Mayor Bill White announced today the formation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Convenience Store Security. Members will make recommendations aimed at curbing violent crime in convenience stores by reviewing new technologies, building codes, management processes, and law enforcement procedures.
“Chief Hurtt and I listened to concerns from community and business leaders, and this is one more initiative to further reduce violent crime in Houston,” said Mayor White. “No crime rate is acceptable, and the decreasing crime rate in the past few months shows that our efforts to get criminals off our streets are working.”
Houston’s total violent crime rate has decreased from 2005 numbers by 4.3 percent, according to a comparison of January-November UCR-cited crime rates. In the same comparison, robberies and aggravated assault rates have decreased 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.
“Our aim is to put an end to crime and violence wherever it surfaces, and this initiative is a step in that direction,” said Chief Harold Hurtt. “We want property owners/managers to know that we all share in the responsibility of keeping Houston safe for our residents.”
Representatives from the City’s Public Works & Engineering Department, the City Attorney’s Office, and Houston Police Department Assistant Chief John Treviño will be actively involved with supporting the Task Force’s mission. Council Members Adrian Garcia, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, and M.J. Khan will also be members.
“The small business community is the backbone of our local economy and I have heard their concerns about their rate of victimization at the hands of violent criminals,” said Council Member Garcia. “These entrepreneurs are on the frontline and their perspective will be helpful to the Houston Police Department and City Council in developing effective approaches to create a more secure working environment.”
“Decreasing crime in this area will go a long way to furthering the already dropping crime rate. I am proud to be a member of this innovative strategy to protect our citizens,” said Council Member Khan. “Convenience stores, like other small businesses, are necessary to the lifestyle and economy we enjoy in Houston. The fact that the taskforce is led by store owner Zafir Tahir and comprised of stake holders directly concerned with the problem should result in credible recommendations for changes in the ordinances that govern this important public safety issue.”
The Task Force includes store owners, security consultants, gasoline company representatives, and concerned community members and will be chaired by convenience store owner Zafir Tahir of TaJi Petroleum & International Spectrum Development.