In Philadelphia, one gas station owner has taken matters into his own hands when it comes to addressing the city’s rising crime wave.
The New York Post reports that Neil Patel, owner of a Karco gas station, has hired armed security guards brandishing AR-15s and shotguns, and wearing bulletproof Kevlar vests. Patel told local news outlet Fox 29 that he hired the guards from the private security firm SITE in response to the worst crime wave he has seen in his 20 years in the city. Patel said that he recently witnessed a gang completely ripping out and making off with his store’s ATM machine.
“We are tired of this nonsense, robbery, drug trafficking, [gangs] hanging around,” Patel said in an interview. “I am fearful for my employees, as well as my nice neighborhood, all the customers.” He said that the spike in crime is “forcing us to hire the security.”
Andre Boyer, the head of SITE, is a former police officer with the city of Philadelphia, and said that most of his employees are also former law enforcement.
“We wear Kevlar, we are trained. My guards go to training every other week,” Boyer explained, describing his men as “proficient” in their use of weapons. “As a Pennsylvania state agent, the law tells us that we have a right to protect this property by any means necessary and with whatever force necessary.”
A poll conducted by Fox 29 after its airing the story showed that an overwhelming majority of the station’s viewers expressed their support for the hiring of private security, with 80 percent of respondents saying that the guards’ presence would make them feel safer at the store.