St. Louis Businesses Face Accountability for Crime Around Stores

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Tishaura T. Jones, the mayor of St. Louis, has developed a novel way to combat crime in her city. This does not mean more funding for the police, hiring more officers, or replacing police officers with social workers. But this innovation to create a safer city aims to hold local businesses accountable for crimes committed on and around their property.

No, your eyes did not deceive you. The focus is on holding businesses accountable, not criminals or those who encourage lawbreakers.

Jones attended the Black Mayors’ Coalition on Crime in Memphis, Tennessee, last month. Jones heard about a program that targeted nightclub owners in Atlanta and thought it might be possible to implement this idea for St. Louis. She said in an interview with WMC-TV:

There is a lot of violence in the area of convenience stores and gas stations. How can we make these business owners responsible and reduce crime at the same time? We’re seeing other mayors do the same things.

You could make an argument for nightclubs if you keep your arguments reasonable. Alcohol in nightclubs can lower inhibitions and lead to all kinds of behavior that could land you on the local news. It should not surprise anyone that nightclubs and drug use often go together. There were nights when I worked in a nightclub and I thought seriously about calling a DEA officer before cleaning the bathrooms.

What are owners of gas stations or convenience stores supposed to do when customers, loiterers, or criminals break the law in or around their business? Should they have a gun? What will the reaction be in a city of blue? They should step outside to give the miscreants a stern talk to. Perhaps they should call the police? The police may arrive late or not at all, depending on where you are. Why should owners of small businesses be held accountable for situations they did not create?

The Blaze noted:

St. Louis, by any measure, is one of America’s most violent cities. CrimeGrade.org gave the city an “F”. St. Louis had been experiencing one of the highest violent crime and murder rates in the nation for many years. Jones has served as mayor of St. Louis, Missouri since 2021.

The Blaze reported that another subject discussed at the Memphis gathering was that crime wasn’t increasing, but people had the wrong impression that this was the case. Paul Young, mayor of Memphis said, “We’re solidified and determined in the fact we’re stronger together.” Although the national crime statistics may indicate a decrease in crime, we believe these statistics are irrelevant if people do not feel safe.

The most important response I found was below.

Not all business owners made it through the lockdowns. The economy is in a downward spiral, prices are high, and customers have less money to spend. From sea to shining ocean, businesses have to deal with an increasing number of shoplifting incidents, thefts, violence, and vandalism by individuals who act without fear. Telling these people they are part of the problem is one of the best ways to destroy what’s left of your city.