Convenience store owners are giving thanks for a drop in crime. Shootings and robberies that were once commonplace have declined and they're giving officers in some of the most dangerous parts of the city all of the credit.
Store owners know standing behind counters they assume a certain amount of risk, but now they say because of two officers that risk and subsequently their fears have been lessened.
At Song's Market, located in the middle of Creighton, Whitcomb, Mosby and Fairfield Courts, gunshots and police sirens create the soundtrack for everyday life.
"There were a number of shootings," said owner Xavier Cibes. "We lost several customers who were shot. There was drug dealing in front of the store."
Cibes doesn't think that's good for business. So he teamed up with local beat cops Brian Huddleston and Dean Waite, who made their presence known around the shops, even signing log books to ensure accountability and they've seen the results.
Their relationship with those officers also made them aware of a grant for a new security system. It gave them eight new cameras to keep a watchful eye.
NBC12 has reported on shootings, even murders at stores like that across the city. We asked the officers what makes their operation successful, so it can be replicated citywide.
"Just getting out and patrolling more and getting to know the owners in the community and your businesses, build that relationship and work better together, being out of your car, not just driving through for five seconds really helps," Officer Waite explained.
That help will be rewarded by the Korean American Grocers Association of Greater Richmond.
"We thought it would be appropriate to thank those who help us stay safe," Cibes added.
An awards ceremony will be held next Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Robinson Theater in the East End. The theater is located at 2903 Q Street.
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