Viewpoint: Know who's coming in the door

It's happened again in Albany. Criminals set up an ambush of a convenience store, then they sling the door open, and are on top of the clerk before he can do anything about it.

We would like to suggest some changes in convenience store operations that will minimize the element of surprise.

Why not lock the front door after 10 or 11pm, and install one of those door-buzzers that release the door from a locked condition?

That way, the cashiers cannot be caught off guard by this ambush tactic. If a crook does try to put on a mask once he's inside, he's been seen at the door already. And a good surveillance system with a camera trained on the entrances would make sure that everyone's face is seen. Criminals would know that a mask won't save them.

Late at night, there is far less traffic to shop inside the store, and at least the workers can see who is coming, and are more prepared.

Also, if you must leave the front door open, keep the workers and the cash behind locked and protective areas. Most big cities have this system; we even found some over in East Albany. If a would-be robber attempts a hold-up, the worker can hit the panic button and reach for a gun to protect themselves.

Does it cost a little more? Yes, but you will never be a victim again... what's that worth???

Remember the public is also at risk. If some of us are outside putting gas in the car, and the bandit strikes, you and I and our families are at risk.

Let's spend some time being more pro-active on prevention, rather than just let these robberies continue.