HARTFORD, Conn. – Hartford officials have decided that most of the city’s convenience stores should be closed overnight to deter crime, the Hartford Courant reports. The city recently rejected a dozen requests from retailers, including gas stations and food markets, to operate 24 hours a day. All convenience stores and food retailers have to apply each year for an overnight license.
“I’m sensitive to the needs of any business operating in Hartford,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. “But we also have to be sensitive to the recommendations police, and in some cases community members, have made for the sake of public safety.”
Starting July 1, convenience stores—including those previously open 24 hours—could no longer operate between 11:30 pm and 5:00 am. Michael Frisbee, owner of several gas stations denied overnight permits, said the move would harm professionals such as doctors and nurses who work swing shifts. (To learn how convenience stores are positive contributors to their communities, check out the NACS resource, Convenience Stores and Their Communities.)
“We’ve had shootings, we’ve had guns pointed at people,” said Lt. Ian Powell, who has been on the Hartford police force for 16 years. “Over the years, we’ve seen the extended hours tend to become magnets for quality of life issues and, at times, they’ve led to violent acts.”
Powell said the city considered several factors when reviewing applications, including whether stores had a high rate of police calls and were located in residential areas. “Each location has their own nuances, but they’re all embedded in neighborhoods where people are in their homes, trying to get some sleep,” he said.
Frisbee said the move will harm his businesses, including a yet-to-be-opened store in a new mixed-use building downtown. “It’s frustrating to me because we’re a locally owned and operated business trying to grow in a state that everyone is leaving,” he said. “It’s just a little discouraging.”
NACS offers retailers many resources to help combat crime. For more, visit Convenience Store Security and Safety.