Safety and convenience: CSSI grant applications due June 1

May 26, 2010
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The mayor and city officials are reminding East Boston store owners that the deadline to apply for city’s new Convenience Store Safety Initiative (CSSI) is Tuesday, June 1. The CSSI offers convenience shop owners local grants for the purchase of security cameras, monitors, and DVR equipment. There is an application process, with a maximum of $500 grant per business convenience store by contacting the Office of Business Development right away at 617-635-0355 or visit www.cityofboston.gov/dnd/obd.

“Visibility from outside the storefronts are a key element to this initiative,” said East Boston Main Streets Director Clark Moulaison. “Many storeowners who have been victimized have a huge amount of clutter in their windows. This is not only unsafe but is unattractive. Potential customers are put-off by the clutter and bypass businesses that do not have clean, transparent storefronts.”

Moulaison and Main Streets have long advocated for improved storefronts that are safer and more inviting. Their efforts have been supported by the Chamber of Commerce as well as community leaders.

“Due to local tragedies like robberies, it is easy now to see why clean, clear doors and windows provide a safe environment for business owners, their staff, and their customers,” said EBCC Director John Dudley. “Additionally, from a storefront pedestrian marketing standpoint, our small business owners need to understand that the easiest and most effective way to get additional customers into their stores is to allow people to see their goods, shop design, and customers already inside — through the windows. That’s why store windows exist after all.”

Mayor Thomas Menino announced the CSSI after the shooting death of Geraldo Serrano inside a Jamaica Plain corner store. The initiative also includes an enhanced police presence around convenience stores and an informational campaign to educate store owners about best security practices.

“The police are doing everything in their power to apprehend the suspects responsible and to prevent these senseless acts of violence from occurring but more can be done,” said Menino. “As a community it is our responsibility to help store owners better protect themselves by educating them of better practices and providing them with resources to make the necessary security upgrades.”

The mayor said the initiative encompasses three major areas:

• Education – The city will provide training for store owners, managers and employees on how to properly maintain cash registers and what to do when a robbery occurs;

• Police Presence – The BPD will launch an enhanced outreach effort to the City’s convenience stores, increasing foot traffic and utilizing community policing techniques to develop strong, positive relationships between convenience stores and neighborhood offices;

• Store Security Improvements – After a thorough in-store assessment is completed by city officials and security experts, the Department and Neighborhood Development’s (DND) Re-Store Boston program and others will help store owners achieve better security by improving visibility, installing alarm systems and security cameras.

“The Department of Neighborhood Development and District 7 police, led by Captain Frank Mancini, have made a great effort to go to each convenience store in our neighborhood and promote this program and improved security practices. We are doing what we can to prevent problems from arising in the first place,” said Menino.

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