Portsmouth Police seeing an increase in small retail business robberies

During the month of January 2011, the Police Department has seen a significant increase in small retail business robberies throughout the City. Suspects are focusing on businesses that stand-alone and have minimal employees’ working. Although some occurred during the day, most of the robberies are taking place late at night.

Detectives believe the same individuals are responsible for many of the robberies. The suspects are described as black males, in their early 20’s. In most cases the suspects wore dark clothing, and covered their faces with masks, scarf’s or hooded jackets. In all cases, the suspects were armed with handguns.

A breakdown of the location of each robbery is as follows:

January 2, 2011 – 700 Mt. Vernon Ave – 7-11 Store

January 5, 2011 – 2400 Airline Blvd. – Wachovia Bank

January 11, 2011 – 3400 George Washington Hwy. – Family Dollar Store

January 11, 2011 – 2800 Airline Blvd. – KFC Restaurant

January 12, 2011 – 5700 Portsmouth Blvd. – Hardees Restaurant

January 17, 2011 – 1400 Effingham St. – Vickie’s Convenience & Deli

January 19, 2011 – 3200 Elm Ave. – Happy Time Food Mart

January 23, 2011 – 3500 Victory Blvd. – Freedom Food Mart

January 25, 2011 – 1600 Rodman Ave. – Git Go Food Mart

January 25, 2011 – 3300 Victory Blvd. – BP Gas Station

January 25, 2011 – 5000 George Washington Hwy. – 7-11 Store

Together with the Crime Prevention Unit, Detectives are educating area business owners and citizens on ways to deter crime. They are educating on actions that should be taken if you or your business is a victim of a robbery. Some of the crime prevention recommendations include, getting a security evaluation on your business, maintain good interior and exterior lighting, ensure trees or shrubs are cut low to prevent hiding places for suspects, keep locks on all doors in good working condition, keep non-customer doors locked, ensure the alarm system is in working order, and invest in a closed circuit TV system or some type of surveillance system.

Detectives and Officers from other units within the department are assisting in the investigations. The citizens of Portsmouth will see an increase in patrols in their neighborhoods. We encourage citizens who see suspicious activity, suspicious vehicles, occupied or not, in or around businesses, to call Crime Line, notify an Officer in your neighborhood, or call 911 if it is an emergency.

The Portsmouth Police Department is dedicated to making Portsmouth a safe place to live and work.

Anyone with information on the robberies or any other crime is asked to call CRIMELINE at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. You may also Text the word Portsmouth, plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES) or go to Portsmouthpd.us and click on the CRIMELINE Link, and enter your tip. Your information is anonymous and we do not ask your name. If your information leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward up to $1000.