Do fast food restaurants need surveillance? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Do fast food restaurants need surveillance?

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Subway on North Slappey was held up just after 12:30 Thursday morning by a man with a gun jumped the counter and grabbed money from the register.

That was the second fast food robbery on North Slappey this week. Taco Bell was robbed Saturday morning.  Investigators are reviewing surveillance video of the robbery at Subway. And they're lucky to have that footage.

 Unlike convenience stores and package stores, fast food restaurants in Albany are not required to have surveillance cameras. Should they be?

Walk into any store in the city of Albany that sells alcohol, and consider yourself as a contestant on candid camera. All are required, by city code, to have working surveillance equipment. That's to discourage thieves and robbers from breaking the law, and to aid police if someone does.

But fast food restaurants have just as much, if not more traffic in and out and lately, they've been targeted by dangerous criminals, so should the city make it law for cameras to be installed here as well?  

Linda Gardner watches the news, so she knows what's going on around Albany. "The home invasions, the armed robberies, the fast food places."

And all the crime has her afraid even to go inside a fast food restaurant these days. "I'm afraid of the fast food places also because a person could come in and rob them as well and I don't want to be sitting there when they do."

Convenience stores, often targeted by criminals for quick cash, are required to put up working security cameras if they sell alcohol. Should fast food restaurants, also popular among robbers, be required to as well?

"It would help us as a department in the investigation portion of an armed robbery," said Phyllis Banks-Whitley, APD Media Manager.

Not only would it be used as evidence, it could keep robbers at bay if they knew they were being recorded.

"Number one, you have the deterrence factor and if that doesn't work, then number two, you have an actual photo to start your investigation to continue forward with your case and the combination of those two speaks for itself," said Nathan Davis, City Attorney.

And it may help folks have a better sense of security when they go grab a bite to eat, to know they won't be

"I will feel much safer, much safer," said Harriett Jones.

While cameras at fast food restaurants may be lauded by some in the community and law enforcement agencies, it could also be met with resistance by the store owners who would be required to purchase and maintain that equipment.

The city first adopted the ordinance requiring cameras in convenience stores back in 1989.

It was amended in 1996 and again in 1997. It would require another amendment to include fast food restaurants.

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