Dallas city council committee backs C-store security ordinance

Aug. 19, 2008
Proposed ordinances would require stores to install surveillance, alarm systems

The Dallas City Council’s public safety committee voiced support of a proposed ordinance on Monday that would require convenience store owners to install surveillance and alarm systems in their businesses.

Under the ordinance, convenience stores and gas stations with less than 10,000 square feet of retail space would be required to:

• Install a CCTV system consisting of a minimum of two, high-resolution color cameras that would have to cover the store’s cash register area and front door.

• Install a silent panic or holdup alarm system.

• Register their systems with the Dallas Police Department.

• And, take part in a criminal trespass affidavit program that will allow police to issue criminal trespass warnings.

All business owners would have an 18-month grace period with which to comply with the new ordinance. The surveillance systems would be required to operate 24 hours a day and store owners would be required to store the cameras’ recordings for a period of 30 days.

"I think (the proposed ordinance) is a reaction by the city of Dallas to protect its convenient stores and people so I think it’s a good idea," said Chris Russell, president of Dallas-based Zip Alarm Systems.

Russell, who also serves as president of the Texas Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, added that he believed that it would cost business owners between $1,000 and $2,000 to install the security systems required under the ordinance.

"I believe that hold up buttons and camera systems and electronic security systems are all proven effective methods of deterring crime," he said. "I don’t think that the (financial) impact is going to be significantly detrimental to small businesses or convenient stores."