

solve all crime everywhere, but it’s a series of steps

where we focus on prevention that helps us reduce


Councilmembers also discussed other safety measures

they may require in the
future, including more outdoor lighting on store


Laurie Johnson. Houston Public Radio News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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