Tightening Security at Convenience Stores

Convenience store owners are now required to provide safety trainingfor 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 cameras.

Councilmember Jarvis Johnson says he thinks this is a good start.But he says lawmakers need to talk about some of the store owners whoperpetuate 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 storeseven sell knives and swords.

Mayor Bill White says there's not much the city can do to regulate the sale ofthose 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 crime."

Councilmembers also discussed other safety measures they may require in the future, including more outdoor lighting on store property.

Laurie Johnson. Houston Public Radio News.

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