INDIANAPOLIS – The city continues to grapple with a dangerous problem: Indianapolis has well over 100 dollar store robberies each year, police records show, and some of them are fatal.
Police say these robberies can make the neighborhood more unstable as they traumatize the people affected. Despite all of IMPD’s best efforts, companies do not need to adjust their security plans even after a robbery or series of heists.
Kenneth Benge was working as a security guard for the Family Dollar on the 25th and Sherman in 2019 when a man walked into the store with a gun and tried to rob him.
“I convinced the man with the gun to lower his when I lowered mine and they got what they wanted and left,” Benge said.
Benge said he was fired from this job because company rules prohibit him from carrying a gun at work.
“They actually fired us because I was armed,” said Benge.
Taylor Wurr was guarding a Dollar General in Indy a few years ago. He said he worked in the security department immediately after the employee was fatally shot on May 27, 2018.
“I had to go in there and guard this place, and yes, there was still blood on the cupboards, bullet holes in the cigarette pack that the guy shot in,” said Wurr. “And they just opened up again.”
Robbers often hit stores like Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General, and have been for years. We worked through records for two years and found that these three companies were robbed 132 times in 2019, 122 times in 2020, and 46 times this year by the end of April.
There are $ 48 general stores in town, less than 50 family dollars, and less than 30 dollar trees in Indianapolis.
“Some of these stores or businesses are in certain neighborhoods and live nearby, so it’s convenient for them,” said Capt. Dulin Nelson of the IMPD Robbery Division.
This is a worrying trend for the robbery unit of IMPD.
“If certain businesses in certain neighborhoods continue to be affected, it could deter them from continuing to do business in that area,” said Nelson. “It affects us all. This affects the stability of the neighborhood and in some cases can lead to food deserts. “
Over the past three years, we have reported that several dollar stores have been robbed, resulting in one employee being shot or killed.
“The crime there is getting out of hand with these family dollar general stores,” Wurr said. “I see it on the news all the time. These are the ones that will be reported. “
Captain Nelson said her department is trying to work with companies to prevent robberies.
“Try to have two or more employees when you close and open the store. Make sure your company is well lit,” said Nelson. “We point out the advantages and disadvantages if we follow our suggestions.”
It’s up to companies to make changes. Benge and his former employer Wurr of Lonestar Security say stores are pricing the safety of their employees.
“It’s not safe,” said Wurr. “I tried to park a car in front of the house, tried to get a sign in the window and they just didn’t. You said these are additional costs that we don’t want to take into account. “
Dollar General did not ask questions about their security protocols, but rather sent the following response:
“At Dollar General, we take numerous measures to create and maintain a safe work environment for our employees and a safe shopping experience for our customers. As a company policy, we do not publicly comment on our specific security protocols in order to ensure the integrity of these measures and to support the safety of our employees, customers and neighbors.
As standard, we offer training courses for employees on security measures that are intended to prevent, deter and, if necessary, correct a problem. Our security measures not only take into account federal and state laws and requirements, but also reflect the highest standards of the retail industry and recommendations from law enforcement agencies.
In addition to our in-store policies, we work with local Indianapolis agents to work together to reduce crime in our stores and the neighborhoods we pride ourselves in.“
Family Dollar and Dollar Tree also didn’t answer questions about their security processes, only to confirm they had a contract with Protos Security. A company spokesman also gave this answer:
“The safety and well-being of our employees and customers are our top priority.
We have a knowledgeable team, led by our experienced Senior Vice President for Loss Prevention, who are very focused on creating safe work and shopping environments. We adapt our business processes and security protocols and continuously evaluate and improve the local security and surveillance systems. To ensure the integrity of our security program, we do not disclose certain details publicly.
We recently committed to a multimillion dollar upgrade of our security related technology, which will be installed in stores across the country, including Indianapolis.“
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