Violent robbery shines spotlight on dangers facing mom-and-pops

Violent robbery shines spotlight on dangers facing mom-and-pops
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the wake of a violent robbery that left an elderly convenience store owner in the hospital, other Honolulu mom-and-pop store owners are weighing whether to arm themselves to fend off potential attackers.

One shop owner, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, said he's been robbed eight times since September.

"In the past year it's kind of picked up," he said. "We are much more conscious of people now when they walk in because of what's happened in the past."

The store owner and his wife said Monday's violent attack of a 76-year-old woman at a Kalihi convenience store hits home.

"The scariest part is worrying when my wife is here by herself. That's what worries me. That something is going to happen to her," he said.

Oftentimes, mirrors and surveillance cameras aren't enough to deter criminals.

The couple says they call 911 if someone suspicious comes into their business.

"What I do is I put it on speaker phone so they can hear me and they can hear the operator go 911, what do you want. And I say police come right away," the store owner said.

Now they're questioning if that's enough.

"Maybe I should get pepper spray. I don't know. A taser," the store owner's wife said.

Honolulu Police Department Lt. Walter Ozeki said it's up to each person whether they choose to arm themselves.

But, he added, "we never really encourage it. It's a big risk you take when you try to defend yourself. In some instances, the weapon can be used against yourself if you're not well trained it can be taken away quite easily."

Instead, Ozeki said. alarms might be more helpful as a deterrent .

"It helps that we may be able to apprehend these guys if we can respond fast enough," he said.

HPD also recommends keeping the front of the store clear so people can see what's going on inside.

Officers also say shop keepers should try and stay behind the counter for extra protection.

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