Midland Police Department partnering with convenience stores after increase in robberies

Midland Police Department partnering with convenience stores after increase in robberies
(Source: Midland Police Department)

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Midland police are tired of convenience store robberies, so they're doing something about it.

The Midland Police Department (MPD) is partnering with local convenience stores to combat the recent spike in robberies across the city.

The project named "Cop in a Shop" will have officers pose as employees of those stores to prevent crime and catch criminals before they get away.

"The Midland Police Department is always looking for innovative ways to minimize crime in our community," said Chief Price Robinson. "After analyzing data and working with our local business owners, we see this as an opportunity to work together to bring down the number of robberies we've seen recently."

MPD reported an increase in the average number of robberies from five to nearly eight per month from 2015 to 2016. Previously the city had seen a decrease of about 35 percent from 2008 to 2015.

Soon, they'll start dressing undercover as regular employees and they'll be ready to take action during a robbery.

MPD said they came up with this idea after looking at the number of robberies last year. In 2016 there were nearly twice as many robberies at convenience stores than 2015.

Midland police saw an average of more than 7 robberies per month in 2016.

"That's horrible because people work in these convenience stores to make a living for their family," said Sgt. Jimmy Young with The Midland Police Department. "We want them to be safe at work just like everybody should be safe at work."

Police will soon start dressing up in convenience store uniforms in attempts to catch those thieves before they can flee the scene.

"That's the hope of this program, that we can prevent a lot of this theft before it happens but even if we can't prevent it before it happens once it starts we hope that the cop will be able to alleviate the situation as soon as possible so that the team member never has to actually get involved," said Meredith Bright, Director of corporate communications and brand development for Kent Kwik.

Kent Kwik, 7-11, Stripes and Jack's have all signed up to participate. Most Kent Kwik stores are open 24-hours a day, some even have a drive through.

The company said these thefts hurt business but their biggest concern is safety.

"This is just one more way to try and create that safe environment where our team members feel safe every single day going into work and where our guests feel comfortable coming in at all hours of the day," said Bright.

Midland police are not releasing how soon this program will start or how often officers will be inside stores.

MPD said when they do start seeing number of robberies decrease in the area they do not have any plans of laying off the program.

The project is set to begin immediately. Stores interested in participating can call the Midland Police Department at (432) 685-7582.

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