Security cameras to become mandatory for all late-night PG gas s - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Security cameras to become mandatory for all late-night PG gas stations, convenience stores

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Convenience stores and gas stations in Prince George's County are about to get a lot safer, especially at night.

The County Council has approved a measure requiring those businesses to add security cameras and drop boxes to try and reduce robberies.

Skip Fletcher has been the manager of the 2000 Mart convenience store in Seat Pleasant for 25 years. There are about a dozen cameras throughout the business and he says every one of them is needed.

"It's best to have all the security cameras you can have in the store," Fletcher says.

He says those cameras capture crimes in progress every other day.

It is crime stats like that which prompted the County Council to adopt the new safety rules. Owners must now install a three-camera surveillance system that can record 24 hours a day.

The stores have to install drop safes that are bolted to the floor.

And gas stations open between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. shall provide window-only access during those hours.

"It's going to be a life saver," Fletcher says. "When I'm out front, the owner is in the back watching the cameras and he sees everything and can come help me if he sees anything going on out front."

While he hasn't seen the specific law adopted by the council on July 24, John Erzen, Spokesman for the Prince George's County State's attorney, says "we will certainly use any resources we have at our disposal to secure a conviction."

The new rules will take effect in 45 days.

There is a grace period for business owners. They have a year to install two cameras, one above the cash register and entrance. In three years, they have to install a third camera trained on the exterior parking lot.

After that, they could be fined $100 for the first offense and up to a $1,000 for the fourth offense.

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