Reducing Convenience Store Theft Using a Problem-Solving Model
The Glendale SPI team addressed thefts at Circle K™ convenience stores using a problem-solving model, named “Operation Not-so-Convenient.” Crimes were found to be clustered at Circle K locations (more than at other local convenience stores) and threatened the safety of both customers and Circle K employees. The team conducted geographic information system (GIS) analysis to map calls-for-service activity at Circle K stores with the highest frequency of calls to the Glendale Police Department, completed Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) surveys of stores, and conducted surveillance of the most active locations. Ultimately, the SPI team developed a multifaceted response including recommendations for improved store operation and design, prevention efforts targeted at youth, and suppression operations focused on the most active locations. The team documented significant decreases in calls for service at three of the six high frequency call stores during the project period, resulting in the prevention of substantial costs to victims, the City of Glendale, and the police department.
- From 2008 to 2010, a number of incidents thefts from Circle K™ stores escalated into violence.
- The reduced call volume at targeted stores led to a one-year decrease of 18 percent in direct costs for officer response, with an immediate savings to the department of more than $6,700.
- Operation Not-so-Convenient led to a 77 percent conviction rate and nearly $1,000 in recovered merchandise.
- 72 percent of the arrests made during Operation Not-so-Convenient occurred at the three stores that experienced a decline in theft.