Business owners' tactics help curb crime in Albany

Store sign prohibits people from wearing hoodies inside the store. / Jessica Fairley

Armed robberies against individuals in Albany are on the climb but at these numbers go up; the Albany Police Department is reporting a drop in business robberies.

From January 2013 to March there have been a total of 38 robberies. This is almost a 27 percent decrease from the 52 robberies document by March of last year.

"When we look at the month of March, when it comes to robberies, we have total of 11 that have occurred and from our view we've only noted that one business robbery has occurred thus far this year," said Phyllis Banks, Albany Police Department Public Information Officer.

APD officials say they've stressed to business owners that they need to have working cameras recording both inside and outside of the structure.

In addition to cameras, the manager of the Fast Lane convenience store on Sylvester Road has also placed a "No Hoodie" sign outside the front door to help curb crime.

"People come in with the hoodies on their face and if they are up to no good they'll pull the hoodies on and try to hide their face and all and it's hard for the cameras to see them," said Earnest Mitchell, Fast Lane Manager.

Mitchell says without the hoodies the camera system can get a better look at those who enter the store.

He and other store managers attribute the drop in robberies to their beefed up security systems and proactive stance on curbing crime.

"We also limit the amount of cash money that we have on hand and we also lock one of our doors at a certain time of the night just security purposes for our night shift," said Melissa Williams, Manger at Woodall's.

Since Woodall's is open 24 hours a day, Melissa Williams says it doesn't hurt when nightshift police officers stop by on their breaks. Law enforcement officials believe these stops and other tactics may be what's turning the criminals away.

Phyllis Banks with the Albany Police Department says law enforcement officials regularly speak with business owners about things they can do to help deter crime or help police solve criminal cases faster.

Although only one business robbery has been reported for 2013, there have been 37 robberies reported against individuals. Officials say these numbers are steadily climbing. In December 2012 there were a total of 224 robberies for the year while in comparison there were only 177 robberies for 2011.

Officials are warning people to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

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