East Side store determined to cut down on crime

Store taking measures to prevent crime

SAN ANTONIO – A small East Side store is determined to cut down on crime while keeping business flowing. After last week’s shooting at Hayes Food Mart, where one man was shot, KSAT 12 tracked the crimes there.

In November, a man was critically hurt after being shot twice outside the store. And in July, Dontre Lott was shot and killed in the store’s parking lot.

In the last year, within a quarter of a mile of the Hayes Food Mart, there have been two homicides, 10 aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon, 23 burglaries, two thefts and one sexual assault.

The last time an East Side convenience store had a trend like that, it had to be shut down.

Charles Rhodes shops at several different convenience stores on North New Braunfels.

“I buy scratch-offs all the time,” he said.

Rhodes said once it gets dark, trouble tends to gather near Hayes Food Mart.

“I think it's the drug activity. Every time I come over here, somebody's running up to my truck,” he said.

Community members said drugs were the problem one block down at the Handy Stop Food Mart, which closed in October after the city’s Dangerous Assessment Response Team tried to regulate the property.

Before the Handy Stop closed down, the city asked the owner to hire a certified police officer as a security guard, but he said he couldn’t afford to so he had to close down. The manager at Hayes Food Mart told her supervisor that’s something that could be effective for them.

A manager at Hayes Food Mart said the store has stopped selling items related to possible drug use, such as pipes, is adding outside lighting, has applied for a grant to make building façade improvements and routinely calls police for suspicious activity.

Rhodes said he’s happy about the changes but worries crime will just move somewhere else.

The City Council District 2 office is working with Hayes Food Mart and other convenience stores in that area to calm the crime without shutting down more businesses. 

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